- Norway: Having Your Cake and Drinking It Too
In this Scandinavian country, it’s typical at weddings to serve a towering special-occasion cake called a kransekake. It’s made with iced almond cake rings to form a cone shape, and a wine bottle is often placed in its hollow center.
- Norway: Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Charms
The bride will traditionally wear a silver-and-gold crown that has small charms hanging all around it. When she moves, the tinkling sound deflects evil spirits.
- Papua New Guinea: Pigging Out
What’s the price marriage? In remote parts of Papua New Guinea, it involves a woman’s parents handing over a negotiated number of pigs and shells to pay for a man to marry her. The porkers are then slaughtered and served during the wedding feast.
- Philippines: Lovey-Dovey
The happy bride and groom release a pair of white doves — one male, the other female — into the air, which represent a harmonious life together for the newly married couple.
- Cuba: The Money Dance
It’s a Cuban custom that every man who dances with the bride must pin money to her dress to help the couple pay for their wedding and honeymoon. Bank on it!
- Turkey: Flag Day
Friends of the groom plant the Turkish flag, which features a red crescent and star, in the ground at his home on the day he is to wed. Depending on the area, objects like fruit, vegetables and even mirrors are placed on top, signifying the wedding ceremony has begun.
- Venezuela: Bride and Groom Go MIA
Don’t wait until the reception’s end to chat up a Venezuelan bride and groom — they could be long gone. It’s good luck for the newlyweds to sneak away before the party’s over without getting caught; it’s also good luck for whichever guests catches on that they’re gone.
- Wales: When Love Blooms
Welsh bride think not just of themselves on their wedding day but also their bridal party. The bridal bouquet includes myrtle, an herb that symbolizes love, and the bride gives a cutting to her bridesmaids. The theory goes that if the bridesmaid plants it and it blooms, she’ll be the next bride.
- Wales: More Affordable Than a Diamond
Back in the day, when a Welshman fell in love and was ready to commit, he carved spoons from wood and gave them to his beloved. Decorations included keys (signifying the key to his heart) and beads (the number of children he hoped for).
- Ireland: Better Keep Those Feet Firmly Planted…
In Ireland when the bride and groom are dancing the bride must keep both feet on the floor at all times. Irish folklore states that if they don’t, evil fairies will come and sweep her away. We imagine that this might make dancing slightly difficult…
- India: Shoe Fight
In parts of India, there is a wedding tradition called “Joota Chupai” or “hiding the shoes.” While walking to the altar the groom is required to take off his shoes. Once they’re off, everyone from the groom’s side of the family is expected to protect the shoe as the bride’s family tries to steal and hide them. The tradition is said to be a playful bonding experience between the families.
- Korea: A goose for the bride
According to Korean tradition, grooms give their new mother-in-laws wild geese or ducks. The monogamous animals represent the groom’s pure intentions and loyalty to his bride. In a more modern reincarnation, brides and grooms exchange wooden geese and ducks on their wedding day as a sign of their commitment.
- Mexico: Two bouquets
In Mexico, it’s common for a bride to carry a bouquet for herself, and a second as a tribute to the Virgin Mary.
- Australia: Unity bowl
An Australian wedding ceremony might feature the tradition of a unity bowl. Guests are given stones and asked to hold them during the ceremony. At the end, guests place the stones in a decorative bowl that the couple will keep and display afterwards to remind them of the support and presence of their friends and family.
- South Africa: Carrying fire
In South African tradition, the parents of the bride and groom bring fire from their own fireplaces to the home of the newlyweds. The bride and groom use the flames provided from their childhood homes to ignite the hearth in their new home together.