Hot, hot, hot: Spicy food served by the bridesmaids

Till Death Do Us Part: Unique Wedding Rituals of the World

Love, food, music, dance and drama- that’s what weddings are in a nutshell. While marriages are celebrated all over the world, each country or community have their own traditions which adds to the intrigue. Some have deep meanings behind them, while others were invented for the sheer fun of it. While reasons may vary, such ceremonies are always fun to watch and make for good stories or drama to laugh about in the years to come. After all, what’s a wedding without some drama?

Lasso Wedding

A couple joined by a flower lasso
credit@ Trident Music Inc


The lasso wedding is popular amongst Mexican, Spanish and Filipino communities. A large lasso rosary or el lazo is wound around the couple in the form of the figure eight.

The lasso could be a large rosary, flower garland, a simple rope or a silk chord. It could be a family heirloom or newly purchased by the godparents of the couple. After vows have been exchanged, either the priest or the couples’ godparents wound the lasso around the shoulders of the couple- first the groom’s and then the bride’s- to symbolize their union. The figure eight denotes the infinity symbol, meaning that the couple’s union will last forever. In the Bible, the number eight also stands for new beginnings. A prayer is recited by the priest, seeking the Blessed Mary to bless and watch over the couple and binding the couple as husband and wife. The lasso remains on their shoulders till the end of the service. Towards the end of the ceremony, the lasso is removed by the same person who placed it on their shoulders- either the priest or the godparent. Neither is the lasso got ridden of after the wedding festivities are over- the wedded couple will save it and display it at their home, as a reminder of their union and vows to each other.

Couples all over the world have now adopted this beautiful ritual. It is one of the most popular wedding traditions up to date.

Musical Crown Wedding

Norwegian Brides with the Crown
credit@ Pinterest

In Norway, there exists a marriage custom that has withstood the passage of time or even centuries. During a wedding, the bride wears a crown typically made of silver or gold, but designs may vary according to districts.

The Norwegian bridal crown is usually a valuable family heirloom, or if not, the church would provide the crown. First brought into practice during the Middle Ages, the crown represents the bride’s purity and Virgin Mary. Women who aren’t ‘pure’- widowed women, pregnant women or women who aren’t virgins aren’t allowed to wear the crown. In some areas, a smaller and modified crown are worn by pregnant women.

The crown could be the most expressive and the heaviest accessory worn by the bride. Some crowns are so heavy that they have to be fixed into the bride’s hair or veil to keep them from falling off. It goes without saying that the bride will either have a terrific headache or neck pain on her wedding night. Usually made of silver or gold, the crown almost always has shiny spoon- shaped ornaments or bells attached to it. The tinkling music made when the bride moves or dances is said to ward off evil spirits so that nothing hampers the bride’s happiness on her day. The reflection from the spoons is also said to help- evil spirits hate seeing their own selves in reflection!

A baby, broken plates and a kidnapped bride

Cleaning up the plates with a smile
credit@ Wikipedia

Czechs have a variety of wedding traditions that are used till date. Before the couple exchange vows, a cherubic baby is placed on their bed for fertility. After the vows, rice, peas and lentils are thrown onto the couple- to bless them with fertility. After the service in the church, the entire wedding party heads over to a hall or restaurant for the food. Before the married couple enter the building, a few plates are smashed and broken at the door. The couple must clean them up- each using only one of their hands. The practice symbolizes the couple’s union in facing any problems that may arise during their wedded life.

During the course of the meal or the after-ceremony interactions, the groomsmen ‘kidnap’ the bride and hide her. The groom must find her, and if he is unable to pull it off in a limited amount of time, the groomsmen ask for ransom. This practice denotes the bride’s transition into her new life- being separated from her family and found by the person she loves. It doesn’t end there either- while exiting the building, the groom must pay a second ransom. The groomsmen would have hung empty bottles on a rope decorated with ribbons and flowers. Dropping money into the bottles basically symbolizes the groom buying his way out of the sins one committed when he was younger. Guests would also place money in the groom’s shoes and attach them onto the bride’s veil to fund their honeymoon.

Wedding door games

Eating the food that the bridesmaid have hung
credit@ East Meets Dress

Wedding door games are a popular and often hilarious concoction of challenges set up during marriages by the bride maids for the groom. It is part of the communities in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. The games are known by different names- games with which to block the door (China), playing with the groom (Hon Kong), and wedding gate-crash (Singapore).

