Wedding guest on our Wedding Day London 1980
My wedding ceremony was plain and simple with no frills or bows. I had basically no money to treat my wife to a traditional wedding. It was a registry office wedding followed by thirty guests who turned up with food. Magical yes! memorable ? always. I had some Indian friends who were dressed in beautiful colorful saris. They made our day so special. Three months later we got married in a Catholic church in London another beautiful memory.
Have you ever wondered how other brides and bridegrooms celebrate their wedding day in different parts of the world?. I have compiled a few wedding customs by country. The wedding traditions of each country were absolutely beautiful and the wedding apparel so colourful, symbolic and so special for the couples.
Ethiopian Wedding Custom
The Wedding procedure starts with the groom’s side sending elders (Shimagle) who then request a union between the parties. The elders discuss a dowry and verify that the intended bride and groom are not relatives by checking their lineage a minimum of seven generations. After a dowry is agreed upon and it has been determined that there is no relationship between the intended bride and groom, the wedding is announced and the families begin preparations for a church/mosque ceremony and a mels/melsi ceremony.
On the wedding day the groom and groomsmen get ready at the groom’s house early in the morning and proceed to the bride’s parents house to begin the wedding ceremonies. At the bride’s parent’s house, the bride gets ready and is seated awaiting the groom’s arrival. As the groom and his wedding party arrive, the bride’s family and friends ceremonially block the entrance to the house.
The groomsmen have to either serenade or bribe their way into the house so that the groom can take the bride with him. Additionally, the best man holds perfume and sprays it everywhere inside the bride’s family house. After this ceremony, the groom retrieves his bride and they along with a procession go to a church/mosque to take their wedding vows.
After the religious ceremony, the wedding procession moves to a park/garden where lunch is served to guests. Afterward, the wedding party typically takes pictures while guests make their way to the reception. At the reception, depending on the family’s ethnic group there are several traditional dances performed.
Ethiopian weddings typically serve Ethiopian food and live music and the party typically goes on into the early morning. To close the wedding ceremony, elders are seated at the exit of the venue and the bride and groom along with the wedding party bow and kiss the knees of the elders as they exit the venue. This is typically the conclusion the first day of a typical Ethiopian wedding.
During the mels/i ceremony is dependent on the ethnic heritage of the family but it is typically smaller than the first ceremony and a time for close friends and family to spend some time with each other and continue to celebrate the newly married couple.
Nigerian Wedding Custom
Generally, there are three types of weddings in Nigeria: traditional weddings, church weddings, and court weddings. The civil marriage takes place at a registry, and then the religious ceremony follows. Finally, it’s the traditional Nigerian wedding ceremony. Many couples choose to do all three, depending on their financial situation. Nigerian weddings are normally characterized by lots of colours.
In traditional weddings, customs vary slightly from one part of Nigeria to the other. In Western parts, it is called the engagement ceremony. Officials and elders sip wine while they invite the couple in for introductions and negotiations, and presentation of the bride price which consists mainly of gifts of shoes, textiles, jewelry and bags.
In Eastern parts of the country, it is very much the same. Elders from both families retreat into an inner room to negotiate on the bride price. When concluded, the gifts are then presented to the bride’s family. After this, the bride, along with her entourage of girls is presented to the husband, family, and guests.
Arab wedding Custom
Arabic weddings have changed greatly in the past 100 years. Original traditional Arabic weddings are supposed to be very similar to modern-day Bedouin weddings and rural weddings, and they are in some cases unique from one region to another, even within the same country. it must be mentioned that what some people today call “Bedouin” wedding is, in fact, the original true traditional Arab Islamic wedding without foreign influence.
The marriage process usually starts with meetings between the couple’s families and ends with the wedding’s consummation (leilat al-dokhla). For a wedding to be considered Islamic, the bride and groom must both consent, and the groom is welcomed into the bride’s house—although only in the presence of her parents to maintain purity between both sides.
Given the diversity of Arab people, most are Muslim and some Christian and other faiths. The most common events that are held in the Muslim marriage include variations of the following: a marriage proposal, engagement, henna, nikah, registration, reception, walima, and honeymoon. The only Islamic requirement is to hold the nikah and walima. Other events are cultural additions and registration is usually a legal requirement.[….].
Persian Wedding Custom
Iranian wedding or Persian wedding traditions go back to the ancient Zoroastrian tradition, despite their local and regional variations (for example Iranian Azerbaijan region). Though the concepts and theory of the marriage have been changed drastically by Islamic traditions, the actual ceremonies have remained more or less the same as they were originally in the ancient Iranian culture.
Although Iran is multi-ethnic country, Iranian wedding traditions are observed by the majority of ethnic groups in Iran and neighbouring countries and regions such as Republic of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Iraqi Kurdistan.
