Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware of the fact that the Royal Wedding was this past Friday. Millions of people around the world tuned in to watch the traditional “white wedding,” and what a beautiful ceremony it was! But that’s not the only way to get married, by any means. In honor of the happy couple, let’s take a look at some of the more interesting traditions surrounding marriage in different parts of the world:
Show Me the Money
Starting a new life together is expensive. In some countries, wedding guests are expected to give the happy couple the most practical gift of all: Cold, hard cash. For example, in many parts of Greece, it is traditional for guests to pin money to the bride’s dress as she dances during the wedding reception. Interestingly, this also a tradition in some parts of the Philippines. In Southern Italy, wedding guests are expected to hand the newlyweds envelopes of cash as they exit the reception in exchange for a wedding favor.
In some countries, including India and Morocco, it’s tradition for the bride to have her hands and often her feet adorned with intricate, detailed designs in rich brown henna paste. Once the paste is removed, the designs can last for weeks, slowly fading over time.
If you were exhausted after your wedding reception, be grateful you’re not from Poland or Romania, where wedding ceremonies and the ensuing after-party can last for days. In Poland, one tradition has wedding guests obstructing the path of the newlyweds with “passing gates.” To pass, the bride and groom must provide the guests with vodka.
In Romania, the wedding celebrations can last up to 2 days, and often involve a good deal of alcohol. The elaborate ceremony and the reception are guided by special musicians called lăutari, who play traditional Romanian songs as they choreograph the festivities.
As if the poor groom didn’t have enough to deal with, in some cultures it’s traditional to tease him or play jokes on him. For example, in some parts of Italy, the groomsmen are expected to poke fun at him, saying things like “Maybe she forgot where the church is.” Meanwhile, in Romania, the groom’s friends will often “kidnap” the bride from the reception, taking her somewhere else and making the groom pay a ransom to get her back.