More and more couples are now choosing to get married abroad and it’s easy to see what the attractions are. You can have a more exotic location, warmer weather and it’s often a lot cheaper.
Wedding hotspots include the Mediterranean with Cyprus, Malta, Italy and Greece popular short haul destinations.
Of course, couples have been marrying in these places for hundreds of years now and if you choose to tie the knot somewhere away from home, you’re likely to come across some local traditions that may find their way into your wedding ceremony and party (if you want them too, of course).
Here are a few we liked the sound of in some popular wedding destinations.
Pomegranates in Cyprus
It’s been a custom in Cyprus for the bridesmaids to fill their baskets with corn, wash it and take to the bride’s house to prepare a wedding meal called Resi of boiled corn and lamb. Maybe your girls would be up for this or maybe not! However it’s also a local tradition that the groom’s mother gives him a pomegranate fruit to break to symbolise prosperity, success and strength. Now we don’t think that’s such a bad idea!
At a wedding reception, during the ‘dance of the married couple’ – which is probably what we’d call the first dance – it’s also customary to pin banknotes to the couples’ clothes (which is how the wedding gifts were given).
On leaving the service, you will be presented with a bag of three, five or seven sugared almonds. It’s always an odd number as that can’t be divided up, which symbolises the unity of the couple.
The tearing of wedding veils
This romantic country has many different traditions for couples tying the knot. In one area the couple walk to the wedding chapel together and obstacles are placed in the bride’s path to see how she will react to domestic situations. If she picks up a broom for example she will keep a clean house. If she stops to help a child she will be a good mother.
In other areas a ribbon is tied in front of the wedding chapel to symbolise the bond between the bride and groom. A groom might also carry a piece of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits and tearing the bride’s veil is considered good luck!
“Kiss for the bride” is a popular Italian toast at the wedding reception where the bride and groom are asked to stand and show their affection for one another. That’s one tradition we like the sound of!
Say it with flowers in Thailand
Of course, you may be deciding to get married much further afield than Europe. If you’ve decided to go for somewhere exotic like Thailand, you’ll find some charming traditions that you might like to make a part of your wedding ceremony.
In Thailand, flower garlands are exchanged as well as rings because they show the fragrance of marriage and the beauty of life. The bride and groom present garlands to one another and the bride’s parents may bless the couple with garlands as well.
Water is also an important element at a Thai wedding and is poured from a conch shell over the couple’s hands to bless them and wish them happiness and prosperity.
Moon gates in Bermuda
If you hold your wedding in Bermuda, you’ll see several stone ‘moon-gates’ around the island on the road (they’re like a stone archway). Local tradition has it that if the bride and groom walk through a moon gate on their wedding day and hold hands they will be lucky.
You could also follow the local custom of planting a tree together on your wedding day so that it leaves a beautiful memory and grows (we think this is a fabulous idea). If the bride and groom are islanders, sometimes they use a tiny tree sapling as a wedding cake topper and then plant it.
You might also have a bride’s cake and a groom’s cake in Bermuda, around which an ivy wreath is garlanded to show the couple’s love for one another.
Some wedding traditions we’re not so keen on
We’ve heard in some parts of England it’s thought that finding a spider hidden in your wedding dress is lucky. Not so sure about that one to be honest, particularly if you’re arachnophobic!
Also in Egypt, the women of the party pinch the bride (who probably ends up black and blue) on her wedding day to bring her luck.
And in days gone by, brides and grooms in Denmark clothed themselves as cross dressers to ward off evil spirits!
What do you think of wedding traditions? To be honest, we think it’s simplest to stick with the old favourite ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’. But have a look at what’s being said on our Forum. Maybe you’ll find a really unusual wedding tradition that amazes you!