by Susan Southerland, PWG Contributor
- Wedding cakes in France were typically a Croque en Bouche (pastry balls filled with cream and stacked in a pyramid then drizzled in caramel). What a great change from the traditional wedding cake.
- The French may have started the “after party” as well. Cheverie is the tradition of guests clanking pots and making noise in front of the honeymoon suite. Traditionally the groom invites the guests in the room for some snacks and drinks. The noisier part of this tradition might not go over very well if the honeymoon suite is in a crowded hotel or bed and breakfast, but if you plan to spend the night at home, invite your friends back for a while.
- Jumping the Broom has become a very popular African tradition in wedding planning. Slaves could not legally marry, so to symbolize a bond between husband and wife, the couple would jump a broom to start their new beginning together.
- Candied almonds are traditionally served at Italian weddings. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the candy is said to remind everyone that marriage is for better and for worse. Life is bitter and sweet.
- Another fun Italian wedding planning tradition is to cut up the groom’s tie and auction the pieces off for money. Cash is given to the bride and groom to use on their honeymoon.
- Traditional Japanese weddings include the ceremonial drinking of sake. The bride and groom drink nine cups of sake, symbolizing the bonding of the couple. Family and guests also drink sake to reaffirm the bond.
- Traditionally Indian brides are decorated with henna prior to the wedding. At some wedding celebrations Mehndi artists are hired to decorate the hands and feet of wedding guests to wish the new bride happiness and luck in her future.
- At the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom steps on a glass and breaks it. This wedding planning custom has a couple of explanations. One states that the noise will scare away evil spirits, the other states that the couple will stay married as long as it takes to reassemble the glass.
- Having a piper lead the processional and recessional is a great way to incorporate Celtic tradition into your wedding planning. Hiring a ceilidh band for the cocktail hour or party is another great way to add Celtic flavor.
- At Russian weddings, a friend of the couple gives a toast at the beginning of the reception. All of the guests are to drink the champagne and throw the glasses to the floor. If the glass breaks when it hits, it is considered good luck for the bride and groom. Again, this is a tradition that works best at home rather than in a public reception facility.
This is just a small selection of ways to incorporate ethnic traditions into your wedding planning. The Internet is a valuable resource to find all kind of unusual ways to celebrate a wedding day. From ceremony to dinner and dancing, there are thousands of year’s worth of customs to try.