We all know the old telltale wedding tradition of "something borrowed, something blue," but maybe it’s time to skip convention and learn about wonderful wedding rituals of other cultures. There are countless meaningful traditions from around the world symbolizing health, romance, unity and happiness, so even if these ideas stray from your own heritage, appreciating another culture's tradition could be the perfect start to the next chapter of your life.
Here are 13 beautiful, ancient and wonderful wedding traditions from around the world.
Reporter: Julie Pointer Adams
Ink It Up
This beautiful custom involves the bride receiving henna designs on both her hands and feet the day before the wedding. While it’s supposed to have a calming effect, we also think it’s downright chic.
Traditionally, Italian wedding guests shower the exiting couple with colorful candied almonds (you know, those little confections in cinch bags). Five almonds bring health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity—yes, please.
An Irish Goodbye
Apparently, it’s good luck in Venezuela to slip out of your own wedding reception unnoticed. Don’t worry, we won’t tell.
In Swedish tradition, a sprig (or more) of myrtle, symbolizing love, is always included in the bride’s crown or bouquet. If we can look half as good as the Swedes with just a bit of myrtle, we’ll take it.
Woman in Black
This one might freak out your grandma, but in traditional Spanish culture, brides wore black down the aisle to symbolize “till death do us part.” When it comes to bridal fashion, we say do whatever floats your boat.
The Wishing Tree
The Dutch skip the usual guest book and instead, opt for a wishing tree. Guests are encouraged to write little notes of good wishes and hang them from a literal tree branch or small potted tree.
The Outfitted Bride
Traditionally in African weddings, the bride's attire is very specific: She wears a wrap skirt, a matching shawl and headpiece. The fabric color matters too! Gold symbolizes prosperity, purple symbolizes royalty and green symbolizes life.
Photo by Inkspot Photography
Filipino culture has a dreamy, ethereal tradition of the bride and groom releasing a pair of doves together on their wedding day. The birds are thought to deliver peace and harmony for their life ahead.
A Wedding Week
Moroccans are down to party. Wedding celebrations often last up to seven days, with elaborate pre-wedding ceremonies, preparation rituals (we’re partial to the luxurious spa day for the bride-to-be), and, of course, a massive days-long feast. Sign us up.
This age-old Japanese tradition of the bride, the groom and their parents sharing sips of sake out of the same three cups symbolizes the two families being united together. Not a bad way to bond with your in-laws.
Tough to say how many modern-day grooms can pull this one off, but we’d sure like to see them try. In Welsh culture, men traditionally carve wooden spoons with intricate designs and symbols to present as gifts of serious romantic intent.
Cream Puffs, Not Cupcakes
In true Marie Antoinette-like form, the French are known to celebrate their nuptials with a towering cake made up entirely of cream puffs. Leave it to the French to be perfectly and divinely decadent.
At Aussie weddings, family and close friends of the bride and groom bring small gathered rocks and place them in a single bowl. This unity bowl, as it’s referred to, then goes to live with the new couple as a reminder of the love and support of their dear ones.