- Russia: Chew on This
Being a big mouth can pay off. Newly married Russian couples share a wedding sweetbread called karavaya (decorated with wheat for prosperity and interlocking rings for faithfulness). Whoever takes the biggest bite — husband or wife — without using their hands is considered the head of the family.
- Russia: Pay Up
According to custom, a Russian man must go to the bride’s parents’ home on the morning of the wedding and prove his worth by either paying a “ransom” for his lady, showering the bride’s family with gifts, or simply humiliating himself by dancing and singing until the family says “okay.”
- Russia: Picture This
In a gesture of respect, couples in Moscow take wedding photos at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin then lay down flowers afterward. Not exactly your typical wedding photo location but certainly one with a significant meaning.
- Kenya: A New Type of Father-of-the-Bride Duty
How would you like to be all dressed up in your wedding finery and have your dad spit on you? It happens in Kenya after the ceremony when a Masai bride leaves with her new husband. The purpose is not to tempt fate by being too supportive of the newlyweds.
- Jamaica: Everyone’s a Critic
Villagers line up in the street to take a look at the bride. It’s customary for them to call out negative comments if her appearance isn’t up to snuff. If the majority is critical, she goes home and makes a second try at looking good.
- Mongolia: No Chickening Out
A Mongolian couple hoping to set a wedding date must first kill a baby chickens and cut it apart — holding the knife together — to find a healthy liver. They keep at it until they’re successful. And you thought dissecting a frog in middle school was gross.
- Sweden: Hope You’re Not the Jealous Type
In Sweden, whenever the bride leaves the table, all the ladies at the reception are free to steal a kiss from the groom! Sweden keeps the tradition gender-neutral so whenever the groom leaves the room, all surrounding gentleman are free to plant a peck on the bride.
- Indonesia: Got to Go? Um, No
Spending the first three days confined to their home together sounds kind of sweet, certainly not a hardship for Indonesian brides and grooms — unless using the bathroom would require leaving the house!
- Mauritius: Go Large or Go Home
Many brides-to-be in other countries go on strict diets to lose weight before the wedding. Not so in Mauritius, where young girls are forced to pack on the pounds before their weddings. The chubbier she is, the better for the husband who is thought to be wealthy with such a well-fed wife.
- Fiji: Toothy Treasure
Get that wetsuit ready. In Fiji when a man asks a woman’s father for her hand in marriage, he must present his future father-in-law with a whale’s tooth. A nice tie would be so much easier&
- Scotland: The Way to Wed
Centuries ago England restricted marriage to couples who were 21 and over. But that didn’t stop young lovers from finding a loophole, or in this case a nearby Scottish town without such limitations. Today that village, Gretna Green, is still popular for couples who want to elope.
- Scotland : All covered Up!
This is known as the “blackening of the bride.” The bride and the groom are captured by friends the day before their ceremony and covered in everything from molasses and ash to flour and feathers before being paraded around town. The goal may seem to be ultimate humiliation, but the ritual stems from the practice of trying to ward off evil spirits.
- Romania: “Bride-Napping”
Guests work together to “abduct” the bride, whisking her away to an undisclosed location and demanding a “ransom” from the groom. Typical requests? A few bottles of alcohol, or — for those looking to really make the groom sweat — singing a love song in front of the entire party
- Peru: All the Single Ladies
In Peruvian weddings, the cake is typically assembled with ribbons attached to charms, with one fake wedding ring embedded into the center. The single lady who is served the slice of cake with the fake wedding ring inside is crowned the next to get married.