By: Karen Sullen
It has been said that "Love makes the world go around," and there's no grander display of love than at a wedding. But sometimes, it's hard to find just the right way for you to express your love and personality during your ceremony. If you need some creative ideas, you might find some inspiration for your special day in these wedding traditions from around the globe. Whether you incorporate the customs as they are or alter them a little for your particular taste, you will add a flair to your wedding that is all your own.
In one African marriage tradition, the couple is literally tied together (tying the knot) at the wrists during the ceremony to symbolize the life-long bond they share.
Thought to have its origins in Hawaii, the wedding sand ceremony has become a popular alternative to the unity candle to symbolize the joining of two lives, blending extended families or as a unique way to incorporate children in the ceremony. In this timeless ritual of marriage, the couple ceremoniously pours various colors of sand from one container, such as a seashell or bowl, into another special vase symbolizing their coming together as one.
Brides often carry horseshoes for good luck over their arms. They don't have to actually be metal, though. Some are crocheted with a long ribbon attached in a loop from end to end so that the horseshoe can be worn upside down over the arm of the bride during the wedding for good luck.
Some of the traditions include the bride and groom walking under a moon gate after the ceremony for good luck. To symbolize prosperity, gold leaf tops the groom's cake, and the bride's cake is covered with silver leaf with a small cedar sapling on top that is to be planted at their home after the wedding as a symbol of the couple's growing love.
Instead of throwing rice, wedding guests throw peas at the newlyweds instead.
Believe it or not, but it is believed that a spider found in the wedding dress brings good luck.
If you were getting married in France, you wouldn't have to worry about the decorations. Guests traditionally bring the flowers and floral centerpieces with them to the wedding. During the ceremony, the couple drinks from a silver "coupe de marriage" or wedding cup, which has been passed from generation to generation. As the couple departs, it is customary to throw wheat.
Germans don't have a bachelor party or bridal shower. Instead, they celebrate the Polterabend on the night before the wedding. It is a tradition where guests bring old dishes and throw them in front of the house. Shattering into thousands of pieces, it is said that broken crockery brings good luck. The more bits and pieces there are, the more luck the bride and groom will have (except for the unlucky task of cleaning all of that up.)
Instead of carrying the bride over the threshold for good luck, a newly married bride brings luck to her household by knocking down a container of uncooked rice, and entering her husband's home for for the first time with her right foot first.
No quickie weddings here! Traditionally, the wedding cake is dark, moist and rich because it has been soaked for about a year so that the fruits and bread are well flavored.
Believing that the wedding is a match made for life, ducks (who mate for life) are often a part of the wedding procession. In times past, the groom would carry a gray goose and gander (who also mate for life) to his bride's house as a symbol of his fidelity. Then and now, red and yellow continue to be the popular colors for Asian weddings.
Charming indeed, this wedding custom includes placing a wedding charm between the layers of the wedding cake with ribbons attached. Before the cake is cut, each single woman pulls a string. The one who pulls the ribbon with the 'ring' on the end is the next one to marry within a year. It is a unique alternative to throwing the bridal bouquet.
The veil and the lasso are a part of a special wedding prayer whereby the bride and groom are "lassoed" with a white satin circle of cord over the head and around shoulders while they are kneeling for prayer, demonstrating the binding of the couple in holy matrimony. Once the couple has been lassoed, a veil is placed over their shoulders to symbolically unite the couple. When the kneeling prayer is over, the attendants remove the lasso and the veil.
Looking for an alternative to the diamond engagement ring? Try a spoon instead. In Wales, a man would often carve a spoon from a piece of wood and attach a ribbon to it so that it can be worn by his betrothed around her neck as a sign of their engagement. Maybe that's where the term "spooning" came from?