7 Meaningful International Wedding Traditions

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As a destination wedding planner in Colorado, I’m lucky enough to work with clients from all over the world. Many ask us to help them incorporate wedding traditions from their home countries, or those of their families, into their big day. I always love to do this, as it adds an extra layer of meaning to a celebration. It’s also a special way to honor family members, near and far. In fact, I think the best destination weddings are those that combine elements from the place you are marrying with those from the place where you both originate, whether that’s another country or state. It’s this magical mix that makes each celebration truly unique! So here are ten fascinating wedding traditions from around the globe that you can easily include in your destination wedding.

Ireland. At weddings in Ireland, it was traditional for a bell to be rung after the couple recites their vows. The sound of the bell was said to ward off malicious spirits and also ensure a harmonious family life. Bells are still a common gift for newlyweds, and some modern Irish brides and grooms still give guests small bells to ring at the ceremony for good luck.

Italy. At Italian weddings and other celebrations, guests are usually given a gift of five white sugar coated almonds called confetti or bomboniere. In fact, the tradition dates back to ancient Rome. The five almonds represent health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life.

Mexico. During many Mexican wedding ceremonies, the priest drapes the couple with a ‘lazo’ (or lasso) in the form of a figure of eight or infinity symbol. The lasso consists of a string of flowers or rosary beads and signifies their eternal bond.

Germany. In this wedding tradition, German newlyweds are presented with a large log and two-handed saw. This represents their first challenge as a married couple. In sawing through the log, they prove their ability to work together to overcome any obstacles that come their way.

Japan. Japan’s wedding traditions include the san-san-kudo ritual. Performed by the couple and both sets of parents, it involves each person taking three sips from three sake cups. Nine (3×3) is a lucky number in Japanese culture, and the ritual also represents the formal bonding of the two families.

Sweden. Unlike weddings in America or the UK, Swedish couples walk down the aisle together. This symbolizes their equality in the marriage. Swedish brides also often carry a sprig of myrtle in their bouquets or wear a myrtle crown, as it represents love.

Canada. There aren’t many uniquely Canadian wedding traditions, but I did find this fun one from Quebec! On the wedding day, the couple’s older, unmarried siblings perform a funny dance, all while wearing brightly colored socks. Guests throw money at the dancers, which they then give to the bride and groom.

I could talk endlessly about wedding traditions and all the fun ways we can incorporate them in your destination wedding in Colorado, but hopefully these will give you a little taste!

Top image by Jason+Gina

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