Welcome back, fellow travelers, as we continue on our whirlwind tour of unique wedding customs around the world!
Last time, we explored the most romantic Celtic traditions of the British Isles. Today, we'll take several pitstops around the Western World. Have you used any of these customs in your own wedding? Do you plan to? We're especially curious if anyone has kept a chamber pot on hand…
Australia: Go With the Flow
It is said that early Australian settlers could often not afford wedding rings. Instead, the bride and groom tossed stones into a river. Like the stone in the river bed, the couple would stay together forever as life rushed past, trying to push them in different directions.
Canada: Sock It to Me
During the wedding reception, unmarried siblings of the newlyweds dance around wearing silly socks. Guests throw money at them. The more ridiculous the siblings act, the more money people give. And at the end, the cash is given to the couple as a wedding gift. Lest you think this is just a funny bit of wedding fluff, the practice originated as a form of punishment for older children whose younger siblings had beaten them to the altar. I guess Canadians aren't always so nice!
France: The Toilet Goblet
After the reception, the bride and groom drink out of a chamber pot. This tradition initially involved combining leftover alcohol into one potent concoction and chugging it out of the chamber pot for energy and strength on the wedding night (oh la la). These days, the dish is generally bananas topped with melted chocolate and champagne. (And the chamber pot is clean…)
Italy: John Cusack Would Be Proud
The night before the wedding, the groom serenades the bride outside her bedroom window. This often involves accompanying musicians and can even include friends or family (and, hopefully, the occasional boom box). Bonus points if the bride has already fallen asleep!
Poland: What's the Password?
On the way to the reception, it's a common custom for guests to form "passing gates." In order to head into the reception hall, the bride and groom must give the gatekeepers vodka. This seemingly alcoholic tradition originates from a sweet sentiment of guests providing a bride's dowry. If the bride was an orphan, the gatekeepers collected money rather than vodka and presented that money to the bride.
Russia: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
On their wedding day, the newlyweds in Moscow take flowers to the famed Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Tradition dictates that by honoring those who have died, the new couple may survive and flourish. Many couples around the world tweak this same tradition by featuring an ancestry table at their reception site – pictures, candles, even storyboards of relatives who are no longer with us.
Spain: You're Tied Down Now
No need to pick out your tie too carefully in Spain. In fact, it's better to get the cheapest tie you can find because it will likely be destroyed in short order. During the wedding reception, it's customary for the groom's friends to steal his tie and cut it into pieces, auctioning each piece off to the crowd. Claiming every piece of the tie brings the new couple good luck.
Thanks for joining us on a brief tour of the Western World! Hop back aboard. Because next time, we're jetting off to Africa and Asia for cultures with a more mystical flavor…
Writer Fawn believes in the power of a well-crafted story, the promise of an adventurous future, and the perfection of a Nutella-covered strawberry.