Wedding traditions from around the world

Every couple has their own idea of what makes up their dream wedding. Many will choose to go down the ‘traditional wedding’ route.

But what that means varies wildly depending on where you are in the world and your heritage. Some cultures insist on certain traditions that might seem a little unusual to the average British newlyweds.

Here are some of the most intriguing wedding traditions practised around the world.


The Tujia people of central China have long followed a tradition that may seem more solemn and depressing than may befit a wedding. One month prior to her wedding day, the bride must spend one hour of everyday crying.

With 10 days of weeping complete, she will be joined for her hour of crying by her mother. Grandma joins in 10 days, later, before the whole bridal party are left crying for an hour the day before the ceremony. The belief is that the crying is an expression of joy at that impending marriage, while some claim the collective wailing is more of a pre-marriage sing-song.


Regardless of whether you are planning a contemporary or traditional wedding, it’s likely a stag or hen do will precede the big day. A German variation of this, Polterabend gives a new meaning to getting smashed!

In the days leading up to the wedding, the couple will gather friends and family outside of their home to break porcelain in an event sometimes more jovial and boisterous than the wedding itself.


Although not the practice is not widespread across the African country, some Congolese tribes insist the ‘happy’ couple don’t appear so. In fact, it is deemed to be a sign that the bride and groom are not serious about their future marriage if they are seen to even crack a smile during the ceremony.


Wedding ceremonies in some traditional Indian weddings are a bit more fun-filled. The act of Joota Chupai, or “hiding the shoes”, sees the two families mark the joining of the bride and groom with some playful antics.

As the couple make their way to the altar for their wedding, the groom must take off his shoes. Then while his family try to ‘protect’ his shoes, members of the brides family must attempt to steal them in a traditional bonding exercise between the two families.


Although the wedding reception tradition of the ‘Money Dance’ is now widespread across a number of cultures, it’s roots can be traced back to Poland.

The idea is that on the night of the wedding, when all the guest and the bridal party are ready to dance, male guests may share a dance with the new bride. But to do so, they must either pin money to her dress or put it in a tradition cloth purse carried on the dance floor. The money is said to be used to help the couple pay for the wedding festivities.


Just across the eastern border in Russia, the focus for some traditional weddings is more on the food. Namely, a Russian sweet dough is known as Karavaya. The sweet treat is a staple at many Russian family ceremonies.

At weddings, after the formal ceremony has taken place, the parents of the bride and groom invite the couple to take a bite of a Karavaya. The stipulation is that they cannot use their hands. Though the belief is not followed so much in modern times, it was previously said that whichever half of the married couple took the biggest bite would become the head of the household.


Another food-based tradition that caught our eye was one steeped in Peruvian tradition. And like the British tradition of throwing a bouquet of flowers, this idea is all about finding the next lucky lady to get married.

The wedding cake at a Peruvian ceremony is created in layers, with numerous ribbons emerging out of the icing, but one is attached to a fake wedding ring. At the end of the night, all of the unmarried women are called around the cake to choose their ribbon. When they are pulled from the cake, the holder of the ribbon attached to the ring is the next one to tie the know.


Sneaking away from your own wedding might not seem like a positive action in the UK, but in Venezuela it’s actually encouraged! With the wedding party in full swing, the happy couple is tasked to leave the reception without anyone noticing, the thought being the guest are having too much fun to spot them disappearing.

Get away undetected and your marriage will be full of good luck. There’s also ceremonial ‘good luck’ for the first guest to notice their bride and groom have called it a night early!


Spending time together is what married life is all about. However, the Tidong community on the island of Borneo take the early days of marriage very seriously. So much so, that the bride and groom are forbidden to leave their marital home for the first three days after being wed. What’s more, they are banned from using the toilet and are guarded by family members that provided minimal food and drink.

The ritual is said to be essential to the Tidong way of life and failure to follow it is believed to bring bad luck to the marriage and is also linked to infidelity.

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