Monday, July 22

Wedding traditions to take inspiration from around the world

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QUIZ, retailers of going out dresses, reveal more about the different bridal traditions that happen around the world:

Spain

In a Spanish wedding, it’s set up a little differently. They don’t include bridesmaids, groomsmen, a maid of honour or best man, and the mother of the groom walks her son down the aisle. Likewise, there are no speeches and wedding rings are worn on the ring finger of the right hand.

In this country, the first wedding dresses and veils were actually made from black lace. However, modern times have seen more brides wearing a white lace dress and mantilla, a type of lace headdress. The mantilla is traditionally given by the mother of the bride, who will have it embroidered especially. The mantilla is worn with a peineta — a high comb.

If you get invited to a Spanish wedding, you can expect it to start in the early evening and go on until the early hours of the next day. Often, the groom will present his bride with 13 gold coins, each blessed by a priest. This act is said to bring the couple good fortune and symbolise the groom’s commitment to support his bride.

A big decision for the bride to make is which flowers she will have at her wedding. The bride will give a small flower corsage to her girlfriends. If a lady is single, she must wear her corsage upside down and if she loses it during the night, it’s believed that she will be next to be married!

China

Because China is so large, there are lots of different traditions that take place around the country.

One of these traditions is that Tujia brides must cry for an hour a day every day for a month in the run-up to their wedding. After the first ten days, the bride’s mother joins her in crying daily before being joined by her grandmother. As the other women join in, it’s seen as an expression of their joy.

If you’re a bride from the Yugar culture, you will be shot by your groom with a bow and arrow (thankfully, the arrows are free from their arrowheads!). After shooting their bride three times, the arrows are broken, showing that the couple will always love each other.

In other countries the bride might book a hairdresser or makeup artist. But in China, when the bride is getting ready on the day of the wedding, a ‘good luck woman’ will help the bride do her hair. This woman is considered lucky if she has living parents, a spouse and children, and it is hoped she will pass on some of this good fortune to the bride.

The groom is always required to pick his bride up from her home. For fun, the bride’s friends block his entry into the home (it’s all in good spirits). The groom is required to prove his love for his future wife through answering a series of questions about her or even by offering money in red envelopes to buy his way into the house.

What do women wear when they get married here? Brides in northern China will traditionally wear a red dress or Qi Pao, embroidered with gold and silver detailing. In southern China, brides wear a two-piece outfit — a QunGua, Kwa or Cheongsam — featuring a gold phoenix or dragon detailing.

On the evening of the special day, the bride is given a half-cooked dumpling. This is a signifier of family prosperity, as the word raw is linked to childbirth.

Germany

In Germany, before a future bride-to-be is even engaged, she saves away pennies, which will then be used to purchase her wedding shoes. This tradition is said to help the happy couple get off on the right foot.

In Germany, the invites are given out in a very special way. They send out a Hochzeitslader, a gentleman dressed in formal, fancy wear complete with ribbons and flowers, to hand-deliver their invitations. Guests accept the invitations by pinning a ribbon from the Hochzeitslader’s outfit onto his hat, before inviting him into their home for a drink. Depending on the guest list, this can take quite some time!

It is a requirement for German couples to have a civil ceremony in their town registry office. Then, in the days following, a church ceremony can be held, although this isn’t required. Generally, few guests will attend the civil ceremony and the bride and groom will dress relatively simply.

Following a church ceremony, a Polterabend takes place a few days after the civil ceremony. Believing that negative spirits are attracted to brides, Polterabend takes place to scare them aware. On the night before the church ceremony, the bride and groom gather with their friends and family where they smash china and porcelain. The noise made is said to scare away the spirits, while illustrating that their marriage will never break. Glass is never broken, as this is believed to be bad luck.

One odd tradition in Germany is that the happy couple is asked to saw logs. A log is set up on a sawhorse and the bride and groom must work together to saw through it, illustrating their teamwork. Instead of confetti, wedding guests throw grains of rice over the bride and groom, with legend being that each grain of rice that lands in the bride’s hair symbolises a future child!

What about the couple’s dance? At the reception, the bride’s veil is held up and the bride and groom dance underneath it. When the music stops, single women will tear pieces off the veil. The lady left with the biggest piece is said to be the next to marry. Alternatively, instead of ripping the veil, guests simply throw money into it while it is held up.

India

If you’re invited to an Indian wedding, don’t be surprised if it’s planned to take place over several days — different to the couple’s one special day in other countries.

Before the big day, the bride partakes in a Mehendi ceremony. This is where family and friends gather to apply the beautifully intricate henna. Tradition says that the deepness of the colour of the henna determines the bond between husband and wife and how well the bride will get along with her mother-in-law. Hidden within the henna are the names of the happy couple and it’s often painted on the palms, hands, forearms and legs.

What does the bride wear? It again depends on where the bride was born. In some regions, the women will wear a saree (long drape) for her wedding and in others she wears a lehenga (a long skirt). It’s common for the bride to be dressed in red or another bright colour and her clothing is stitched with an outstanding design.

You might notice the Indian couple walking around the fire. The marriage becomes official when the bride and groom walk around the fire four times as verses are chanted, and the couple is tied together. The husband and wife then race back to their seats, as the one who sits first is said to be the most dominant.

Will you take any inspiration from these traditions for your special day?


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