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28 Quirky Wedding Rituals From Around The World


It's fascinating to think about unique wedding traditions that have taken place for generations around the world. Couples in China and Scotland, for example, sometimes do some particularly neat (and messy) things before they walk down the aisle. Let's look at a few unusual traditions that we don't do here in the U.S.:

1) In Congo, the bride and groom must go through with the entire wedding ceremony without laughing or even cracking a smile. Sounds like fun, right?

2) In Germany, a get-together called a polterabend happens before the wedding day. Guests bring the couple dishes, glasses, and anything else that may break and make a lot of noise in the process. This practice is supposedly done to make enough noise to ward off evil spirits.

3) In Korea, it isn't unusual for the groomsmen to take the groom toward the end of the wedding day and tie up his legs at his ankles. At this point, they slap his bare feet with fish in order to prepare him for his wedding night. Somehow, I think I might be missing something here ...

4) If you are getting married in Puerto Rico, you will have a doll made that replicates you in your bridal gown. This doll is placed at the bridal table with gifts for the guests. The bride and groom do this in order to show guests appreciation for coming to their ceremony.

5) The Masai people in Kenya have a tradition that involves the bride's father spitting on her face and breasts at the wedding. This is supposed to be a blessing.

6) An old German custom asks the couple to saw a log in half together, which symbolizes how they will work together to overcome obstacles.

7) It is customary in France for the close friends and family to disrupt the wedding night of the bride and groom by going to their new home after the wedding and making a commotion. They bang on pots and pans, yell, and cause the couple to come outside. Once outside, the couple is to serve snacks and socialize with their guests.

8) The Tujia people of southwest China require that the bride cry for one hour of every day for a month leading up to her big day. All of the women in her family are encouraged to join her in the crying after a week.

9) "Blackening the bride" in Scotland requires the family and friends of the bride to tie her to a tree and dump disgustingly dirty things on her to embarrass her. This is supposed to get her ready to endure any hardships that married life may bring. If you can endure this tradition, you can endure anything.

10) The Yugur people in western China require the groom to shoot his bride with three headless arrows at the wedding. After doing so, he will take each arrow and break them to show that their love will last forever.

11) In Swahili culture, a village elder woman or sometimes the bride's mother may escort the couple into their bedroom on their wedding night to help the bride if she's not sure how it's done. And some folks complain that their in-laws get too involved …

12) In Borneo, some believe that it is good luck to not allow the newlywed couple to leave each other on their wedding day for any reason at all, not even to go to the bathroom.

13) In Fiji, before the groom can get permission to marry the bride, he must bring a whale's tooth to her father in order to be allowed to proceed with the ceremony.

14) In Sweden, if the bride or groom needs to use the restroom, the other may be kissed all over by everyone at the reception while they are gone.

15) In the Marquesas Islands, friends and family of the bride and groom lay face-down in the grass after the wedding, and the couple is required to walk across them.

16) In Wales, the groom gives his bride a carved wooden spoon to symbolize the fact that he will always provide for her and never let her go hungry. How romantic is that?

17) Tidong couples in Borneo are not allowed to leave their rooms or use the restroom for three days after their wedding ceremony. People bring them light foods to eat and small amounts of water. This is supposed to allow them to be happy in their married life and to bring them many healthy babies.

18) It's an old tradition in France for the wedding party to gather all of the leftovers from the reception, including food, alcohol, and cake, and mix them in a toilet bowl. They then go into the bridal suite where the new couple is spending their first evening together, and they don't leave until the couple drinks the concoction straight out of the toilet.

19) In certain counties in Ireland, when the bride and groom dance at their wedding, her feet can't leave the floor. This is done as a precaution because they believe that evil fairies might come and take her away from her new love.

20) Indian women born during unfavorable astrological conditions are required to marry a tree before they marry a man. This is done because they are supposedly cursed at birth. Once they break the curse by marrying the tree and cutting it down, they can marry their groom.

21) In Southern Sudan, a woman must have two babies before the married is considered legitimate. If she does not provide her husband with two children, he can divorce her.

22) Although we strive for the opposite here, in Mauritania, women who are getting married try to get as fat as possible before their wedding day for their groom.

23) In India, the groom takes his shoes off before he walks down the aisle. When he does this, his friends and family are immediately supposed to protect them, while the bride's friends and family quickly try to get the shoes. A battle begins, and if the bride's side ends up with the shoes, the groom must pay a ransom to get them back.

24) In Russia, a dowry is presented to the bride's family from the groom's family. If the bride's family thinks the dowry is too little, they send the groom a fake bride. This may be a different woman, or it could be a cross-dresser. This goes on until the bride's family receives what they believe to be an adequate dowry.

25) In Romania, a weird game is played by the groom when he kidnaps his bride. If he is able to keep her hidden from her family for a couple of days, she will be his wife. If she escapes or is taken, she won't.

26) Spartan women would bulk up with muscle and dress up like men. Then, they would wait for their grooms to come and take them away.

27) In South Africa, the parents on both sides each bring fire from their fireplaces to light the hearth of the newlyweds.

28) Originating at Polish and Greek weddings, the dollar dance tradition isn't too weird, and in fact, it's become a tradition done quite often here, too. Brides have a special dance where the guests can pay to dance with her. They either put cash in her purse or pin it to her dress in order to have a moment with her alone on the dance floor.