Wedding traditions are, undoubtedly, an important part of anyone’s big day.

They’re the moments that we have been including in ceremonies up and down the country for decades. And usually, they’re things we all expect when it comes to our wedding days.

Of course, there are the four, most traditional rules almost every bride sticks to. Most newlyweds agree on the ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’ tradition. Even if it does mean we’re stuck with our grandmother’s outdated veil for the ceremony…

Many of these wedding pastimes are adorable. But there also are some much stranger wedding traditions, wedding superstitions and wedding rituals that still happen to this day, all over the world.

But why do we do them? Here are some of the most strange wedding superstitions and wedding rituals around the world…

Wedding traditions in the UK

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue…

In a brand new stage of a woman’s life, the tradition for something old is meant to mark the bride’s link to her past and her family. Something new is meant to symbolise good fortune and success in the bride’s new life, with many brides opting for their wedding dress. And to set the trend in history, in the 18th and 19th centuries, wedding dresses were often alterted and reworn. But as is common now, the wedding day was often the very first time she would wear the dress – hence the phrase ‘something new’.

Something borrowed and something blue are more symbolic items. The ‘something borrowed’ piece of a bride’s outfit is chosen to express that a bride will always have support when she needs it, as it’s generally something from a friend or family member. Historically, the piece should be taken from a happily married female relative, in order to emulate some of that success, according to the V&A Museum.

And the something blue harks back to ancient times, where the colour blue symbolised purity and fertility. Often, brides-to-be choose the garter for this one.

So what about other wedding traditions?

Engagement and wedding rings are traditionally worn on the fourth finger of our hands, of course. But do you know why? Rumour has it that rings are traditionally worn there as it was always thought that there was a vein leading directly from that finger to the heart – aww.

The throwing of confetti marks one of the most fun moments in a wedding day. The ceremony is over and the happy, newly married couple are on their way to start celebrating with loved ones. But why do we chuck a load of confetti over them on their way out of the church/registry office? Well, the explanation is simple. The tradition charts back to when rice or grains were used to throw over the bride and groom. It was done to encourage fertility. However, we doubt that’s the reason most do it nowadays…

Of course, a veil is an absolute must for loads of brides-to-be nowadays. However, while some brides favour them, others choose not to wear them. And either is fine. But for those who do opt for a veil, the explanation is that the veil is worn to ward off evil spirits from the bride. If you say so…! We might pick ourselves one up, just in case…

Wedding superstitions

Wedding traditions are lovely ways to make your big day as special as possible. But what about those rather more strange wedding superstitions? The things you supposedly have to do if you don’t fancy a doomed marriage.

Everyone’s heard of one – but what do they actually mean?

  • A groom carrying his new wife over the threshold of their property for the very first time is a tried and tested wedding rule. But the creepy explanation behind the guesture is that it’s traditionally done to ward off evil spirits…
  • As one superstition goes, if the younger of two sisters marries first, the older sister is actually required to dance barefoot at a wedding. If not, she runs the risk of never landing herself a husband. Ah, finally an excuse for that tipsy dancing to Dancing Queen at the end of the night…
  • No bride or groom wants a downpour to dampen proceedings on their big day. And even less so when you hear of the ominous superstition behind rain on wedding day. Apparently, rain on a wedding day is a signal for tears in a marriage after the wedding day…uh oh!

Irish wedding traditions

Traditions for a couple’s special day vary all over the world, but what do the Irish always make sure to do?

  • The Claddagh ring is one of the biggest Irish wedding traditions. Typically passed down through generations, the ring is used to symbolise the marital status of a woman, and is worn on the right hand, flipped upside down when she is in a relationship. It’s transferred to the left hand when she is engaged. And the ring is again flipped when she becomes married.
  • Bells are a classic Irish wedding tradition. They are typically given as a wedding gift, again, in order to ward off evil spirits. Couples are then encouraged to keep the bells in a safe place in their home, and ring them again if their marriage ever gets into trouble.

Read more…


 

Indian wedding traditions

And what about wedding ceremonies in further flung areas of the globe?

Unlike weddings in the United Kingdom, Indian weddings take place over the course of a few days, rather than on one single day.  The days-long celebrations are traditionally lavish affairs, with garlands and petals thrown over the couple as traditional good luck charms for their marriage ahead.

Scottish wedding traditions

The Scots are no different to the rest of the world when it comes to wedding traditions, and have a few of their own…

When it comes to Scottish weddings, importance is even placed on which foot the bride leaves her house with for her big day ahead. Scottish  brides are said to have to leave with their right foot first, or suffer bad luck. Traditionally, a sprig of white heather is ideally placed in a woman’s bridal bouquet, in order to bring good luck – a move especially popular on the Scottish borders.

Weird wedding traditions around the world

So far, so normal. But there are some wedding traditions that happen around the globe that are almost too bizarre to believe…

  • There’s one downright disgusting wedding tradition, that’s still practised in Scotland to this day. Reportedly, the ‘blackening of the bride’ sees the (un)lucky man and woman getting bags of gross, rotting rubbish thrown onto him and her. The idea is that if they can survive that, they can survive most things. Each to their own, we guess…
  • In many cultures around the world—including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings—the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other. Hence the popular phrase, tying the knot! Just make sure they untie you afterwards…
  • In China, a particularly strange wedding tradition takes place before every ceremony. The bride’s bridesmaids are charged with forming an actual physical human barricade which the groom is meant to fight his way through, with a series of silly challenges following it. The absurd tradition is meant to be a way for the groom to prove the strength of his love – if you say so!

What do you think of these wedding traditions? Have you heard of all of them? Do you know of any strange wedding traditions of your own? Let us know in the comments, or on the Woman Magazine Facebook page!