Traditional weddings often conjure up images of a white dress, something blue and maybe Grandma’s embroidered handkerchief. But that’s not every bride’s dream day. Wedding customs vary greatly based on a person’s heritage. Here are some nuptial traditions from different cultures.
At the end of the reception, brides in Peru don’t throw their bouquets over their heads. They have another tradition to determine which woman will be the next to tie the knot – a cake pull. Single ladies gather around the wedding cake from which hang multiple ribbons. Before the cake is cut, they pull the ribbons to see which of the lucky ladies has a mock wedding ring attached. Like the bouquet toss, whoever finds the ring is supposed to be the next person to get hitched.
As if one dress isn’t hard enough to choose, Chinese women sometimes choose three wedding dresses to wear on the big day. The first is a form fitting, silk, red dress to wear during the ceremony. The dress is red because the color symbolizes luck and prosperity in Chinese culture. The second is a white dress much like that found in a typical western-style wedding. The third dress is chosen by the bride to change into during the reception.
In India, a traditional wedding spans three days including several pre-and-post nuptial ceremonies. One is the Mehndi ceremony. It’s held just before the wedding. Mehndi is an elaborate design drawn on the hands and feet of the bride from the plant dye henna. It is believed the darker the mehndi, the better the chance of a successful marriage and the more accepted the bride will be into her husband’s family. Tradition holds that the newlywed is exempt from household chores until the henna has faded away.
Russian families take part in a ritual called “vikup nevesty,” or, “ransom for the bride.” This lighthearted ceremony allows the bride’s family to keep their veiled daughter hidden from the groom who must then offer gifts, often money or jewelry, to finally claim his betrothed.
In Ireland, the bride isn’t just worried about flowers and table settings; being carried away by fairies is also on to her list of wedding day stressors. It is believed that fairies are drawn to beautiful things and since the bride is beautiful, they will try to steal her away. While dancing at the reception, the bride is careful to always keep one foot on the ground.