Weddings are a celebration of love between two people. It is a day when friends and family come together and watch two people dedicate their love and life to each other. This is a worldwide thing! However, in different countries around the world there are different traditions on this day, or prior to the day, that make weddings a little bit more special and personal. Some of these traditions are very light-hearted and funny, others are taken very seriously and not to be mocked. Some of these traditions have been around for hundreds of years and are not seen as often anymore, and others are new trends that have gradually become more popular. The reason for such traditions is usually to bring luck, love or humour to the newly weds. It is such a nice thing to be part of two people’s union and even more fun if you can get involved with some of the bizarre traditions that are out there.
Some of the following weird customs you may know, but I am sure you will be surprised by some of these countries ways. They may make you want to go to a wedding in some of these countries or run for the hills and never marry someone from there. Enjoy these fun facts and choose wisely where you get married!
30 France: Toilet breath
France is known for its lovely food but according to an article by Kara Byers in smooth.com, this country has one of the weirdest and grossest wedding traditions ever.
On the day of a French wedding, the guests fill a toilet bowl with all the leftovers, which were once deemed delicious, and mix them with alcohol and everything they desire.
The couple is then obliged to finish the bowl in order to build up strength for the taxing wedding night that is ahead of them.
29 Scotland: Blackening the bride
In the land of the Vikings, friends and family of the bride show their love for the future bride by tying her up and covering her in every gross thing they can find. This includes, anything you can imagine and find in your pantry, such as flour, sauces, minced meat, fish, etc., you name it!
After bathing her in smelliness she is then taken for a night out with her friends (The Herald).
The belief behind this is that if she can handle this she can handle marriage and any of the humiliation she will face while wed.
28 India: Marrying a tree
India has a couple of different wedding traditions not seen around the rest of the world. One of these traditions is that the women that are born as Manliks (when Mars and Saturn are both under the 7th house in astrology) are “cursed” and it is believed that these women will cause their husbands to pass away at a young age (Deevita Arya).
They believe the woman marrying a tree prior to marrying their husband can resolve this issue. Some women would probably be better off staying married to a tree!!
27 China: Shooting the bride
China is known for a couple of weird wedding traditions, one of them being the “shooting” of the bride with arrows. Of course these arrows do not have arrowheads. It is a harmless tradition where the groom shoots three arrows at the bride.
After targeting her, he picks up the arrows and breaks them in half. This is said to symbolise their love for each other is forever (Wedded Wonderland). This is definitely the only time shooting your wife is allowed!!
26 China: Rat's tail
According to an article in Wedded Wonderland there is an extreme Chinese wedding tradition, not seen as often as a couple of years ago but it consists of the bride chopping off all her hair leaving just a “rat's tail” hairdo.
The logic behind this is that one of the main things men notice in women is their hair, and cutting it all off is considered to be a sign of cleanliness and beauty. If you are anything like me, there is no way this would fly! A girl’s got to have her lovely locks!
25 Mauritius: The chubbier the better
I’m sure you’ve heard of fat camp right? Well probably not like this. In contrast to many countries where brides go on extremely strict diets to lose those extra pounds for their wedding day, in Mauritius it is the exact opposite.
Brides-to-be are sent to “fat camps” where they are “forced” to eat more and gain fat (Nancy Mattia).
The chubbier the soon-to-be wife, the better, as it is a sign of wealth and also, the men consider bigger women to be sexier. Now this is my type of wedding tradition!
24 Greece: The "Groomsmen"
Now this is a fun one! On the groom’s wedding day it is normal for him to get a nice clean shave from his barber, however in Greece this is not done by a professional barber. Becoming a groomsman has a whole different meaning.
On his special day, his best man and the rest of the male wedding party get together and shave the husband-to-be (Bride).
As a bride, you better hope your husbands BFF is a barber, then at least you can expect your man to look good for your wedding pictures!
23 Fiji: Whale Tooth
Not all weird wedding traditions happen on the day of the wedding, some start earlier on like when asking your partner to marry you. According to an article in Brides, in Fiji the man is obliged to present his future father-in-law with a whale's tooth, also known as a “Tabua”.
Most families with boys keep this sacred gift for when the time comes for their son to propose to their future bride. Nothing says, “I love you” like a Sperm Whale Tooth I guess!
22 Kenya: Spitting on the bride
In the Maasai culture in Kenya weddings are not exactly seen as a celebration of love. You are not allowed to choose whom you spend the rest of your life with (Language of love in 20 cultures).
One week prior to the wedding a meeting is arranged between families to discuss and agree on what the groom's family will exchange for his soon-to-be bride.
