Right here in the good ole US of A, most people either get married in a church or elope at the local city hall. You might find brides wearing different types of dresses or wedding featuring more than one bride and groom, but there isn’t much other variation around these parts. When you turn to the rest of the world, however, weddings can be much more creative.
Whether you are looking to gain inspiration from weddings that take place in Ghana or are just in the mood to expand your personal knowledge, being aware of different wedding traditions can actually be quite useful in your own life. Who knows, you might get invited to a traditional Chinese wedding and need to know what sort of gift is appropriate. In any case, cushion cut engagement rings still look fabulous no matter where in the world they are worn. So, get ready to take a look at wedding traditions across the continents and find out how the rest of the world celebrates marital unions
The Spectacular Indian Wedding Ceremony
If you are going to attend an Indian styled wedding you are going to need to clear at least a couple of consecutive days on your calendar. These blowout wedding ceremonies are meticulously planned, usually costing anywhere from $50,000 to millions in order to pull off. The actual union between the bride and groom is done behind closed doors, but the celebration is usually set to last for days on end. Be prepared to feast, drink, dance and sing as your excitement and enjoyment is meant to bestow good luck upon the recently wedded couple.
Both the bride and groom will make separate but equally glamourous entrances on the first day of the wedding celebration. Grooms wear elaborately decorated traditional kurtas or dhotis. Brides will almost always wear saris, with bindis and henna tattoos on their hands and feet. It can take several days for each original henna design to be completed so don’t be surprised if you see an Indian bride preparing for her wedding several weeks in advance.
Weddings in Italy
A lot of what you have seen in the movies is true about Italian weddings. These are extremely important family events that are meant to seal the wedded couple’s union for life. As Italians traditionally follow the Catholic faith, they almost always occur in the church. And since family is a so important in Italy, whenever a couple gets married the couple is immediately taken into the other’s family. Although wedding ceremonies in Italy may be rife with stoic religious traditions, the celebrations that take place afterward would make your grandmother blush.
Many of the elements of weddings that you would expect to be done jointly actually tend to be gender specific in Italy. For example, grooms are tasked with choosing and providing the perfect wedding bouquets for their wives to be. The groom may also be required to hoof it all the way to the church on the day of his wedding before the ceremony can take place. As for the ladies, it is actually thought that wedding veils were first seen in Italy. And though there are certainly lots of Italian women who wear white dresses on the day of their weddings, it is also common to see them in more traditional regional garb.
Just after the ceremony, married couples in Italy often emerged from the church to an eruption of confetti. This tradition is meant to celebrate the union and make everyone around feel especially joyous. Those who are in attendance at Italian weddings are expected to come with a lot of cash. In fact, you had better have enough money to fill an envelope, otherwise you might be looked at as being a tightwad. There will be plenty of refreshments to enjoy after an Italian wedding, and the festivities can rage well into the night.
Wedding Traditions In China
Chinese weddings have variations depending on what province and village the bride and groom hail from. Additionally, Western influences have made it so that modern Chinese weddings are a fusion of old traditions and new finds. You can find just as many Chinese brides wearing red garb as you will find clad in big, white princess styled dresses. One common thread that you will find during the course of Chinese weddings are the numerous, specific rituals that take place before and after the nuptials are performed. Expect something akin to Chinese New Year in the days ahead of a Chinese wedding as firecrackers are lit, the family of the soon to be wedded couple feasts, and everyone in the community rejoices.
One of the first major events that take place prior to a Chinese wedding are the ‘bride’s games.’ This set of games is actually controlled by the closest friends of the bride. After the groom and his companions call upon the bride at her home, they are greeted by her bridesmaids. The goal is to get the groom to do silly things until the bride’s friends finally relent and agree that he is a suitable match.
The wedding banquet is a very big component of Chinese weddings as well. Guests will feast upon some of the most expensive and hard to find delicacies according to region, such as crab and shrimp. Of course, wine is also served liberally as no guest is expected to leave until she or he is nearly bursting at the seams. Last but not least is the tea ceremony, in which the family of the groom is treated lavishly. They are given tea and food and honored by the bride and groom, as they have likely contributed financially to their lavish wedding ceremony.
Everything You Need to Know About Jewish Weddings
Many Jewish weddings take place in temples and are performed by rabbis. The wedding rites may take place in Hebrew or even Yiddish, but a great deal of modern Jewish weddings are officiated in English. You will need to pay careful attention to everything going on around as the wedding ceremony itself is the only time that you will be expected to sit around idly. Married Jewish couples don’t just say their vows – they actually sign a religiously binding contract. This ritual has been around in the Jewish faith for thousands of years, and there is no sign of it being phased out.
Since there are many different sects in Judaism, you might see different types of rites being performed at various Jewish weddings. You will probably see the bride and groom sitting on chairs carried around on the shoulders of their friends and family as festive music plays. During the course of a Jewish wedding ceremony, rabbis play an incredibly important role. They will periodically perform blessings, rituals and other wedding rites according to their faith. Lastly, no Jewish wedding is really complete without the breaking of the glass ceremony, which takes place in front of all of the other guests. Thankfully, the glass breaking ceremony takes place with a protective cloth covering so that no shards can become a hazard.
The Infamous Nigerian Wedding
In Nigeria, the younger people are beginning to embrace Western culture a little more, but they are still holding fast to their roots. In order to host a Nigerian wedding that will make your family proud, you had better have lots and lots of money. The first component that has to be satisfied is the hefty wedding dowry. The family of the bride to be makes multiple special requests, such as houses and jewelry, or livestock and bushels of grain. After the dowry has been satisfied, the bride and groom will begin to prepare for the two wedding ceremonies that are to commence. One will be just for fun with family and friends and the other will be a ceremony performed according to their faith. Of course, the bride will carry out these ceremonies in two different and distinct outfits.
Much like Italian weddings, you are going to see a lot of cash flashed at a Nigerian wedding celebration. You will also experience lots of community drinking, as in drinking from the same goblet as the groom, the bride and other wedding attendees. Traditionally, Nigerian brides will fill a large goblet with libations, then give each guest that she encounters a big swig up until the groom takes his fill. Nigerian weddings tend to be very colorful, much because their culture looks upon bright colors very favorably. Another reason that Nigerian weddings are full of the colors of the rainbow is because anyone who stumbles upon them is allowed to attend.
Now that you’ve learned how other cultures perform their wedding ceremonies around the globe you may be prepared to borrow some of their ideas to make your nuptials something to be remembered. Whether your soon to be spouse hails from another culture or you are planning a destination wedding in a different nation, knowing what is culturally acceptable is important. Start your marriage off strong by following tradition and throwing in something new to keep both you and your beloved on equal footing.