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Wedding Ceremony Customs

What's the significance of candy-coated almonds? Find out this and more charming traditions from around the globe.

Outdoor wedding ceremonyJason Walz
  • India: Hindu weddings include a ritual called saptapadi, a religious rite that traditionally involves the bride and groom taking seven steps around a ceremonial fire. The steps go hand in hand with seven vows, representing nourishment, strength and health, spirituality, happiness, progeny, longevity, and friendship and fidelity. Under Hindu law, the marriage is not legal until the saptapadi is complete.
     
  • Mexico: It's customary for the groom to give the bride 13 gold coins, trece monedas de oro, to represent his commitment, trust, and confidence in her. Her acceptance means that she receives his trust and confidence unconditionally, with total dedication and prudence. The coins are then blessed by the priest during the ceremony.
     
  • Italy: Food figures big in an Italian wedding―even before the reception begins. At the end of the ceremony, candy-coated almonds, called confetti, meant to represent the sweetness in life, are tied into small bags and tossed to the bride and groom. The bags are also presented to guests as wedding favors.
     
  • Sri Lanka: Buddhist weddings take place on beautifully carved wooden platforms called magul poru.
     
  • Morocco: Before the wedding, a Moroccan bride has her hands and feet painted with henna tattoos to represent good luck, protection, and the transition from unwed woman to wife.
     
  • China: A bride is virtually guaranteed a good hair day for the wedding, since a "good luck woman" (any woman who has a healthy son, husband, or daughter) prepares the bride's hair for the ceremony. The hair is combed four times.
     
  • Ireland: A bride sews an ornament in the shape of a horseshoe into her dress for good luck, or she may carry a horseshoe in her bouquet.
     
  • Brazil: It's customary for a bride to be fashionably late to her wedding. This helps ensure that the groom will not see her in her wedding dress before the ceremony begins.
     
  • Kenya: The day after the "real" wedding, Swahili brides are the focus of a ceremony called kupamba. It's a chance for the bride and other women to show off elaborate dresses and hairstyles.


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Lanterns

Talk to your venue before renting any items. Ask if you’ll be charged additional fees for using outside vendors and if the site can accommodate additional setup and breakdown time for special lighting, ceremony chairs, or hanging lanterns.