On the wedding day a Maasai woman will have her head shaved and rubbed with lamb fat and oil, the father then proceeds to bless the couple by spitting on his daughter's head and breasts for good luck and fortune.
21 Russia: Buying out the bride
Who ever said the Russians didn’t have a sense of humour? According to an article in smooth, they have a very fun pre-wedding tradition. Before the wedding, the bride's wedding party will meet the groom at the door when he comes to pick his bride up and give him a list of tasks he needs to complete.
This could be a number of things and he needs to pass each one to be able to proceed. He may have to pay a ransom and often his first offer will buy him an alternate bride, usually a male friend dressed in a wedding dress. Once he offers enough, he gets his bride back.
20 England: Ribbon pulling
No, no, no this wedding tradition does not involve drinking tea or heading to a pub as you may expect from the English, it involves ribbons. According to the blogger Elena Tahora, in England they have a fun wedding tradition where ribbons are placed in between layers of the wedding cake.
Before the couple cuts the cake all the single ladies gather around the cake and pull the ribbons. The one who pulls the ribbon with a ring charm is said to be the next one to get married.
19 Japan: All dressed in white
So this one doesn’t seem so bizarre at first glance. It is quite normal for the bride to be dressed in white on their wedding day, however, according to an article in Bride, in Japan they take this just a little farther.
In a traditional Shinto ceremony (small affair limited to just family members) the bride wears white from top to bottom. This includes makeup, hood and kimono.
This represents purity and their attire includes a hood to hide the bride's “horns of jealousy” that she feels towards her soon-to-be mother-in-law. Yikes!
18 Germany: Smashing dishes
The Germans are known for being very clean and tidy, however when it comes to wedding traditions, they like to make a mess. One of their traditions is done the day or week before the wedding (Fodor’s travel).
All the couples’ friends get together and smash porcelain plates on the ground.
The couple then has to clean it up together and work together like they will have to in their marriage. It is very German to have a wedding tradition that involves cleaning something up and tidiness!
17 Romania: Taking the bride
In Romania they have a little bit of fun before the wedding. A couple of days before they exchange vows, the bride is taken by friends, family or hired actors (The wedding script).
The abductors then demand a ransom and the groom has to “pay”.
This is usually something silly or romantic like, a bottle of something or a funny performance such as a dance or song performed in front of the entire party. I would enjoy watching my hubby make a fool of himself for me!
16 India: Shoe thief
In some parts of India it is tradition for the groom to remove his shoes before walking down the altar (Deevita Arya). When this happens, the shoe game is on!
The bride’s side of the family has the mission to steal the shoes, while the groom’s side of the family’s mission is to protect them from being stolen.
If the bride's family is successful in stealing the shoes, the groom is forced to “pay” a ransom. Let the shoe battle begin!! How fun!
15 South Korea: Beating the groom's feet
OK, this one is definitely odd! On the day of the wedding the guests tie the groom's feet together and take turns beating his feet with sticks or dried fish before the first night of marriage (Daily Social). This is supposed to be fun, not cruel.
It is supposed to make sure the soon-to-be husband does not disappoint on his wedding night.
Yes, because of course you need to satisfy your wife with your feet? Clearly the Koreans have some foot fetish going on!
14 China: Pre-wedding crying
Ok, we all know brides can be quite dramatic, but this takes it to a whole new level. In China, one month before the wedding it is tradition that the bride must purposely cry for one hour a day (Wedded Wonderland).
Three weeks before the wedding the mother of the bride joins this daily cry, two weeks prior the grandmother joins in and in the final week the sisters join. This is meant to signify extreme happiness. This does not sound happy to me!
13 USA: Burying the bourbon
In some of the southern states in the U.S. it is tradition to bury a bottle of bourbon upside-down close or at the place they choose to wed, one month prior to their big day.
The reason they do this is to ward off the rain on their special day.
Rain or shine the couple then digs up the bottle at the ceremony and they drink it with their family and friends. Now this is a tradition I can get behind!
12 Canada: Silly sock dance
Canada is not known for being a very traditional country, however in Quebec the French-Canadians have a fun and quirky wedding tradition. On the wedding day the bride and grooms older, unmarried siblings perform a funny dance while wearing silly, colourful high socks.
The guests then throw money at the dancers whilst they perform and this money is donated to the happy couple for their future (smooth.com). Hopefully those silly Canadians are wearing wool socks in winter weddings when they are dancing in -25 degrees.
11 Spain: Cutting the groom's tie
The Spanish sure do like a party, and what is bigger than a wedding party? In certain parts of Spain it is tradition to grab the groom at some point during the reception, surround him by all his groomsmen who are holding scissors and everyone gets a snip at his tie (smooth.com).
