When planning a wedding, most people don’t make it past the many essentials (venue, flowers, photographer, etc). Part of what gives a wedding extra character can sometimes be those little extra touches here and there. A fun way to do this is by looking at the various wedding traditions from around the world, as well as some fun activity ideas. To get you started, I’ve put together a great starter list of websites. There are tons of great ideas out there. Which ones will you add to your wedding day?
The Knot has a list of 50 traditions and superstitions. Some of these most people will know, but others will be new. It can be fun to see what people come up with. Here’s some of my favorites:
The groom carries the bride across the threshold to bravely protect her from evil spirits lurking below.
The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck. Yikes!
In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds’ home as a symbol of fertility and luck.
Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
Ancient Greeks and Romans thought the veil protected the bride from evil spirits. Brides have worn veils ever since.
Brides carry or wear “something old” on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past.
The “something blue” in a bridal ensemble symbolizes purity, fidelity, and love.
In Denmark, brides and grooms traditionally cross-dressed to confuse evil spirits!
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 and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase “tying the knot”).
A website called Weddings And Romance have put together a list of Wedding Reception Games and Wedding Activities. This is a great list of fun ideas to make your special day even more unique and memorable. Here’s some of my favorites:
Guess the Truth
The bride and groom are asked a number of personal questions before the reception. The MC or someone in the wedding party makes up multiple choice answers for each question including the correct answer. Guests are asked the questions and by a show of hands we get the popular answers and compare them to the actual answers.
Guess the Bride
The groom is blindfolded and expected to guess the bride from feeling just the feet of 5 persons. First blindfold the groom. The MC/DJ points to 5 persons and seat them on chairs in front of all the guests – you can choose anyone but the bride. This is especially hilarious if the 5 persons are men with their pants leg rolled up and socks removed.
Guess the Groom
The bride is blindfolded and expected to guess the groom from feeling 5 men’s faces. First blindfold the groom. Point to 5 persons and seat them on chairs in front of all the guests – you can choose anyone but the groom.
WeddingsApproved.com also has a list of some fun ideas. Here’s one for you:
The participants of this game are the guests who are still single.
There are 16 contestants, 8 girls and 8 boys. The participants must be
divided into two teams. Each team must have 4 ladies and 4 gentlemen. They
must be positioned in an alternate manner. There is a sausage balloon
given for each team which must be placed in between legs. The sausage
balloon will be passed from one player to another. Note: the balloon must
not be touched with hands nor be popped or else they will have to
repeat the relay all over again. In case the balloon burst out, it will be
replaced with a new one.
This one is more person after attending my brother’s wedding in Berlin. His wife is German, so they had the wedding where her family and friends could partake. That was still the most wild and fun wedding I’ve ever been to. They are the ones that gave me the idea for this post because they use many games and activities in their wedding receptions where Americans do not. Here’s some goodies for you:
Add German humor to the festivities whenever appropriate. During the vows, while the couple is on their knees, the groom could kneel on his bride’s dress to show who will be “wearing the pants”. When the two stand, the bride might step on the groom’s foot to show her disagreement.
Decorate exit doorways with garlands of flowers, greenery and ribbons. After the ceremony, the groom must “ransom” the couple out of the facility by promising everyone money or a party.
Some of the things not listed on this site that I witnessed included log sawing, cutting a giant heart shape out of a bed sheet that’s been signed by everyone and then carrying the bride through the cut-out into the reception, a game where the bride and groom sit back-to-back and have to answer questions, a poem where a package is pasted around the reception before finally ending with the bride, and more.
SouthernBrideAndGroom.com has a story about a couple that incorporated the log sawing into their wedding. Here’s the article: http://www.southernbrideandgroom.com/?s=log+cutting
Again, the Knot has some great lists of ideas on their website. Here’s another one that has some fun ideas. Here’s your sampling:
Bailemos (Let’s Dance)
There is an endless variety of Latin music to choose from: salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, and samba, to name just a few. For a really dramatic first dance, take some tango lessons before your big day, and surprise your guests with a performance. Hire a Mexican mariachi group or Cuban big band to get everyone dancing. Before the dancing really begins at Mexican weddings, guests gather around the couple in a heart-shaped ring. Cuban weddings often include a money dance, in which each man who dances with the bride attaches money to her gown.
Donde Estan? (Where Are They?)
Can’t wait for the honeymoon to begin? Well, in Venezuela, it isn’t uncommon for a couple to sneak away from their own reception. But no one gets upset once they discover the newlyweds are missing — it’s actually considered good luck.
In Puerto Rico, small favors, called capias, are presented to the guests in a receiving line. They are made of feathers tied with ribbon and printed with the couple’s names and wedding date. For your wedding, you can give guests little Mexican wedding cookies wrapped in tulle, Spanish fans, a volume of Pablo Neruda’s love poems, or note cards with paintings by Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera tied with ribbon. If you’re up for it, the little bride and groom skeletons used during the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, which is really a celebration of life) would be perfect favors.
TraditionsCustoms.com has an extensive list of customary things each country does for their weddings. It’s fun to see what everyone else does to see if any of it can be added to our own weddings. Here’s a few for you to enjoy:
In Peru they put charms (attached with ribbons) between the layers of the wedding cake. Just before the cake is cut and served there is a little tradition organized. Each single woman present at the reception pulls a string. Peruvians believe that the one who pulls out the ribbon with the ring is going to marry within a year.
Koreans believe that if the groom is smiling a lot at the wedding his first child is going to be a daughter. After the wedding groom’s parents throw some nuts and plums to the bride. If the bride takes some nuts she’ll get many sons.
People in Scotland organize “Blackening the bride”. Couple’s friends and family members kidnap the bride-to-be and then pour some rather smelly substance on her.
In Armenia, t is a tradition that groom must ask the bride’s family for the bride’s hand. Armenian do it by holding a meeting of members of both bride’s and groom’s family. More formal and more common traditional meeting of that nature is called “Khosk-Kap”. Less formal meeting called “Khosk-Arnel” is sometimes organized too.
“Breaking a plate” or “vort” (“word”) is well known Jewish engagement party tradition. It is done by mothers of the bride and groom. They stand together and break a plate. This act has a symbolic meaning. Once broken plate can never be completely repaired. It is the same with human relationship.
There are tons of great ideas out there. I know you are overwhelmed in your planned, but I challenge you to add those one or two extra things to your wedding that’ll give you a lifetime of memories to enjoy.
If you found this post helpfully in anyway, please let me. Thanks for reading.