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What comes to mind when you hear the word tradition? Boring? Uncreative? Obligatory?
It doesn’t have to be any of that. When planning a wedding, we can get stuck in the idea of what we’re supposed to do, so much so that we forget to do it in our own way. The way we choose to conduct our weddings and celebrate anniversaries is up to us.
Today we are joined again by memory makers Truly Experiences who love to help you celebrate milestones my having moment led experiences. In today’s guest post they will be sharing light on some wedding traditions from around the world and how you might like to make your own modern stamp on them.
Weddings around the world have their own unique traditions. Some are very romantic, some are rooted deeply in religion, some are just wacky, and some are all of the above. There are many different ways to honour wedding traditions, no matter your culture or nationality. To make your wedding your own, you can adjust a custom to fit the ideals of you and your partner.
Whether you are combining different cultures and traditions in your wedding or are just looking for some fun anecdotes to include in your big day, feel free to put your own personal twist on any old tradition.
Here are some creative twists on popular wedding traditions from across the globe to give you some inspiration for your wedding day:
This tradition originated in England long ago. The bride tosses her bouquet of flowers at all the single women and the one to catch it will (supposedly) be the next to get married. This custom is quite fun and light-hearted, but how many weddings have you been to where all the single ladies in the crowd really seemed to want to catch it? At least in my experience, there are usually about three women waiting to jump for it with bated breath, while the rest have their hands behind their back looking ready to bolt if those flowers get anywhere near them.
So how exactly do you twist this old tradition into something less daunting? Why not include men and women, and change up the object you’re throwing. Instead of hurling the pressures of marriage into the crowd, throw out some cash and drink vouchers for everybody to catch. Think how much fun it would be to see your college roommate and your grandma both competing to catch this unique “bouquet.”
This tradition has various forms across the globe from North America to Europe to Africa. The general idea of it is that guests pay to have an individual dance with the bride or groom. They either pin the money to the bride’s dress or have it in a pouch somewhere.
Because this tradition is common in many different cultures, there are several different interpretations of it. Some only have guests dance with the bride; some have guests pick between the bride and groom. All these variations give you more room to choose how you want to do it.
A creative twist is to have the money go to charity. Most of the time the couple use the money towards their honeymoon or kitting out their first home. While these are both worthy causes, guests may be willing to give more money if they know the money is going to charity. Pick your favourite charity and tell everyone about it before the dance to get them really excited.
Maybe confetti isn’t a tradition, but couples commonly use it at weddings in every country. It’s pretty, it makes for great pictures, and it’s fun. There’s just one problem: it’s terrible for the environment. Little bits of paper flying everywhere, only to be thrown away after one use can be very wasteful.
There are many ways to have more eco-friendly, natural (like rose petals) or biodegradable confetti, like coconut flakes. They’re natural and won’t do any harm to our beautiful planet. They also look great in photos, giving a look of snow or rice. Plus, the whole place will smell great! Just make sure you ask the wedding venue if they will allow it.
In Greece, there is an old tradition of the Koumbaro. Traditionally a best man or a groomsman is given the task of shaving a groom’s face as a part of wedding preparations. This can sound a bit risky, letting a best friend be your barber right before the big day. BUT this big shave represents a groom’s last time being a single man.
While this tradition is already pretty creative, it doesn’t just have to be unique to gender. If this is something you wanted to do as a way to honour the trust between you and your friends and pre-wedding prep! Go for it, from hair grooming to skin care and beauty and skin care prep. If you have talented friends in this area and you believe you will be happy with your friends helping with your look for the day, it can be a creative way to incorporate this tradition.
The Cake Pull
In Peru, it is a tradition to put ribbons in a cake, one with a cheap ring attached. Any single ladies all pull a ribbon and its thought that whoever pulls the one with the ring will be the next to get married.
While this can be fun at times, it can get awkward if you have very few single friends or friends that don’t want to get married. So why not switch it up?
