Here in the United States, we have quite a few “tried and true” traditions that most citizens have heard of—the throwing of the bouquet, smashing cake in your partner’s face, and the father/daughter dance are a couple of the most popular examples. However, America isn’t the only country where wedding tradition is taken seriously. Around the world, many countries have wedding and pre-wedding traditions you’ve probably never heard of!
- Fiji: A Unique Gift
Many cultures have followed traditions where a potential groom asks for their bride’s hand in marriage, but the incredible people of Fiji have added a unique twist. There, nothing says, “Will you be my father-in-law,” better than the tooth of a sperm whale.
When asking for a daughter’s hand in marriage, and before proposing, it’s traditional for a hopeful husband to bring their future father-in-law a whale tooth. It’s known as a tabua, and it’s symbolized love, strength, and luck in marriages for over 300 years. It translates to “sacred.” They say that the giver is serious, and tabulas are often given at funerals and births, too, as a symbol of sympathy and sanctity.
- Daur, China: A Healthy Liver
Setting the date is an important step in the wedding planning process, usually determined between the future bride and groom. However, in Daur, China, there’s a third party who has a voice in setting the date: a chicken liver.
Together, a couple will kill a chicken and—we’ll spare the details—but the future of the wedding depends in the liver they find. If the liver is healthy, the happy couple can set a date for the wedding. If the liver is in poor condition… better luck next time. It’s seen as bad luck, and the couple cannot set a date until a healthy liver is found.
- Germany: Withstanding Broken Plates
Many of these wedding traditions are all about bringing good luck to the new lives of the bride and groom. A popular tradition in Germany doesn’t only wish luck, but inspires couples to make their own luck and withstand hardship.
Before many German weddings, friends and family will come to the bride’s home to celebrate by smashing dishes. It’s a tradition known as Polterabend, said to be good luck. After the mess is made, the couple then cleans up together, as an exercise to prove that they can beat any challenge in their marriage as long as they work as a team.
- China: Bridesmaid Barrier
In every country and culture, friendship is a powerful bond that can’t be shaken by romantic bonds—not even true love. So, in China, the most beloved friends of the bride come together to present their last challenge for the groom: before he can get on with his new life with his love, a groom must get through a blockade of her friends.
The bridesmaids line up between their best friend and her husband to demand money from the hopeful groom, putting him through a variety of silly tasks and performances before he can get to her. In the end, it’s all in good fun, and a chance for a future husband to show the true strength of his love and devotion.
- Puerto Rico: A Doll & Gifts
While many cultures surround the happy couple with gifts as an important wedding tradition, some couples in Puerto Rico thank the guests with various gifts left at the table over the course of the celebration.
At the reception, a beautifully-crafted doll dressed as the bride is placed at the head of the table, beautifully arranged with gifts, charms, and trinkets. These little treasures aren’t brought home with the bride and groom, but instead are given to the friends and family members who came to celebrate the union as a show of appreciation and love.
Here at FanC, we know that no two weddings are the same, and we’re always here to make sure that you feel your best on your special day—no matter what your wedding looks like.
Interested in more wedding customs you’ve never heard of? Check out our post about wedding customs in the past.