As little girls, my friends and I used to dream about our perfect wedding. As a big girl, I was lucky enough to have it???
Many years later, I still reminisce about that day now, and just between ourselves, I would waft around the house in my wedding dress every time hubby dearest went out for the day – if only the bloody thing would still fit. I am pretty sure it must have shrunk in my wardrobe; that is possible, right? I'll keep telling myself that's what has happened!
Anyway, the point of this post isn't to draw attention to the strange shrinking properties of my wardrobe, thankfully. The point is to have a look at how people in different cultures celebrate their special days. Some are stranger than others, but you never know, you might even get some inspiration... might!
"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue"
Is the tradition which originates from a Victorian English rhyme. And did you know that there's another line – "and a silver sixpence for your shoe!? Allowing for inflation that would probably be a pound coin these days - but I don't think it would be very comfortable! On a side note, if you glue coins to the bottom of your shoes, you have your very own tapdancing shoes. Thrifty eh?!
The 'something old' symbolises continuity (the old family), 'something new' offers optimism for the future (the new family), 'something borrowed' represents borrowed happiness and good luck, and 'something blue' stands for purity, love and fidelity.
As you would expect, different counties and cultures have their own traditions.
You know that old mother-in-law cliché? Well, in Japan, in a traditional Shinto ceremony the bride wears white from head to toe, including makeup, kimono, and a hood called a "tsunokakushi", which hides the so-called "horns of jealousy" she feels towards her mother-in-law.
Can you imagine spending three days at home with your new spouse without being allowed to use the loo in that time?
No – me either, but Indonesian brides and grooms in Borneo spend the first three days after their wedding confined to their home together. Not surprisingly, they are only allowed minimal amounts of food and drink. It is believed to bring bad luck to the marriage if couples don't do it.
You know how you always cry at weddings? So do I! Well the brides of the Tujia people in China take it to a whole new level! Beginning a month in advance, the bride starts to cry for one hour every day. Ten days later, her mum joins in, and ten days after that, her gran does the same. By the end of the month, the floodgates are well and truly opened, with every female in the family crying alongside the bride. This tradition is believed to be an expression of joy (yes – really!); the sound of the women crying in different tones is supposed to sound like a song. Not in my family it wouldn't!
At French-Canadian ceremonies, the bride and groom's siblings can have some fun and make others laugh with this tradition of the silly sock dance. The siblings come in brightly-coloured socks and show their moves to the audience formed by the guests. As they dance, guests throw money at them or put it in a sock, which is later given to the newly-married couple. Hopefully a clean sock, not one which has been danced in!
In India, rather than wearing hand jewellery right before the wedding, it's traditional for a bride to spend hours getting mehndi, paint made from henna, intricately painted on her. Menhdi is actually painted onto the bride for its medicinal properties. It's meant to help calm the bride while dealing with the stress of the wedding day. Most of the brides I know have tended to go for Prosecco...
As wedding reception hosts, the parents of Guatemalan grooms can do whatever they want, including smashing things. When the newlyweds arrive, it's a tradition that the groom’s mum breaks a white ceramic bell filled with grains like rice and flour to bring prosperity to the couple.
In Sweden, whenever the bride leaves the table, all the females at the reception are free to kiss the groom. And whenever the groom leaves the room, all surrounding men are free to plant a peck on the bride, too.
In Congo weddings are considered a thoughtful and serious affair. The couple cannot smile during or after the ceremony. Nor are they allowed to smile in any wedding day photos, as this would imply they are not taking the marriage seriously enough. Wonder what the photographer says? What’s the opposite of 'cheese!'?