5 Romantic Wedding Traditions from Around the World

We all know the romantic wedding traditions in America, from jointly cutting the cake to the sweetheart table, but if you’re looking to mix things up a bit there are many traditions from around the world you can incorporate into your ceremony! We’ve chosen five to feature this week, but there are hundreds to choose from.

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courtesy of Mark Eric Photography

An interesting variation of the bouquet toss comes from Peru. Wedding charms are placed between the layers of the wedding cake with ribbons attached. Prior to cutting the cake, unattached female guests pull the charms out. The idea is that the woman who pulls out the wedding ring charm will be the next to marry!

In Russia, grooms pay a ransom for their brides. At the start of a traditional Russian wedding ceremony, the groom will arrive at his bride’s residence and ask for her. Her family will then have a bit of fun asking him for gifts and making him complete silly tasks. He may have to tell jokes, perform funny dances or solve riddles. But it doesn’t stop there! After enduring their teasing, the bride’s family will often bring out a different family member disguised as her. The groom will then have to pay still more ransom to get to his actual bride! Once her family is satisfied, the ceremony moves forward, but watch out! The bride (or her shoe!) can be stolen again during the reception and require still more ransom to be returned to the groom.

From either Hawaiian or Native American tradition (the history is unclear) comes the unity sand ceremony. In this tradition, the bride and groom pour sand into a glass vessel symbolizing the coming together of lives. Unlike the ephemeral unity candle ceremony, the result is a beautiful keepsake that can be displayed forever. This tradition adapts well to modern times with the use of different colored sands. In blended families, children can be involved in the ceremony by adding their own colored sand representing their joining into the new family.

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courtesy of Frank Simonetti – Photographer

In Mexico, rather than forming a circle around the bride and groom for the first dance, guests hold hands and form a heart!

Last, there is a wonderful tradition from Navajo culture is for the couple to face east during the ceremony. Facing the direction the sun rises symbolizes a new day dawning and a new beginning together.

Let us know in the comments if you know of any romantic traditions from around the world. We’d love to hear from you!