We all daydream about our wedding day! Ever since you were a little girl, you probably thought about how your wedding will be the best day of your life. You imagine yourself in a beautiful white dress, surrounded by your family and your very best friends, with the love of your life right by your side about to say “I do.” Sure, traditional big white weddings are a ton of fun, but have you ever wondered how other cultures celebrate weddings? Many countries have their own unique customs that really stand out. Sure, they might not seem as romantic to you, but around the world, everyone has different ways of expressing their love for the person they’re going to spend the rest of their life with and that’s a beautiful thing! Here are 15 weird wedding traditions from around the world that will make you rethink your typical ideas of romance.
15 Fiji: Whale tooth gift
You’ve probably dreamed about visiting Fiji someday, who wouldn’t want to go and hang out on those gorgeous beaches, but have you ever really learned about the culture of these beautiful islands? They have some unique customs that might surprise you! For example, you may know that in many cases, men are expected to ask their future father in law for the bride’s hand in marriage. However, in Fiji, there is something else they need to do for the father as well. They are also expected to bring him a whale’s tooth as a gift! Now, there are basically only two places where you can get a whale’s tooth in Fiji: the black market, or straight from the whale’s mouth. Well, it looks like men in Fiji have to go to some lengths for romance. But hey, if the girl is worth it, she’s worth it, you’ve got to impress her dad somehow, right?
14 Scotland: Food fight
One of the best things about going to weddings is all the delicious food you get to eat! From the incredible fancy cake to the buffet of dinner options, you will never leave a wedding hungry. But what happens to some of the food at Scottish weddings just might make you lose your appetite. Have you ever seen a real life food fight in your high school cafeteria? Well, Scottish weddings take food fights to a whole new level! At Scottish weddings, guests will pelt the bride and groom with nasty smelling food (think of the scraps that your dog would try to eat up). Why would they do this? The concept actually kind of makes sense. The idea is that if the bride and groom can stand seeing each other covered in such gross food, they’ll be able to get through everything! You’ve got to admit there’s some logic there.
13 China: Chicken liver
We all know there are certain things you have to do before deciding on your wedding date. You have to consider what venue you want, the weather, who will be able to attend, and a million other things. But in certain cultures, there’s another step you have to take before setting a wedding date. The Daur people of China have an elaborate method of picking a wedding date. The bride and groom must kill a baby chick while holding the knife together. They have to gut the chick and inspect its liver. The liver determines everything if the liver looks good, they can finalize their wedding date. But if it looks unhealthy, they have to repeat the process until they find a liver that does look good. Yes, we know this sounds very sad and pretty nasty, too but maybe you can just never be too careful when it comes to true love.
12 Kyrgyzstan: Bridal kidnapping
Your wedding is supposed to be the happiest day of your life right? And if anything made you cry on your wedding day, it would feel like the end of the world. Plus, you would ruin your bridal makeup, and what bride would want to deal with that? But in some cultures, you’re actually supposed to be sad on your wedding day. For example, this belief was once popular in Kyrgyzstan. The idea was that tears on your wedding day would make for a happy marriage in the end. However, people often took this idea too far. It started a tradition of bridal kidnapping, girls would be kidnapped, and their fear and sadness were considered good luck, so their parents would often give their kidnapper permission to marry them. Thankfully, this tradition has actually been made illegal. Maybe a few tears on your wedding day is fine, but this was way too much!
11 India: Marrying a tree
What if you were deemed unfit to marry by your community? Why would something like this happen? Well, official traditions like this are pretty rare these days, but it does still happen in some parts of the world. And how a potential bride has to deal with that situation varies from culture to culture. In some parts of India, astrology actually plays a role it is said that girls who are born under a certain astrological period are cursed, and because of this, they cannot get married without certain conditions. This is because the curse would involve an early death for their husband. So, how to remedy this? A woman in this situation must first marry a tree (yup, you read that right), and then have the tree cut down! After that, she is free, and she can marry whom she pleases. There’s a bright side to the this, a tree would never cheat on you.
10 Russia: Graveyard wedding
Weddings are typically a joyous affair. There’s lots of singing, dancing, and celebrating all around. Yes, there are some serious parts during the ceremony, but for the most part, weddings are meant to be lighthearted. However, this is not always the case. In some parts of the world, weddings are a much more somber and serious affair. It might seem strange, but it does make sense, after all, getting married is a very serious decision. In Russia, some couples choose a different type of venue for their weddings in an effort to create a different kind of mood. Many Russian couples get married next to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is Moscow. Would this be depressing? Maybe, but it actually highlights an important theme of a wedding. After all, you’re supposed to stick with your husband for the rest of your life so marriage is not something to be taken lightly!
9 Wales: Giving a spoon
Honestly, food is not only an important part of a wedding it's also an important part of any typical relationship. Dinner dates, cooking together, chocolate on Valentine’s Day, the best parts of any relationship involve food! Now, what if there was a cute wedding tradition to reflect this? And no, we’re not talking about the Scottish food fights. Scotland’s nearby neighbors in Wales actually have a different wedding tradition that has to do with food but this one seems a lot more appealing! In Wales, it is tradition for a groom to give his bride a wooden spoon as a gift. This is to indicate that he will never let her go hungry. Awwww! This tradition is so sweet because while it’s very simple, it reflects something very important about marriage you need to be there for your partner no matter how bad things get, and you need to support them during those hard times.
