SA Weddings

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Religious Wedding Customs

There are many different cultures in the world, allowing us the pleasure of witnessing unique wedding customs and traditions from all over the world. With so many beautiful moments to treasure, read below for an insight into wedding traditions from a few different cultures, before your very own big day!


Jewish Customs

Weddings in the Orthodox and Conservative Jewish faith are strictly not allowed to be held on the Sabbath or any other religious holiday. The invitation is written in both Hebrew and English and at the ceremony the couple stands under the Chuppa, which provides a sanctuary from gloomy spirits. The groom stamps on a glass wrapped in cloth to symbolise the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a beautiful, symbolic gesture of both joy and sadness.

Indian Customs

India is the home of wedding rituals and ceremonies. Pre-wedding ceremonies consist of an Engagement Ceremony where the bride and groom exchange rings and families hand out gifts and sweets. The Mehndi Ceremony is held in India, Pakistan,Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka, it's the celebration of decorating the bride's palms, wrists and arms in intricate henna designs before big celebrations.

Finally, on the big day, the bride and groom put flower garlands around each other's necks in the Var Mala Ceremony to show the bride has accepted the groom as her husband.

Jamaican Customs

A Jamaican wedding is a community affair where the entire village gets involved. Several cakes are baked for the ceremony and on the wedding day the married women in the community, wearing white dresses, carry the confections to the wedding. The reception is often held at the groom's house, in a booth specially constructed for the event and made of coconut boughs and flowers.

The wedding celebration also includes an abundance of dancing, including the ballroom-style dance called the Quadrille.

Welsh Customs

Spooning may not mean exactly what you think; in Welsh wedding tradition, a man carved a spoon out of wood and gave it to the woman he loved. If she wore it, they were engaged. Brides are often kidnapped by their families just before their wedding day in Wales. The groom and his family follow and whoever rescues her will be the next to get married.

In her bouquet, a Welsh bride carries myrtle, a symbol of love, and gives a cutting of the plant to her bridesmaids as well. If the bridesmaid plants the cutting in her yard and it blooms, she will soon marry, according to Welsh tradition.

Russian Customs

In Russia, only civil ceremonies are considered official. Couples hoping to have a religious ceremony must also have a civil one. They apply to have their wedding and once the application is complete, couples must wait one month before the actual ceremony. In those religious ceremonies, if the bride and groom are a traditional Orthodox couple, they are crowned as royalty for the day. They stand on a special carpet to recite their vows, but before doing so, the couple race to the carpet. The winner is often considered the head of the household.

Russians have multiple ways of testing who will be the head of the household. Couples share the wedding loaf known as the Karavay, and whoever takes the biggest bite is considered head of the family.

Chinese Customs

In Chinese tradition, a middleman was used to cement the rather lengthy engagement. The parents of the prospective couple controlled the negotiations. Once a man found a woman he wanted to marry, the go-between would present gifts to the girl's parents. Both families would then review the auspicious nature of the match, including the bride and groom's birth dates and hours, as well as consulting an astrological expert. At the time of the actual ceremony, the bride is carried to the groom's home in a covered sedan chair.

Even modern Chinese wedding ceremonies place a heavy importance on auspicious dates. Fortune tellers consult Chinese almanacs and analyse the prospective union. The bride and groom do not consult the almanac themselves, it is purely the job of a fortune teller.