Instead of a game to see who is getting married next, perhaps change it to who has to give an impromptu toast. Have each person in the wedding party grab a ribbon. Whoever pulls out a ring must make up a wedding toast on the spot in front of everyone. You could even have more than one ring and more than one “winner” for extra laughs!
Walking down the aisle
In most cultures, there is some form of “giving away” this traditionally is a father giving away his daughter. In western cultures, this is usually done by the father walking a bride down the aisle. While it can be a beautiful tradition, it can generate many problems in the modern-day wedding.
First of all, the tradition dates back to the sexist idea that a father, and then a husband, own a woman and that the wedding is more of a business negotiation. (Read more on how you can be a feminist and get married) It can make anybody feel uncomfortable practicing a tradition that considers them property. This also raise questions in same-sex or LGBTQ+ weddings, like who walks who down the aisle and who stays at the altar? There are also, of course, many people who don’t have fathers or good relationships with their fathers.
Whilst this tradition can be a very heartfelt moment to honour your father or supporter, there are various ways to bring this tradition into the 21st century if it just doesn’t work for you and your partner. You could take a feminist stand and walk on your own like Meghan Markle, or have multiple parental figures walk you down, or do what the Swedish do and walk down the aisle together with your partner. A creative way to twist it up would be to forgo the aisle all together!
The bigger bite
In Russia, it’s a tradition for the parents of the couple to make a bread dish after the wedding. The couple must each try to take a bite without using their hands. Whoever takes the bigger bite, according to legend, becomes head of the household.
Julia and You Photography
This tradition in Desi weddings called joota chupai is already pretty creative, depending on how much of a good sport the groom is. When the couple enters the mandap, (a scared wedding tent), they must both leave their shoes outside. Traditionally this gives a bride’s unmarried female friends and family, the perfect opportunity to steal a groom’s shoes. A groom is not allowed to leave the mandap without his shoes, so the thieving females demand a ransom for them. The groom’s side of the family searches for them to help the groom avoid paying a ransom.
This is where the creative twist comes in. There is not a set guideline on what this ransom is, so if you are lucky enough to be one of these mischievous women, it’s up to you what to demand from the groom. Perhaps a bit of cash to split between everyone would suffice, or possibly making the groom do an embarrassing dance in front of the guests. The ransom can be any creative way of poking fun at the groom, while also bonding both families in this game.
A pretty fun tradition, especially for the person with the bigger mouth, but it can be shaken up a little. It can be turned into a whole competition with a slew of games throughout the wedding. In addition to taking a big bite out of a bread pastry, the couple can play minute-to-win-it games, such as cup stacking, dance-offs, or even bets on which member of the wedding party will get the drunkest. The person with the most points at the end will be the “head of the household.”
Not seeing each other before the big day
It’s an age-old tradition that a groom cannot see a bride in her wedding dress before the wedding ceremony. This, of course, is a very easy tradition to pull off – simply avoid seeing each other from preparation time onward
Logistically it is a simple task, but emotionally it can be a bigger struggle. It’s one of the biggest days of your life, and the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you cannot see! A comforting way to be with each other, without breaking the tradition, would be to write each other a letter. The letter could be reassuring words you think your partner would want to hear from you if you were together, easing their nerves about getting married. It can even be the vows you feel are too personal to say in front of the crowd. Anything! Or you could incorporate a first look. Where you dedicate time to each other, all dressed up, at the venue on your own before the ceremony to see each other and have it captured by your photographer
Old traditions can always be given a creative take to match you and your partner’s personalities and preferences. Multicultural weddings are on the rise in the United Kingdom, which means more traditions are being combined, formed and adjusted to line up with a couple’s values.
Whether you’re going for a traditional wedding, combining customs from multiple cultures, looking for traditions that don’t have to be heteronormative and cater to all couples or just looking for ideas in general, it’s all about choosing what resonates with you and not being afraid to twist up conventions into something more personal. They can be fun, endearing, quirky; anything you want. Remember, your day, your way!
Written by the talented team at Truly Experiences. For more information