If you’re in the process of planning a wedding or you’ve been involved in helping with the planning of another person’s wedding, you have a pretty good idea for wedding etiquette where you live. Everything from when to send out the save the date cards to considering how tacky it is to simply ask for cash instead of registering for wedding gifts falls under the etiquette umbrella, and there is always a lot to consider.
These things are traditional to American weddings, but what about wedding traditions and etiquette from around the world? From India to Kenya, read on to learn about what’s proper and conventional in other cultures across the globe.
In the United States, a marriage isn’t considered legal until you have signed a Marriage License and have that act witnessed by someone else (this is only in some states). In India, couples are not legally married until they have completed a ritual called saptapadi. This ritual is a religious rite that has the bride and groom taking seven steps together around a ceremonial fire.
The seven steps are meant to accompany seven vows: nourishment, strength and health, spirituality, happiness, progeny, longevity and friendship and fidelity. According to Hindu law, the marriage is not considered legal until saptapadi is complete.
It’s no secret that the Italian culture revolves around food. This love for all things delicious factors into Italian weddings, even before guests set foot into the reception hall. At the end of an Italian wedding ceremony, candy coated almonds, or confetti, are tossed at the bride and groom. These tasty treats are meant to symbolize all of the sweetness in life, and the bride and groom later return the favor by giving small bags of confetti to the guests as wedding favors.
In China, good hair makes a wedding. It’s considered proper for the bride to have her hair done on her wedding day by a “good luck woman,” who is any woman who has a healthy son, husband or daughter. The “good luck woman” makes sure to comb the hair exactly four times before styling the bride’s hair, according to tradition.
A horseshoe is a little bit less of a well known Irish symbol than a Shamrock, but this symbol may play into an Irish wedding in a few ways. The bride might sew an ornament in the shape of a horseshoe into her dress for good luck, or she may carry an actual horseshoe in her bouquet. Let’s hope she removes that before tossing the bouquet to all of the single women later in the day.
Even though sometimes a wedding may feel all about the bride, Kenyans really do have a ceremony that focuses totally on the bride. The day after the real wedding, Swahilli brides get to be the center of attention in a ceremony called kupamba. The bride and other women get a chance to show off elaborate hairstyles and dresses for another.
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