Know any interesting international wedding traditions?

I have been dating (if you can call it that, she lives in Paris, and I live in the US…for the next two weeks…we haven’t seen each other in 6 months) a Taiwanese girl for the last year. As time passes the inevitable thought of marriage and the idea of its possibility crosses my mind.

I’ve spent a lot of time hypothesizing the infintely humerous possibilities of a guy from a fairly traditional, Southern family that’s used to attending marriages in colonial episcopal and presbyterian churches–attendees dressed in tuxedoes, Friday night rehearsal dinners, post-wedding receptions, etc etc-- marrying a Taiwanese girl from a fairly less-traditional (comparatively) taiwanese family.

When I asked Fanfan (the lovely lady) about their wedding traditions, she said that their ceremonies have become largely “westernized.” She said that the bride wears a white dress, and the groom wears a tux or a suit, etc.

She admitted she hadn’t been to many weddings there, however.

She couldn’t really tell me any particular traditions except for the red envelopes full of money (red symbolizing good luck), but I think the reason she couldn’t think of any differences is because she hasn’t been to weddings anywhere else, like me.

Therefore, I was curious if there is anyone out there who has, perhaps, been to weddings in different countries and can provide me with some interesting wedding traditions from those countries. I’m talking about anything from funny/beautiful/odd proverbs, ceremonies, songs, etc. Anything. I’m just curious. If you know what these things are supposed to symbolize, I would be forever greatful if you would explain the symbolism for me.

Thanks a million.

Last year about this time, I went to the wedding of a dear friend who married a Turkmen guy she met in the Peace Corps. The wedding was about as multicultural as they come; hippie Unitarian minister, Qu’ran readings in Russian, etc.

This wasn’t at the wedding ceremony itself, but a bunch of us came back to her parents’ house after the reception to witness a somewhat modernized Turkmen wedding tradition. My friend was dressed in traditional Turkmen village garb, complete with long colorful robe, headscarf, etc. The guys (some of the groom’s friends who had come from Turkmenistan for the wedding) took the groom into another room, where they wrapped him in a robe and a tall fur hat, and tied his arms around him in a series of hideously complex knots.

The idea is that the bride is supposed to untie the groom’s arms, using whatever means she has at her disposal; female wedding guests are allowed to help, but she has a certain time limit. If she succeeds, it means she will have the upper hand in the marriage; if she doesn’t, he will. So naturally, the guys make the knots next to impossible to untie, and the groom (who was 6’5"and a former athlete) was thrashing around like a nut. Photos:

My friend, being the staunch feminist that she is, wasn’t at all thrilled at being hooded, etc. because of the tie to the Central Asian tradition of bride kidnapping:

(There was a similar article a few weeks ago, but I can’t remember where I saw it.)

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

To sleep in the same bed while fully clothed, a custom formerly practiced by engaged couples in New England and in Wales.

In northwestern Ontario, tickets are sold to the public to attend the shag of the bride and groom.

Two years ago my cousin married a girl who is Thai. Part of the ceremony was that they sat on a bench and had their hands together over a bowl, I forget if the hands were all tied together. Every guest at the wedding, starting with the parents and then the bridesmaids and groomsmen, poured a bit of water over the hands of the bride and groom. I wish I could tell you the significance of the ceremony but I don’t remember. It was nice though, since it was a small party, for everyone to be able to do something personally to the couple at the ceremony. Perhaps someone else is familiar with this and can shed some light on it.

man, I think your prospective bride is giving you a line or has never been to a wedding in her native land. Westernized my ass, unless that means one of the 6 bride dress changes involves a white wedding dress. A traditional Taiwanese wedding is held in a giant restaurant with tables and tables of drunken guests. If it’s more traditional, there’s the bride and groom up at the front and some kinda ceremony with some bowing (3 times is normal, 9 is really really really traditional). The groom goes around to eat table and does a big bottoms up toast (except usually the groom is drinking tea or has a standin, or grows a big set or brass ones and get’s completely hammered) at each table.

Usually, the money in the red envelope more than pays for the banquet, but that’s a tough balancing act.

Trust me, holding a Presbyterian Weddin’ would dumbfound the normal Taiwanese wedding guest (so says the son of a presbyterian preacher).

Lest you misunderstand, weddings in Taiwan are a LOT of fun. Drunken banquets are definately the way to go IMHO.

A lot of Indian wedding customs vary by region but in the Marathi and Gujarati weddings I’ve been to (all my Marathi gf are running off with Gujarati boys) the siblings of the bride steal the groom’s shoes and then extort money out of him for their return.

