For many, getting married is the biggest and most important milestone of their life. You get to enter into a whole new chapter in your life by celebrating with closest friends and family members. Tying the knot, partying all night… these are almost expect during each and every wedding.
However, getting marry also entails sharing a couple of special traditions with your loved ones. Now these, these are quite different depending on the country where the wedding is held. If you can, go and witness different traditions for yourself and get to know how people celebrate their big day up close. If you can’t though, you can keep on reading and find out more about some of the most interesting and unique European wedding traditions that will make you feel either nostalgic or inspired. Let’s begin our journey!
What’s Different in England?
British brides-to-be are quite excited about their hen party. It is a bachelorette party that comes with an “English spin” – afternoon tea and a relaxing day at the spa. There are instances, however, when the bride decides to go for a fancy dinner with her girlfriends and then continue the party into a club. Maybe a rarer sight, but it happens. For those that can afford it, hen parties sometimes turn into weekend getaways. Games are include and endless admiration for the bride, of course.
Another tradition that many find to be interesting is the “wedding breakfast”. Regardless of the name – it is not always serve in the morning and it doesn’t include typical breakfast foods. This tradition start in the 1500s when the bride and groom-to-be use to fast the night before getting marry and would indulge in the “morning breakfast” when the day finally comes. The foods and drinks expected to be seen at this traditional meal include wine, cakes and sweetmeats, and are often shared with close ones. Royalty wedding breakfast for Prince William and Kate’s royal wedding, for example, consisted of wine, seafood, a lamb roast and a trifle.
How do the French Do It?
A fun tradition that is usually hell in small villages is the wedding day parade. When the big day comes, the groom goes to his brides’ home and together they will walk through the village all the way to the chapel on foot. At the head of the parade you can see and hear musicians, then come the bride with her father and the groom with his mother. What makes this scenario even more picturesque is the notion that children from the village hold a white ribbon across the street and the bride is suppose to cut it as she passes by.
When night falls, it is time for the reception. The French do this quite differently too. There is one older tradition (not everyone does it, though) that guests should bring small cakes and pile them up as high as possible. Eventually they will turn those cakes into a tower known as the Croquembouche. Another custom regarding the reception is giving each guest five sugar or chocolate coated almonds. These symbolize health, happiness, fertility, wealth and longevity.
Thigs Shift Even More in Ukraine
In the morning when celebrations start, the groom is suppose to show up at his bride’s house and pay a ransom in order to “get” her. The groom’s immediate family members are there for support, and the bridesmaids are there to ask for the ransom. The tradition says that pretty ukrainian brides are worth a lot and the groom is supposed to earn his wife by answering a few questions about her. Every wrong answer results with more money for the ransom and compliments about the bride are welcome and ask for too. All this is accompanied by laughter and entertainment for everyone included and it lasts for about 15 minutes or so. After that, the groom is allow to enter and get his wife.
Another quite unique tradition that pretty ukrainian brides and grooms go through right before taking their vows is stepping on an embroidered cloth called rushnyk. What makes this interesting to witness is the fact that whoever steps on the cloth first will be the “man” in the house. He/she will always have the final say in their marriage. More often than not, the groom lets the bride step first. It is a sign of respect and love.