Cultural and religious traditions can be great personal touches to add to your ceremony, and these days it’s becoming more and more common for a couple to incorporate traditions that are outside of their own beliefs or heritage! If something speaks to you, there is no reason why you can’t include it in your ceremony. Here are a few fun ideas that you can incorporate into your day:
For good luck, brides in Sweden will slip a gold coin in their right shoe and a silver coin in the left; these are kept in the shoes for the entirety of the day. Other European countries will put a penny in a shoe on their wedding day; afterwards the penny is made into a piece of jewelry for continued luck!
In Turkey, the bride will offer up her shoes for her bridesmaids and female friends to write their names, either on the sole or inside the shoe. The name that rubs off the most by the end of the ceremony or the end of the reception (your choice, really) is the next female in line to be married.
Irish men were once known for getting cold feet on their wedding days. That evolved into a tradition of locking the church doors once the bride and groom were inside to make sure he stuck around until the end of the ceremony!
The Huppah is one of the most recognizable traditions in Jewish ceremonies, perhaps second only to the breaking of the glass. The Huppah is symbolic of the home the bride and groom will create together, and the open walls ensure open generosity and hospitality from the couple. Today brides of all religions and cultures are making their own version of a Huppah! They can be made with metal, wood or even bamboo poles, and the ‘tent’ will be constructed of flowing fabrics, green ivy and foliage, or for a super romantic approach the bride and groom will stand under a canopy of flowers.
Handfasting is practiced by many Celtic and Asian couples, and is a tradition that has been incorporated into many American weddings. Essentially the bride and groom’s hands are tied together with rope while they quite literally tie the knot!
This one is great for evening weddings. In the Moravian region of the Czech Republic, guests are all given a beeswax candle to hold during the ceremony. The bride and groom will each light a candle of their own, then will pass the flame onto a guest who passes it on to the next guest until the entire ceremony is lit by candlelight; we can’t think of anything more romantic!
A common African-American tradition is Jumping the Broom. Slaves were once forbidden from marrying in America, so they would make a public declaration of their commitment to each other by hopping over a broomstick handle together. Today brides and grooms will decorate small brooms for the occasion and then keep it as a keepsake in their new home. It’s become symbolic of the home that they’re creating together.
While technically not a Ceremony tradition, this one is worth mentioning! In Poland, there is a tradition of guests creating “Passing Gates” on the way to the reception. The gates must be passed through by the newlyweds before they’re allowed to enter the reception, and the toll that the gatekeepers require is vodka! Not a bad way to kick off your reception!
If there are traditions from your past or your fiance’s, we encourage you to find a way to incorporate them into your day, even if it means tweaking the custom to fit your relationship. Or find a tradition that you love that speaks to both you and your groom and make it your own! It can be a fantastic way to honor where you’ve come from, and for guests unfamiliar with the tradition it can be a fun and unique spin that they’ve never seen before!