8 China: Mandatory crying
Now, we’ve already gone over the many reasons that you don’t want to break down crying on your wedding day. But sometimes, you’ve just got to let those emotions out! Maybe they’re happy tears, maybe you’re nervous, or maybe you’re feeling bittersweet about leaving your old life behind. Whatever reason, it’s totally okay to cry when you think about your wedding no judgment here! But what if you actually HAD to cry if you were getting married? Is there really a culture that has a rule about that? Answer: yes! If you’re an emotional girl who gets teary eyed over weddings, you’ll appreciate the customs of the Tujia people in China. It’s mandatory for a bride-to-be to cry for one hour per day for a month leading up to her wedding day! In fact, members of her family are encouraged to cry as well. Well, that’s one way to process all your emotions.
7 Niger: Ladies’ choice
Sometimes it seems like men have all the luck when it comes to dating. After all, guys are usually the ones who ask the girls out, so it can feel like we’re just waiting around for someone to choose us. Girls often feel awkward about making the first move or asking a guy out on a date, no matter how interested he seems. Wouldn’t it be fun to reverse those roles and be the one in charge for a change? Well, if that sounds good to you, you’ll love this wedding custom from Niger. In Niger, groups of men have to dress up in elaborate costumes and perform for the women. They have to do their best to impress just like we do when we get all dressed up and made up! After the performance, the girls get to choose which men they like best to start a relationship with. Sweet!
6 Greece: Dancing for money
We all know that it’s polite and basically necessary to give the couple a gift on their wedding day. After all, that’s why people set up wedding registries! You can give anything from household goods to kitchen appliances to gift cards. However, some cultures skip the registry and cut right to the chase. Look, what does every new couple really need to start their lives together? Cash! Cold, hard cash is sometimes the best present for a newly married couple. And in Greece, they totally understand that. At Greek weddings, one tradition is to pin money to the couple while they dance! It’s basically like tips for getting married. Yes, it may seem taboo to openly talk about money in some contexts. But let’s be realistic here it's hard to buy a house, settle down, and start a family if you’re broke. We should all take a page out Greece’s book.
5 America: Jumping the broom
Even at “typical” American weddings, there can be some odd traditions. Usually, when we think of weddings, we think of all things white, fancy, and frilly. The cake with four tiers, the bride in a white gown, the couple dancing to their wedding song, the twinkle lights strung around the room, the religious vows being read during the ceremony. But in different regions, different customs have developed over the years, making for some diversity in the way weddings are carried out. For example, in the American south, there is a tradition that began hundreds of years ago. During slave weddings, the couple would jump over a broom to symbolize their marriage and their beginning of a new life together. This tradition has actually still survived, and despite the fact that it came out of a dark history, it has been a part of many weddings in the south for years.
4 Middle East, Africa, India: Henna
If you’ve ever gotten henna before, you know that it’s nothing like a typical tattoo. The designs are very different they are often very intricate and take a skilled hand to complete! They also only stain your skin temporarily. Henna dyes will come off after a few days, so they aren’t permanent like regular tattoos. Henna also has more cultural significance than the tattoos that we usually see. While the use of henna has spread around the world, henna is mainly common in many areas across the Middle East, Africa, and India. Each culture that uses it has different designs and meanings behind these designs. Did you know that it’s not just meant for decoration it's actually a wedding tradition? Brides in these regions will often tattoo themselves with henna before their wedding days. These designs are meant to symbolize the bride’s youth and elegance. Henna is definitely a beautiful art form.
3 Armenia: Salty bread
Have you ever wondered what your future will look like and wished that there was some way that you could predict it for sure? You might look at your horoscope, try to read your palms, or even turn to a deck of tarot cards! There are plenty of ways that we can try to figure out the future. One major question you might have is: who will I end up marrying one day? Really, only time will tell, but young women in Armenia have a unique method of figuring out who their husband will be, one you probably have not tried. Armenian women will eat a single slice of a certain kind of salty bread before going to sleep. Then, they will supposedly have a dream about someone bringing them water to quench their thirst. The man who brings them water in their dream is the man they will eventually marry!
2 South Korea: Fish and cane beating
When we think about weddings, we usually think about the bride just being real here. Obviously, it’s super important that the groom has an amazing day too, but us girls tend to get a little selfish and think of weddings are our special day! But there are some unique traditions from around the world that are all about the groom, however, some of them aren’t very pleasant! Take South Korea, for instance. One traditional custom states that the groom should have his feet beaten with fish and canes the night before his wedding-ouch! Poor guy! The idea behind this isn’t very clear, but some people think it’s basically a humorous way for his groomsmen to stop him from leaving the bachelor life! However, it is also supposed to prove strength of character. And as far as the methods, why fish? That might remain an unsolved mystery. Sorry, South Korean grooms-stay strong!
1 Sudan: Two children
Some people think the only reason that a couple should get married is if they are planning on having children. Many religions view marriage this way, and this view is actually quite popular around the world. In many Western cultures, this isn’t necessarily the case anymore, you’re probably aware of the many different reasons why couples might want to get married that don’t involve children at all. But in some countries, having children is basically mandatory if you’re a married couple. In South Sudan, the people of the Neur tribe take this very seriously. Their tradition states that a marriage is not valid unless the wife gives birth to two children (it doesn’t have to be twins). And if the couple does not have two children, the husband is encouraged to divorce her because of this. Well, if there are no such rules in your culture, be thankful-marriage is not just about kids!