International

Following is a list of traditions, customs and rituals throughout the world. Some of these are still followed at weddings today:

  • If an English bride passed a chimney sweep on her way to the church, and the chimney sweep kissed her, it was considered good luck.
  • In Holland and Switzerland, a pine tree, a symbol of fertility and luck, was once planted outside a new couple’s home.
  • In South Africa, both bride and groom’s parents carried a fire from the hearths of their own homes and took this fire to the new couple’s home to begin the fire in their home.
  • In Armenia, two white doves were set free to symbolise love and happiness.
  • The wedding cake in Bermuda was a multi-level fruitcake and included a small cedar tree on top. This tree was planted and is supposed to grow with the love of the bride and groom.
  • In Japan, brides change their bridal attire several times throughout the wedding day.
  • In England, the bride would not allow her married name to be used before the wedding for it was considered bad luck.
  • In Italy, the groom’s tie was cut into pieces and sold to the guests at the reception. The money earned is used for the honeymoon. Flowers decorated the front of the bridal car in Italy so that the bride and groom would have happy travels throughout life together.
  • In Japan, ducks or a goose and gander were included in the processional because they mate for life and are a symbol for fidelity.
  • In Poland, guests paid to dance with the bride and this money is used for the honeymoon.
  • During the reception in Spain, wedding guests danced a special dance and then present gifts to the bride.
  • An early American custom—the bride pinned a small pouch to her wedding petticoat. This pouch contained a small piece of bread, cloth, wood and a single one-dollar bill. This ensured that there would be enough food, clothes, shelter and money for the future couple.