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Wedding Customs Around the World

Rachel Moore

We recently read an article by Jacquelin Carnegie in Bachendorf’s Accent magazine about wedding customs in different countries and thought we would share our findings with you. We know, we know. We’ve written articles about weddings in other cultures in the past, but we find it interesting and hope you do, too!

Japan: Similar to a Western ceremony, a Japanese bride typically wears white, while the groom dons black. Instead of wearing a gown and a suit or tux, however, the Japanese bride and groom don kimonos. During the reception, it is typical for the bride to change clothes several times, which signifies her readiness to return to everyday life. Japanese weddings are generally small, as only family members and close relatives attend. The bride receives a ring and nine lucky gifts for happiness.

Mexico: Rituals and traditions from the Spanish, Aztec, Native American and Anglo-American cultures are all incorporated into the ceremony. Many Mexican processions are accompanied by a mariachi band and a donkey carrying bottles of tequila and wine for toasts along the way! As the couple exchanges their vows, a beaded rope is tied around them in a figure eight. This signifies their eternal bond and unity. Traditionally, the grooms gives the bride 13 gold coins during the ceremony, which represents Jesus and the 12 apostles. This symbolizes the groom’s commitment to support his wife throughout their life together. The bride receives an ornate box for the coins’ safekeeping.

India: Indian weddings are widely known to be some of the most beautiful and lavish. They usually last five days, with several rituals before, during and after the ceremony. The bride wears gold jewelry to symbolize wealth and purity. The family often starts acquiring the jewels as soon as the bride is born to contribute to her own “independent” wealth. The gold is essentially a wearable savings plan! Instead of exchanging rings, an Indian groom ties a black and gold beaded necklace around the bride’s neck.

Scotland: You know you’re attending a Scottish wedding when the groom and his groomsmen are wearing kilts and dancing to bagpipes! Other Scottish traditions vary by region. In the northeast, for instance, the best man gives the couple a clock, while the maid of honor gives them a tea set. In the Borders, a sprig of heather in the bridal bouquet brings good luck.