Everyone loves a wedding here in the UK! From choosing the perfect outfit to admiring the wedding rings, it’s a happy occasion for all. However, different cultures have their own unique ways of preparing for and celebrating the happy couple’s nuptials.
Traditions in Germany
Many traditions in Germany occur before the wedding even begins. For example, before a future bride-to-be is even engaged, she saves away pennies, which will then be used to purchase her wedding shoes. This tradition is said to help the happy couple get off on the right foot.
Invitations are given out a little differently over there too. They send out a Hochzeitslader, a gentleman dressed in formal, fancy wear complete with ribbons and flowers, to hand-deliver their invitations. Guests accept the invitations by pinning a ribbon from the Hochzeitslader’s outfit onto his hat, before inviting him into their home for a drink. Depending on the guest list, this can take quite some time!
When it comes to wedding regulations, it’s compulsory have a civil ceremony in a registry office. Then, in the days following, a church ceremony can be held, although this isn’t required. Generally, few guests will attend the civil ceremony and the bride and groom will dress relatively simply.
Have you heard of Polterabend? This must take place after the civil ceremony in Germany. Believing that negative spirits are attracted to brides, Polterabend takes place to scare them aware. On the night before the church ceremony, the bride and groom gather with their friends and family where they smash china and porcelain. The noise made is said to scare away the spirits, while illustrating that their marriage will never break. Glass is never broken, as this is believed to be bad luck.
After the happy couple is officially married, they’re often asked to saw logs! A log is set up on a sawhorse and the bride and groom must work together to saw through it, illustrating their teamwork. Instead of confetti, wedding guests throw grains of rice over the bride and groom, with legend being that each grain of rice that lands in the bride’s hair symbolises a future child!
Then the romance kicks in, as the bride and groom dance underneath the veil. When the music stops, single women will tear pieces off the veil. The lady left with the biggest piece is said to be the next to marry. Alternatively, instead of ripping the veil, guests simply throw money into it while it is held up.
Traditions in Spain
The wedding parties in Spain are quite different. For example, they don’t include bridesmaids, groomsmen, a maid of honour or best man, and the mother of the groom walks her son down the aisle. Likewise, there are no speeches and wedding rings are worn on the ring finger of the right hand.
Forget the white wedding, at one time, the bride’s dress was made from black lace. However, modern times have seen more brides wearing a white lace dress and mantilla, a type of lace headdress. The mantilla is traditionally given by the mother of the bride, who will have it embroidered especially. The mantilla is worn with a peineta — a high comb.
Did you know that a Spanish wedding occurs in the evening? Often, the groom will present his bride with 13 gold coins, each blessed by a priest. This act is said to bring the couple good fortune and symbolise the groom’s commitment to support his bride.
Flowers are a big part of the wedding process in Spain, with many brides choosing orange as the main colour. The bride will give a small flower corsage to her girlfriends. If a lady is single, she must wear her corsage upside down and if she loses it during the night, it’s believed that she will be next to be married!
Traditions in China
There are many different traditions in China due to the size of the country. Tujia brides must cry for an hour a day every day for a month in the run-up to their wedding. After the first ten days, the bride’s mother joins her in crying daily before being joined by her grandmother. As the other women join in, it’s seen as an expression of their joy.
In the Yugar culture, grooms are asked to shoot their brides with arrows! Although they are without arrowheads (thankfully)! After shooting their bride three times, the arrows are broken, showing that the couple will always love each other.
A ‘good luck woman’ helps the bride do her hair on the big day. This woman is considered lucky if she has living parents, a spouse and children, and it is hoped she will pass on some of this good fortune to the bride.
Another tradition is for the bridesmaids try to stop the groom from entering the house! The groom is required to prove his love for his future wife through answering a series of questions about her or even by offering money in red envelopes to buy his way into the house.
If you attend a wedding in China, you can expect the bride to be wearing red. In southern China, brides wear a two-piece outfit — a QunGua, Kwa or Cheongsam — featuring a gold phoenix or dragon detailing.
Despite being different, all traditions are a celebration of love and happiness and are special in their own ways. Will you take any inspiration from these traditions for your special day?
This piece was researched by QUIZ, retailers of dresses.