European Wedding Custom
The Western custom of a bride wearing a white wedding dress came to symbolise purity, not virginity, in the Victorian era. Within the “white wedding” tradition, a white dress and veil is not considered appropriate in the second or subsequent wedding of a widow or divorcee. The specific conventions of Western weddings, largely from a Protestant and Catholic viewpoint, are discussed at “white wedding”.
A wedding is often followed or accompanied by a wedding reception, which in some areas may be known as the ‘Wedding Breakfast’, at which an elaborate wedding cake is served. Western traditions include toasting the couple, the newlyweds having the first dance, and cutting the cake. A bride may throw her bouquet to the assembled group of all unmarried women in attendance, with folklore suggesting the person who catches it will be the next to wed. A fairly recent equivalent has the groom throwing the bride’s garter to the assembled unmarried men; the man who catches it is supposedly the next to wed.
Indian Wedding Custom
Another important ceremony followed in certain areas is the “Haldi” program where the bride and the groom are anointed with turmeric paste. All of the close relatives make sure that they have anointed the couple with turmeric. In certain regions, on the day of the wedding proper, the Bridegroom, his friends and relatives come singing and dancing to the wedding site in a procession called baraat, and then the religious rituals take place to solemnize the wedding, according to the religion of the couple. While the groom may wear traditional Sherwani or dhoti or Western suit, or some other local costume, his face, in certain regions, is usually veiled with a mini-curtain of flowers called sehra.
In certain regions, the bride (Hindu or Muslim) always wears red clothes, never white because white symbolizes widowhood in Indian culture. In Southern and Eastern states the bride usually wears a Sari, but in northern and central states the preferred garment is a decorated Red skirt-blouse and veil called lehenga. After the solemnization of marriage, the bride departs with her husband. This is a very sad event for the bride’s relatives because traditionally she is supposed to permanently “break-off” her relations with her blood relatives to join her husband’s family.
Among Christians in the state of Kerala, the bridegroom departs with the bride’s family. The wedding may be followed by a “reception” by the groom’s parents at the groom’s place. While gifts and money to the couple are commonly given, the traditional dowry from the bride’s parents to the couple is now officially forbidden by law.
Chinese Wedding Custom
Traditional Chinese marriage is a ceremonial ritual within Chinese societies that involve a marriage established by pre-arrangement between families. Within the traditional Chinese culture, romantic love was allowed, and monogamy was the norm for most ordinary citizens. A band of musicians with gongs and double-reed instruments accompanies the bridal parade to the groom’s home.
Similar music is also played at the wedding banquet. Depending on the region from which the bride hails, Chinese weddings will have different traditions such as the Tea Ceremony or the use of a wedding emcee. Also, in modern times, Chinese couples will often go to photo studios to take “glamour shots,” posing in multiple gowns and various backgrounds.
Most regional Chinese wedding rituals follow the main Chinese wedding traditions, although some rituals are particular to the peoples of the southern China region. In most southern Chinese weddings, the bride price is based on the groom’s economic status. The idea of “selling the daughter” or bride is not a phrase that is used often. Therefore, the price of the bride does not tend to be too demanding. Most of the time, the bride price is in the form of gold jewellery, fine fabric, money, or even a roast pig, which symbolizes that the bride is a virgin. Wedding presents are given by elderly couples or couples that are older than the newlyweds, while tea is served by the younger family members.
Japanese Wedding Custom
Japanese customs fall into two categories: traditional Shinto ceremonies, and modern Western-style ceremonies. In either case, the couple must first be legally married by filing for marriage at their local government office, and the official documentation must be produced in order for the ceremony to be held.
Before ever getting married there are two types of mate selection that may occur with the couple: (1) miai, or an arranged marriage and (2) ren ai, or a love match. The Japanese bride-to-be may be painted pure white from head to toe, visibly declaring her maiden status to the gods. Two choices of headgear exist. One, the watabōshi, is a white hood; the other, called the tsunokakushi, serves to hide the bride’s ‘horns of jealousy.’ It also symbolizes the bride’s intention to become a gentle and obedient wif
Traditional Japanese wedding customs (shinzen shiki) involve an elaborate ceremony held at a Shinto shrine. Japanese weddings are being increasingly extravagant with all the elaborate details placed into thought. However, in some cases, younger generations choose to abandon the formal ways by having a “no host party” for a wedding.In this situation, the guests include mainly of the couple’s friends who pay an attendance fee.[……].
By the time the candle service is done the two hours restriction will soon expire. The remaining few minutes includes short speeches, songs, dances, etc. As the reception ends a flower presentation ceremony will take place, which is where the newlyweds will present their parents with a gift of flowers to display appreciation for their parents raising them to the people they are today. At this point, the reception has ended with quick flashes and farewells.
References: Wedding customs by country
Wedding traditions around the world