TOPICS Online Magazine

the World

Issue 10

Home Page

Wedding Customs from Around the World

Each traditional wedding custom is very special because it marks the importance and significance of the marriage bonds which are being celebrated in the wedding.

Wedding Customs in Brazil

Important Details of the Wedding Ceremony

A wedding ceremony in Brazil has many important details. For example, the bridegroom can't see the bride wearing her wedding dress before the ceremony. The bride has to use something old, something new, and something that is borrowed. One more detail is that the rings should be engraved: the name of the bridegroom on the bride's ring and vice-versa.

María Celina Brandao


Wedding Customs in China

Important Details of the Wedding Ceremony

In China, if a new couple meets in a park, the bride and bridegroom should exchange a new handkerchief and wish each other good luck. It has to be red and have a picture of mandarin ducks. Because ducks always stay together, it means they will stay together.

We have this custom so they share happiness and congratulate each other. Traditionally, the more happiness you share, the more good luck you get. So, don't forget to prepare these handkerchiefs by hand when you are going to get married.

CongHong Lu


Biting the Apple at the Same Time

In a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, a couple always has jokes played on them by their friends or guests. For example, during the ceremony an apple is hung with a thread before the couple. Then people who attend their wedding ask the bride and groom to bite the apple at the same time in order to show they love each other.

However, at the moment their lips touch it, one of their friends suddenly pulls it away and the couple's lips meet and they have a big kiss instead of biting the apple before them. Interestingly, this action or behavior always causes a loud laugh.

Cheng Limin




The Candle Ceremony

There is a traditional custom in Colombian Christian weddings. After the ring ceremony, the groom and the bride each has to light a candle. This custom has a special meaning. Each lighted candle represents the life of each one.

After that, they light another candle together and put out the first candle of each one, leaving only the one that they lit as a couple. This bright candle means that now they are the same body and they are going to share every moment of their lives.

María Lopez


The Candle Ceremony

In a Christian ceremony in Colombia there is the "candle ceremony" after the ring ceremony where the groom has to light the candle on his left and the bride lights the candle on her right. When they both have their candles lit, they put them together and light the candle in the middle. Then they have to put out their own candles and this means they become just one body for the rest of their lives.

Jimena Baquero


Eastern Europe

Asking the Girl's Father for Permission

In my country, the engagement is an event previous to the wedding. One month before the wedding, the groom asks the girl's father for permission to take the girl out of her family house. He goes to her house early in the morning with a band, if he can afford the expense. All the neighbors come to see the new bride and to tell her something nice

Stoyan Grigorou


El Salvador

Escorting the Bride to the Church

All the wedding ceremonies around the world try to express different things through different ceremonies. For some reason, in some places in El Salvador, when a wedding is celebrated, the wedding ceremony service starts without the bride. The groom and all the people who have been invited to the ceremony are waiting for her during the service.

When the wedding ceremony service starts, a group of seven men goes to the bride's home. The bride and her family are waiting for seven white cars which escort the bride's car until they arrive at the church. Finally, the bride enters the church and then the nuptial song starts playing.

Walter E. Hernández



Polterabend—the Evening with Lots of Broken Porcelain

Some days before the wedding, friends and relatives bring old porcelain and kitchenware to throw on the ground in front of bride and groom. This is supposed to grant them a happy, lucky life; that's why this evening event is called Polterabendthe evening with lots of broken porcelain.

The German proverbScherben bringen Glückwhich can be translated as "Broken crockery brings you luck." is derived from this custom. The Polterabend often develops into an informal and casual party.

Ulrike Gahn



Holy  Shower

Receiving a Holy Shower

In Java, the bride and the groom mustn’t meet each other on this day because that would bring them bad luck. In the photo [above] I was receiving a holy shower with water and flowers from my mother.

Kartika Sinclair



A Wine Ceremony Symbolizes Dedication

A Shinto wedding has a typical ceremony. A couple drinks Japanese rice wine in front of a priest. First, the bride drinks the wine from a small cup. Next, the bride passes the cup to the groom and he also drinks the wine from the cup. They try to drink wine three times. This ceremony means that they promise to be dedicated each other.

Maki Kubo



They'll Have Daughters and Sons

If a bridegroom smiles a lot in a wedding, he will get a daughter as a first child. If a bride takes some nuts, she will get a lot of sons. (Traditionally, the parents of a bridegroom throw nuts and plums to a bride after a wedding. At that time, a bride takes nuts or plums in her shirt.)