They cut his tie into little pieces and then auction it off to the rest of the wedding guests and those who are lucky to receive a piece will receive good luck from then on. Hopefully the groom didn’t choose a very expensive tie!
10 Mexico: The Lasso
Mexican weddings are not all about tequila and dancing like you might expect, they also have some fun and odd traditions. On a bride and groom's wedding day, after they have spoken their vows and agreed to spend their lives with each other, their friends and family lasso them together with a bedazzled rope.
This rope is then tied into a figure-eight shape to symbolise eternity and wrapped around them. I guess this is the true definition of “tying the knot”!
9 South Africa: Carrying fire
This wedding tradition will melt your heart. According to an article in The Wedding Script, South Africa has an adorable wedding tradition where the parents of the bride and groom-to-be bring fire from their own fireplaces over to the newlywed's house.
These flames are then used to light a fire in the bride and groom's house symbolising bringing the union of both their childhood home's together and starting a new life in their new home together. Aw, I think I am going to get married in South Africa!
8 Poland: Money dance
In most countries giving money to a woman to dance with you may not seem like a normal and nice thing to do but in Poland one of their wedding traditions entails just that (The Wedding Script).
During a Polish wedding, guests buy dances with the bride during the reception and add this money to a string that can then be wrapped around the couple. This money then goes towards the newlywed's honeymoon bank and used for them to enjoy whilst away together.
7 Australia: Unity bowl
You’d think that an Australian wedding tradition would involve something like a kangaroo bringing the rings down the aisle or something, and although that sounds extremely entertaining that is not one of their traditions.
The unity bowl tradition involves all the guests getting stones before the ceremony and holding them while they walk down the aisle.
Afterwards all the guests place the stones in a bowl that the couple can keep as a decorative piece to always remember all those who supported them on their magical day (The Wedding Script).
6 India: Henna
This tradition is quite known throughout the world, as many people like to get henna tattoos when they travel to India. Before an Indian wedding it is traditional for the bride to gather with her best friends and sit for a couple of hours whilst they get painted on with beautiful henna tattoos (Brides).
The bride usually does not wear any other jewellery, as it is not necessary with all the intricate and beautiful art on the bride's body. This lasts about two weeks and looks amazing!
5 Sweden: Kissing Fest
Although the Swedish are not known for being very “lovey-dovey” type of people, they have a wedding tradition that gets everyone up close and personal with the bride and groom (Sophie Inge).
It is tradition that on their wedding day every time the bride gets up and leaves the room, all the single women line up and kiss the groom and vice versa when the groom leaves the room.
If you have always been secretly in love with the bride, this is your time to plant one on her without everyone discovering your feelings. “You may now ALL kiss the bride!”
4 Italy: Confetti
Italians are a festive bunch with plenty of traditions. One of their wedding traditions involves confetti. But not the traditional confetti you see at birthday parties, this is homemade confetti made from sweets like candied almonds (The Wedding Script).
The guests are all given some of this confetti and after the bride and groom say their vows and tie the knot the guests throw this sugary goodness on them.
Seems a little bit painful getting hit with hundreds of almonds, ouch! Word is, they have changed this to paper instead for this reason.
3 Czechoslovakia: Baby on board!
In Czechoslovakia getting married is all about fertility (Bride). Weddings are seen as the stepping-stone to having children and for that reason all the guests bless the newly weds in different ways with that in mind.
Before the ceremony, an infant is placed on the bed of the soon-to-be wed couple as a sign to help fertility. After they have tied the knot the guests throw peas, rice or lentils to also promote fertility. One thing at a time Czechoslovakia geez!!
2 French Polynesia: The human rug
Now this is an odd one! According to an article in Brides, on the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia they have a wedding tradition that is called “the human rug”. At the end of the wedding ceremony all the brides’ relatives lie face down on the ground in a line while the bride and groom walk over them as if they were a rug beneath their feet.
Hopefully the newlyweds went on a diet before the wedding and are light on their feet!
1 Congo: No smiles!
Wedding days are supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. Apparently not in some parts of Congo! Congolese nuptials are not about love, they are serious affairs that take place after two families have negotiated the bride's “price” and exchanged, most commonly, for livestock.
Smiling during the ceremony might be misconstrued as not taking this event seriously (Brilliance). Well, I wouldn’t be smiling either if someone sold me in exchange for a cow or a horse!
References: brides.com; smooth.com; brilliance.com; theweddingscript.com; weddedwonderland.com