Alternative Wedding Traditions from Around the World

We all know the traditional white wedding; the cake, the crying mother, the flurry of confetti as couples leave for a romantic getaway. Yet, there are many wedding traditions from around the world which may surprise and intrigue the most seasoned of wedding-goers. Here are some wedding traditions to humble, inspire and fascinate.

Samburu Tribe
Many African wedding traditions are male dominated. Men will often barter a price with the father of his wife-to-be with cattle and sellable goods. For the Samburu tribe in Kenya, the first steps into marriage are marked with elaborate ritual. Gifts are given great important by the bridegroom. These gifts are two goatskins, two copper earrings, a milk container and a sheep. The ceremony is concluded when a bull enters a hut which is guarded by the bride’s mother and is killed. 

Unity Sand Ceremony
The unity sand ceremony has many similarities to the unity candle ceremony to symbolise the joining of two lives. The ceremony is thought to have its origins in Hawaii and is a good way to include extended family and children into a service. The simple ceremony involves the bride and groom pouring coloured sand into a separate vessel to mark their life together. The pink sand (bride) and the blue sand (groom) is then topped with purple sand to signify how they have created a new, beautiful layer of unity.

Setting a date
It is said that in Inner Mongolia, a group of people called the Daur choose the date of their wedding by killing a chick and whilst holding the knife together, inspecting its liver. If the liver looks fine they can then set a date for their nuptials. This process has to be repeated until the couple find a suitable liver. 

Traditional French weddings included a bridal trousseau or ‘tiny bundle’ which is a package of clothes and linens a bride took with her to her groom’s home. Another French wedding tradition includes hanging up a poster in a city or town hall a few weeks prior to a couple’s marriage to ensure that there are no objections to the union. 

Irish culture is known for being particularly superstitious which is sometimes reflected in their wedding ceremonies. It is said that the bride should always look out for three magpies prior to the service and that she should never take the same path home as she did to the wedding to symbolise the new path in her life. 

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