Bells are ringing, everyone is dressed up fancy and rings are exchanged…sounds a lot like WEDDING TIME! Ever since I have been traveling I visited 6 international weddings. Each of them have been special and unique in its own way. Now I will tell you why. But before we start I have a FUN FACT for you! Do you know why the ring goes onto the ring finger?
…because it is the only finger with a vein that connects to the heart.
New Traditions & Rituals
During international weddings you will see lots of local traditions and rituals the bride and groom have to fulfill. In Germany, for example, it is common to have “Polterabend” – an evening where family and friends gather and break lots of kitchenware. The couple then has to clean up together, showing that they get along well. During the wedding itself the groom has to get the bride’s garment without using his hands and afterwards sell it to the highest bidder. Other traditions include sawing a log together or cutting out a heart of cloth where the groom then has to carry the bride through.
I believe in Europe all weddings have kind of the same style and similar process except for local traditions and small cultural differences. However, Asian and African weddings have been a really unique experience for me. In India for example a wedding lasts for about 3 days and includes lots of eating and dancing, such as Punjab – a popular and common folk dance. One common tradition on the 2nd day is to paint the hands and feet of the bride with”Mehndi” (henna tattoo paste). Furthermore no rings are exchanged but the bride is wearing a necklace (Mangala Sutra) which symbolizes the union of both for 100 years.
In South Africa the wedding also consists out of multiple days. The first day is more dedicated towards the whole family while the second one gives all the attention to the groom and wife. The traditional ceremony is filled with presents exchanges, lots of sining and dancing as well as local rituals. You can read more about my experience of being a Zulu girl for one day on my blog.
Unique Local Outfits at International Weddings
While in Europe the bride always wears a beautiful and fancy wedding dress, usually in white, I had the opportunity to dress up into local outfits when I attended international weddings in Africa and Asia. In South Africa I wore traditional tribal clothing consisting out of a red skirt and a breaded necklace. In India it is common to wear Sarees which should be colorful and not black or white. Last named colors are usually worn at funerals, so make sure to avoid those.
One of the best part of international weddings is its locations. While I am used to basic but nicely decorated huge room or churches, I had the chance to be at much more unique locations. That included a wedding in a fancy church in the USA, a beach in Greece and a fort in Germany to just name a few.
New Delicious and Local Food
Last but not least we cannot forget about the food. While I am used to finger food, huge cakes and 3 course menus or a buffet, I have eaten some delicious local food at international weddings. My favorite food of all times is Indian Naan bread with lots of different dips and samosas (pastries with different fillings such as meat or vegetables).
Now it’s your turn! Tell me about the countries you have been to a wedding and your unique experiences!
CHEERS to all the married couples out there!