Minjung Song



A Bouquet for the Virgin Mary

In Mexico at a Catholic wedding ceremony, the bride offers her bouquet to the Virgin Mary and leaves it at the foot of the statue in order to thank her and ask her for a good life and for her blessing. This is a solemn moment at the end of the ceremony. After that, she meets her groom and they receive the priest's blessing and that means the ceremony is finished.

Miriam Mostkoff


Middle East

special candle

Wedding Parties in Arabic Countries

We have to do a big celebration and use special kinds of candles. Also, we use henna. It looks like the hair color mixture but we use it to make nice designs on the hands like tattoos.

Esras Dawood



A Pinch of Red-Coloured Powder on the Bride's Forehead

One of the important events in our traditional wedding is that the groom puts a pinch of red-coloured powder on the bride's forehead. This symbolizes that they are now husband and wife. This red color on the woman's forehead differentiates whether she is married or not.

Milan Gurong


Saudi Arabia

The Cutting of the Cake

When the bride and groom start walking to the wedding cake, all the wedding guests move out of the way and look in anticipation at the bride and groom.

Then the groom holds the bride's hand carefully and together they hold the knife. After they cut a small piece of the cake, the groom holds the piece of cake and the bride eats a bit of it. After that the bride holds that piece of cake and lets the groom bite another bit of the piece.

Then the attendants start cheering and clapping for them. The cutting of the cake symbolizes that the couple have started taking care of each other and looking after each other.

Sulaiman Alquraishi


Who Took the Bridegroom?

In my country (Saudi Arabia), after the wedding ceremony, the religious man says that the bride and the bridegroom are man and wife. Then the bridegroom goes to a party halla special hall for weddingsnear his house. His friends follow him in their cars and honk their horns and flash their lights, so the people know that there is a wedding party.

Our special thing is the food. At the party, they cook special, traditional foodrice and a whole sheep on a big plateand they cook 8-15 plates because usually there are a lot of people at the party.

After dinner, the bridegroom goes out from the back door and takes his wife to start their honeymoon, but sometimesor usuallyhis friends will play big jokes on him. For example, they may take him before he leaves with his wife to have a picnic in a place he cannot get back from (the desert) for about 2-3 days to make him late for his honeymoon.

Mazen Al-Qarawi



Take Note if You're Getting Married in Spain

If a groom's friend cuts a piece of the groom's tie, he'll get married soon. If the bride wears something blue, she'll have a happy marriage. If the groom sees the bride's dress, she'll have bad luck during the ceremony.

Carmen Caffarena



The Groom Has to Promise to Take Care of the Bride

One the morning of the wedding day, the very first thing that happens is for the groom to pick the bride up from her house. Before the groom sees the bride, he has to kneel down in front of the bride's parents and promise them that he will take good care of their daughter. After that the groom is allowed to take the bride to the car which is waiting outside the house. Then the whole day ceremony will begin.

Stanley Chen

Tests and Games for the Bridegroom

In Taiwan, a bridesmaid and best man are not necessary in a traditional wedding because usually the parents will play these roles.

The bride and bridegroom can not see each other the day before the wedding.

Friends will design some games or tests and the bridegroom has to pass them before he can take his wife to get married. For example, friends will ask the groom about the bride's private things.

If he answers correctly, he can go on to the next game, but if he doesn't pass the game, he has to give money to everyone and then he can go to the next step of the game playing.

Those friends want to teach the groom it is not so easy for a man to get married to a beautiful woman.

Wan-Pei Chang (Vania)



I Can't Read Your Name, So You're Next!

In Turkey, when a girl gets married, all her female friends write their names inside her bridal shoes. After the wedding ceremony, if someone's name has been rubbed off and can not be read anymore, it means this person is going to get married next.

Arzu Cimitay


Wedding Superstitions in Turkey

If you get married between two annual religious festivals that are two months apart, you might be unlucky. If you write the name of one of your friends under the sole of your shoes in your wedding ceremony, and it is erased, he/she will wed in a short period of time. If you catch a candy which is thrown by the bride, you will wed in a short period of time.

Turhan Ece



Promises to Love and Take Care of Each Other

The most important and unforgettable event of someone's life is marriage. In Venezuela, the groom has to promise his bride to love her his whole life and to take her forever.

The bride also has to repeat the same commandments. It is popular for the couple to sing the promises to each other. This moment is really beautiful. In addition, the couple receives a list of commandments.

Sonia Dale


Write to us at and describe a typical wedding custom in your country. Don't forget to include your name and your country.

Return to: Weddings from Around the World | Issue 10 | Home Page

TOPICS Online Magazine - ©1997-2007 - Sandy and Thomas Peters -