Wedding Customs From Around The World
Want more than the traditional something old, something new, something borrowed,
something blue? Honor your heritage or borrow from another culture!
Wales. Daffodil boutonnieres - daffodils are the national flower of Wales. I have plenty during the season, and you are most welcome to some.
Germany. Do the "umbrella dance"! Leave a white umbrella at the entrance to the reception, and ask guests to sign it with colorful markers. The umbrella is presented to you as newlyweds; you then hold it over your heads during your first dance (a slow song) while guests throw confetti at you. Substitute bubbles for confetti, if you desire.
Africa and Ireland. Jumping the broom. Although a wedding broom can be purchased at ethnic stores, you may prefer to decorate a plain ol' household broom with flowers and ribbons and bows in your wedding colors.
You may jump the broom before or after your wedding ceremony.
Before: As you walk down the aisle, stop and jump the broom. Single guests stand behind the couple, while married ones stand in front.
Immediately after the ceremony: The broom is behind you as you marry. When you turn to be presented to the guests, you jump the broom and proceed back down the aisle.
During the reception: With family and friends gathering in a circle around you, you jump the broom. The broom is then removed and you dance your first dance.
A toast or blessing may be said as you jump the broom.
Example: May the new life of this couple be filled with much happiness, joy and blessings.
Spain. The groom gives the bride thirteen coins in the memory of Christ and His twelve apostles. As a symbol that the groom promises to support her, the bride carries the coins in a small bag. Mexico also has a similar custom.
Greece. Since ivy is considered the symbol of eternal love, carry it in your wedding bouquet or use it in centerpieces. Carry a lump of sugar in your glove on your wedding day to ensure a sweet married life.
Hebrew. At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, the bride can observe the Biblical custom of Circling the Groom seven times.
Jewish giving of the wedding ring: "Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel."
To signify that a marriage is fragile and may be easily broken, at the end of the ceremony, or at the reception, a glass is placed on the floor, and the groom shatters it with his foot. For safety's sake, the glass may be enclosed in fabric. The breaking of glass also reminds us that marriage vows are as permanent as the fragments are unchangeable.
Japan. Add cherry blossoms or jasmine to your bouquet. Fans are considered a symbol of happiness in China and Japan, so use them as table decorations or in place of bridesmaids' bouquets.
Use your imagination, and enjoy your day!!! Mix and match the customs to further personalize your wedding.
Inexpensive Ways to Decorate the Wedding - and the Bride!
- Vintage dresses and suits from any era can make beautiful wedding gowns.
- Your dress doesn't
have to be white. Bridesmaids' dresses are much less expensive than
wedding dresses and are available in a variety of colors.
international: Sarongs, kimonos, dirndls & lederhosen. Go with your
ethnic heritage or borrow someone else's. This is your day!
- Jeans, boots and turquoise jewelry give a southwestern feel, and everything can be worn again and again.
- A poodle skirt can
be the basis for a 1950s themed wedding. Your reception can include
root-beer floats, Buddy Holly music, and a 1957 Chevy getaway car. A
cardboard cut-out of Elvis, James Dean, or Marilyn Monroe (or all
three!) can head the reception line. Pose with them for a fun touch. [I
am willing to travel to Fairmount, Indiana, where cool was born (boyhood
home and burial place of James Dean) for noon weddings. However, you
will have to check with the Grant County Recorder (765-668-6542) for all
applicable marriage laws.]
- Some brides buy
second-hand wedding dresses at thrift stores. (Tip from this
domestically challenged woman who learned the hard way: do not use
bleach on vintage clothing as you could ruin the fabric.)
- The groom can wear a blazer or nice sweater, white shirt and dark jeans or khakis.
- Ask your
bridesmaids if they already have suitable dresses in their own closets.
Instead of everyone buying new gowns, they could all wear dresses in the
same color range. If you really love color, you could bump out the
barriers and let each wear her favorite dress in any shade or style.
- Hair jewels make a
beautiful substitute for a veil. They can be found through an Internet
search, or made with inexpensive "rhinestones" (available at Meijer and
Hobby Lobby) attached to stick-on velcro.
- For a summer
wedding, consider braiding small seashells into your hair. Shells are
available at craft stores for a minimal amount of money.
- To continue the
summery theme, larger seashells can be used to decorate place settings.
You can often find an entire basket filled with seashells at dollar
- Other wedding
favors include small bowls with M&Ms (especially nice when seasonal colors are available) or Hershey's kisses
- Dollar Tree often has bridal garters and white party favors suitable for weddings
- Wrap plastic knives, forks & spoons in paper napkins, then tie
with a ribbon, using colors that match your wedding theme.
- If you can't afford armloads of fresh flowers, or you are allergic, here are a few suggestions for your beautiful wedding:
- In spring and
summer, varieties of purple wildflowers in shades from light to dark
grow at roadsides. At the first part of July, native or "tiger" lilies
appear to flourish in every ditch in Ohio.
- Candles are the easiest and most affordable alternative to flowers.
- Tea lights,
available from a dollar store, can float in a punch bowl or individual
glasses. Buy glasses at dollar stores, yard sales, thrift stores, and
- A large candle held in place with clear or colored stones makes a beautiful centerpiece.
- Use a candle surrounded by clear bowls or glasses filled with cranberries and pine boughs for a Christmas wedding.
- Know anyone with a classic car? A vintage Mustang, Barracuda, or convertible will make a
great "limo" for your wedding day.
- Consider hiring an
art student as your official wedding photographer, if you want to get
formal. Columbus College of Art & Design is right here in Columbus!
Family and friends can be counted on to take digital pictures.
- Cupcakes, Twinkies, Snowballs, or several flavors of pie can be substituted for or an addition to the wedding cake.
- Potted herbs are a beautiful and refreshing decoration.
- Scarves in your wedding colors can be wrapped around bowls.
- Potted bulbs in season can be used to decorate.
- Use your imagination, and enjoy your day!!!