The games take place on the morning of the wedding at the bride’s family house. The bridesmaids block and guard the door. Before it starts, the groom and the groomsmen have to pay them a fee- these are arranged in red envelopes by the men. The money is usually in multiples of auspicious numbers – 8, which denotes wealth or 9, which denotes a long lasting marriage. The money is to negotiate with the bridesmaids to grant the groomsmen entry into the house. And then the challenges begin. Nasty food that are too spicy, too sour, too sweet or too bitter are given to the groom. The extremities of the food denotes the ups and downs or married life and whether the groom is willing to face them with the bride. Questions regarding the couple’s relationship are asked, and sometimes the groom is demanded to perform some music and dance. The music and dance is usually for the declaration of the groom’s love for his bride. In some customs, even push- ups and cross dressings are demanded to test the groom. All the games are to prove the groom’s commitment and love for the bride. The groom is allowed to seek the help of the groomsmen. While the groom may find it hard to swallow the food given to him, it must be fun for the others to watch his face as he makes the attempt.

Money dance

A Couple with the money pinned to their clothes
credit@ Pinterest

The money dance isn’t restricted to one country or culture. During the wedding, the guests pay to dance with the couple. The money is supposedly used by the couple for their honeymoon. The whereabouts of the origin remain sketchy, but various communities have adopted and incorporated their own changes into the original custom.

In Polish culture, when the guests want to dance with the bride, they drop money into an apron held by the bride’s father. The money is then offered to the new couple.

The Nigerians ‘spray’ money onto the new couple. The bride and groom are brought into the wedding hall. They dance in front of the bridal party and while doing so, guests surround the couple and place money on their foreheads. When the money ‘showers’ down, they are collected in a bag. It denotes showering down happiness, blessings and good fortune on the couple and also showing them affection. The custom was popularised by the Yoruba culture.

In Filipino culture, the male guests pin money onto the bride’s dress to dance with her while women pin it on the groom’s dress to dance with him. The money can be presented in any way- can be made into a garland or a crown. If there are a number of dancers, then it takes quite a while for the decoration.

For the Portuguese, the money dance was originally only for the male guests to dance with the bride. But now, female guests dance with the groom too. The bride’s father opens the dance by dancing with his daughter while the groom’s mother dances with her son. The bride removes her shoes and places them in the middle of the dance floor, so guests can pass them around and drop money into them.

Exchanging coins and sneaking away

Exchanging thirteen coins, Venezuelan wedding
credit@ The Celebrant Directory

Marriages in Venezuela, like that of Czech, aren’t restricted to just one custom. One tradition involves the couple exchanging thirteen coins with each other. Many families even prefer chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. The coins are commonly known as Aras. When the couple exchange the coins, it symbolizes good fortune and a prosperous marriage. The coins can also be given by the groom to the bride’s father to show his willingness to marry and support her.

Another tradition involves the couple sneaking away before the festivities are over. According to Venezuelans, couples who do so without anyone noticing will be blessed with good fortune. Seems like the perfect plan for introverts who are getting married. As for the guests, the person who first notices that they are gone is believed to be the next one to get married. It could be baffling or even alarming for someone who attends a Venezuelan wedding and does not know this custom. Even with the couple gone, the guests carry on with the festivities.

Grains of rice, myrtle in the bouquet and birdsongs

A sprig of myrtle in the bouquet for a good marriage
credit@ Elite Daily

In Wales, to decide whether the couple are actually made for each other, they have to undergo a tradition. If a couple love each other and wish to get married, they place two grains of rice on a shovel and place it on a fire. Once heated, if the unwitting grains jump off the shovel separately or in different directions, then the couple aren’t meant to be. Yikes. If the grains jump off together, then the couple has God’s blessing to continue their relationship into marriage.

You might have heard how each of the royal brides had some myrtle added to their wedding bouquet. This is because the Welsh believe that myrtle brings good luck, prosperity and fertility to the woman who is getting married. This belief goes back to Greek mythology: when Venus (Goddess of love, sex and fertility) visited the Island of Cytheraea, she was embarrassed by the fact that she was naked. To keep herself hidden from the public, she hid behind a myrtle tree, thus ‘adorning’ the tree. Since then, myrtle has become the symbol of partnership and love. Many of the brides also take a piece from the bouquet to present it to each of their bridesmaids. When the myrtle is planted and if it blooms, the bridesmaid is said to be the next in line to get married.

Many Welsh brides believe that being woken up by birds on their wedding day is a sign of good luck. According to them, God sent angels and spirit guides to the earth in the form of birds. So when a bird sings and wakes the bride up on her wedding day, it is believed that the universe is singing praises on her and granting her good fortune.


While each community has their own beliefs, some of these customs may have originated from pagan customs. As many migrated to various continents over time, you will find that many customs have gained popularity amongst the people of that area too, thus carrying the customs forward.

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