A white wedding is not the only way to get married. From paying the the bride’s parents to eating black wedding cake, here are a few wedding traditions from around the world that will blow your mind.
1. Lobola in South Africa
This traditional Southern African custom happens before the wedding when a man pays the family of his fiancée for her hand in marriage. The payment is traditionally done in cows, but in modern times it is done with money. Lobola’s purpose is to build relations between families.
2. Sake sharing Ceremony in Japan
In the Japanese tradition of san-san-kudo, the bride and groom take three sips each from three flat sake cups, after which their parents do the same, bonding the families together.
3. Preplanned crying in China
Weddings are emotionally draining as it is, but brides and females of the Tujia people in China have to cry for a whole month in advance. For one hour every day the bride must cry and is joined by her mother and grandmother.
4. Releasing doves in Philippines
Forget cutting the cake together, at traditional Filipino wedding receptions, the bride and groom release two doves into the air. This represents a long, peaceful and harmonious life together.
5. A goose for the bride in Korea
In Korean tradition, grooms give their new mother-in-laws wild geese or ducks. It apparently represents the groom’s pure intentions and loyalty to his bride. In more modern times, brides and grooms exchange wooden geese and ducks on their wedding day as a sign of their commitment.
6. Croquembouche in France
At French weddings you’ll be served delicious croquembouche — a tower of cream-filled pastry puffed dipped in sugary sauces. The cake serves as a replacement for the “traditional” wedding cake and is also decorated with fruit, nuts, and glazes.
7. Black wedding cake in Jamaica
Forget the red velvet or vanilla wedding cake, in Jamaica they have a black wedding cake made of dark fruits and rum. The same cake is also known as a traditional Christmas fruit cake.
8. Spitting On The Bride in Kenya
In Kenya, when the newly married couple leave the village, the father of the bride spits on his daughter’s head and chest so as not to jinx their good fortune. It’s pretty gross, but it is tradition.
9. Kransekake in Norway
Norwegians have their own version of the wedding cake which is called a kransekake. It’s a tower of iced almond cake rings, and it is common to build the tower over a wine bottle so a nice treat appears as guests break off pieces of the dessert.
10. Polterabend in Germany
The German tradition of Polterabend is when family and friends of the bride and groom smash dishware outside their homes on the night before their wedding. This tradition grew into hen nights and stag parties that we know today.
11. Stealing the groom’s shoes in India
During traditional Indian weddings, the bride’s sisters steal the groom’s shoes once he enters the wedding tent. The groom must then bribe the sisters to return his shoes before he exits.
12. Henna painted hands in India
Also part of the visually beauty of a traditional Indian wedding is that the bride and other female guests get elaborate henna designs on their hand and feet to represent the joy, hope and love of the occasion.
13. Jumping The Broom in America
Done at most African-American weddings, broom-jumping is rooted in the days of slavery when marriage between enslaved men and women wasn’t legally sanctioned. The enslaved men and women would declare their union by jumping over a broom together.
14. Marrying a tree in India
When a person in India decided to get married, they have to marry a tree first. Marrying a tree in India is symbolic as it infuses the present life with the supernatural life. Tree marriage was once widespread in India. The term can also refer to a nuptial ceremony that takes place close to a tree.
15. Bridal sedans and red umbrella in China
At a traditional Chinese wedding, a full procession will occur with the bride being escorted to the ceremony in a bridal sedan. Because red is a powerful colour, the bride wears a red veil to hide her face and her mother or attendant holds a red umbrella over the bride’s head to encourage fertility.