Weddings Around the World

Celebrating the cultural traditions we carry into marriage.


There are many ways to honour being a couple, but for those who choose to formally get married, wedding traditions are often a meaningful part of their celebrations—they can even merge together beautifully in cross-cultural weddings. In this roundup, we've highlighted just a few of these old traditions that continue to hold special significance for many around the world.



TEA CEREMONY

A person pours tea among several cups

Chinese couples traditionally serve tea to their parents and other family members on the day of their wedding. Taking place in each family's home, tea ceremonies represent the union formed between the two families.













WEDDING COINS

Las arras matrimoniales  - Bin im Garten, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

In Hispanic culture, the gifting of 13 coins (las arras matrimoniales) from wedding godparents is a Catholic tradition still observed today. After the coins are blessed by the priest, the groom presents them to the bride, symbolizing his commitment to her.







Image Source: Bin im Garten


JUMPING THE BROOM

a wooden broom propped up against a building

References to this wedding tradition can be found across popular culture. After wedding vows are exchanged, some Black couples 'jump the broom' while holding hands, symbolizing a new chapter as the past is swept away.














THE CHUPPAH

a chuppah

Standing under a chuppah (a four-cornered canopy) while speaking vows in a Jewish wedding ceremony symbolizes the home the couple will build together. The open walls of the chuppah also represents the couple's hospitality towards their guests.














MEHNDI PARTIES

a bride with henna designs on her hands

Traditionally hosted by the bride's family, Indian bridal parties can get intricate henna designs done on their hands and feet in preparation for weddings. In Hindu tradition, mehndi is also part of the Solah Shringar (16 bridal ornaments). Wedding traditions involving henna can also be seen across other cultures.













A WISHING TREE

A wishing tree

In this Dutch wedding tradition, guests mark their attendance by contributing to a wishing tree. Well-wishes are written down for the couple and hung from the tree's branches.














Image Source: Amazon


KOLA NUTS

Kola nuts - Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

This caffeine-rich food plays a significant role in many traditional West African weddings. A bride and groom may exchange kola nuts as a symbol of mutual respect, healing, and unity.











Image Source: Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova


SACRED THREAD

a spool of white thread

In traditional Thai weddings, couples may be bound together using sacred thread known as Sai Sin. This is meant to bring good luck, and it symbolizes the union between the pair. Sacred thread is also used throughout other Buddhist traditions.














 

What wedding traditions do you find meaningful from your own culture or family roots?