The Loveliest Wedding Traditions from Around the World
That you can totally steal
You’ve been to a total of 4,001 weddings, so you can rattle off the standard traditions without batting an eye: a bouquet toss, that garter thing, the flower girl who steals the show…. But around the world, not everyone’s doing the same thing. In fact, here are ten international wedding traditions that are so cool and unexpected, we kinda wanna steal them.
The night before the wedding, the bride’s side of the family gathers for a Mehndi event where an artist draws intricate henna on her hands and feet. The gorgeous designs symbolize joy, beauty and spiritual awakening.
Australia: Unity Bowl
Merging families can be a whacky ordeal, but this tradition highlights the positives of bringing squads together. Plus, it’s super low-maintenance: Each family member drops a stone into a bowl, representing the big, beautiful mixing of families.
Germany: Log Cutting
Leave it to the Germans to be industrious on their wedding day. The tradition of a couple sawing a log together right after the ceremony actually signifies the first “obstacle” they have to overcome together. So it’s sweet and you get logs for the fire.
China: Tea Ceremony
Following the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom host a tea service as a formal introduction to their new families. The order of things is key: Tea is offered, sipped and then the couple receives a gift (aka the most important part).
Guatemala: Dance Down the Aisle
Why walk down the aisle when you can dance? In Guatemala, many brides actually waltz or dance with their fathers down the aisle. Not a bad way to kick off a party.
South Africa: Fire
This custom will make you (literally) feel warm and toasty. In South Africa, celebrations are kicked off when the couples’ parents bring fire from their own homes to help light a fire in the newlyweds’ new home.
Philippines: Releasing Doves
In this tradition, the couple sends off a pair of white doves to signify a peaceful and harmonious relationship. (We’d hate to be the best man who misplaces the rings and the doves.)
Japan: Sake Tasting
In the San San Kudo (three, three, nine times) ritual, the bride and the groom sip three times from three cups stacked on top of one another. Three is not only a lucky number in Japan but also represents love, wisdom and happiness.
No, not just little paper dots. The Italians toss up colored sugar-coated almonds representing health, fertility, happiness and prosperity. The couple also might add some coins and rice in there—then keep a teensy bit for themselves as a keepsake.
Pakistan: Flower Garland
In Pakistan, the bride’s family will often welcome the groom with a gorgeous flower garland. It’s not always just about the bride, people.