Also interesting is that red isn’t necessarily the colour of the wedding dress as commonly presumed-in Maharashtra it’s yellow or green and in Gujarat it’s a particular white sari with a specific red border. My Keralite friends told me that due to the Christian influence down there most people get married in white (Christian and Hindu).

I was confronted by a pack of women in Nuremberg, Germany and told that one of them was getting married the next day and it was traditional for me to give them 50 cents and to pound a nail into a piece of wood.

I swear I am not making this up.

Here’s a couple, gleaned from 12 years in Russia, central asia and central europe:

In Russia the grooms friends steal the bride and he must ransom her back (vodka is acceptable tender)

In Uzbekhistan I was a member of the grooms party and before the wedding we had to go to the house of the brides friends and negotiate her bride price. (involving stacks of cash and some very probing comments about the groom’s virility and suitability for the bride)

In Kazakjstan the bride and the groom ride off through the steppes on horseback. The groom has to lasso the bride, wrestlle her to the ground and fight her into submission. Big points are given for how well the bride defends her honor…

In Czech, the bride and groom have to share liver dumpling soup at the wedding party - Yecchh! I am facing this one in September :frowning:

And finally, one from our own US culture (for devotees of game theory):
In many states breaking a betrothal (engagement) was a frequently prosecuted felony. I’m told these laws still exist on the books of many states but have not been enforced for roughly a 100 years (know any guys in jail for being ‘cads’?) What changed? The advent of the engagement ring. The idea was that if the cad broke off the engagement and besmirched the honor of the woman she got to keep the ring as just compensation. If he stood by his proposal, it became a joint asset.

Close. They kneel on a pew-like contraption, and normally their heads are joined by a white string. Normally each elder wedding guest will pour water over their hands and give a small blessing to each.

This is just one of the ceremonies at a traditional Thai wedding, and may vary by region. Thais place a lot of weight on age (Elders are highly respected), but in a Western version of the ceremony some young people may take part, but children should not be giving blessings, for example.

Eva Luna Who won the upper hand? The bride or the groom?

ShibbOleth, thanks for that. There was definitely a decorative table and I think I recall the bride’s family anointing the couple and the string on their heads. However, every guest was included in the water pouring and said something to the couple, even if it was just “congratulations.”

I’ve been reading about wedding traditions in Scotland, Ireland and Germany (our mutual heritage), and there was a tradition in one of those places in which the bride is kidnapped by the best man and taken to a local pub. The groom has to search for them and buy rounds at every bar he tries before finding them.

The other interesting thing about an Indian wedding is that the wedding itself is almost a side event for the day. While the wedding ceremenoy is going on groups of folks are generally chatting amongst themselves, eating etc.

They break dishes at German wedding to scare away the bad spirits. Also the bride and groom sometimes are made to saw a log in half.

After the wedding at the banquet the attendee’s are expected to stand up and make a speech or perform some sort of a skit which often involves the bride and groom. For example a guest might ask the bride and groom to face opposite directions (so they cannot see each others response) and then pose questions to them which they have to answer by holding up on object for yes (or her) and another for no (or him).

There are two Puerto Rican traditions that I can think of.

The first is a bride doll that sits at the head table. It can be any kind of doll.

My husband and I had a couple of teddy bears dressed in wedding attire sit on our table at our wedding, a small present from my aunt and uncle.

And capias- which are pretty much just small ribbon pins with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date printed on them, and maybe some tulle or a small plant or flower. The bride and groom usually hand them out as a small favor to each guest. My sister will have them at her wedding coming up, a small contribution to her ceremony from the same aunt and uncle.

It’s traditional in a Japanese wedding for the bride to cry the whole time, lest she look too happy to be leaving her family, and for her father to get up and bad mouth her at the reception, and thank the grooms family for taking her off his hands. That portion of the reception wasn’t translated at my brother and SIL’s wedding. :smiley:

At the chinese wedding I was at, the bride changed clothes 6 or 7 times, and there was more food than you could shake a stick a - it was great, although it must have been hard on the bride…

The whole thing pretty much degenerated into a mass semi-drunken ticklefight. I think technically the groom won, but the bride definitely wears the pants in that house. :wink:

Irish brides are supposed to have braids in their hair (to stop the luck falling out) and to carry a horsehoe (again, for luck).

Also, if you see a wedding car, while you’re driving you’re supposed to beep your horn. Weddings in cities can be very noisy.