Intro to a Tour of Cultural Weddings

The traditional trappings of an American wedding can be colored by heritage and cultural tradition.

Here in America we possess a fairly standard expectation of what the typical wedding might look like: the bride in white, groom in a dark tuxedo, bridesmaids and groomsmen with a ring bearer and flower girl, a ceremony at a church or beautiful outdoor locale, a reception at a banquet hall where the bridal couple cut the white bride’s cake together then everyone scrambles for a piece of the chocolate groom’s cake, toasts are made, the couple dances, the bouquet and garter are tossed, and the bride and groom make their exit to a decorated getaway car amid a hail of birdseed or bubbles (“no rice, thank you” – from the birds).

But – there are pockets of our population where weddings may look quite different. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, non-Hispanic white persons in 2010 comprised 63.7% of the country’s ethnic make-up. That leaves a large portion of residents whose matrimonial traditions may draw heavily from their home countries. And even among the 63.7%, you might be surprised at some European customs that can still flavor wedding plans in America today!

Over the next few months, every other blog post on this site will explore the fascinating nuances of various cultural weddings, from their historically very unique origins to their modern evolution. To add some extra fun, let’s make it a cultural treasure hunt! Keep checking back in the coming weeks to find the answers to the following questions: “In which culture …”

  1. might the bride and groom try to step on each other’s toes during the ceremony to guarantee they’ll become the boss of the union?
  2. do guests pin real money on the clothes of the bridal couple at the reception (less than $10 bills not allowed!)?
  3. does the man help his future father-in-law with planting and harvesting over the course of many years as his bride-to-be grows up?
  4. does the groom’s tie sometimes get cut into sections and sold for honeymoon financing?
  5. does the bride go through town beating pans and singing loudly, kissing villagers in exchange for donations?
  6. does the bridal couple sometimes elope and then ask for forgiveness because the weddings are so expensive?
  7. does the groom’s mother throw dates and chestnuts at the bride – the number the bride catches representing future children?

Be the first to return to this particular post to correctly answer a question after the article giving the answer is posted (sorry, no cheating for those of you wise to cultural traditions) and receive a trio set of flameless candles from Wholesale Events.  Just post your reply, then e-mail along with your name, answer and mailing address. Type “cultural wedding contest” in your subject line. (Win one time per person, within the contiguous U.S.) And who knows, you might also just unearth some savvy ideas to incorporate into your wedding, too!