While throwing the bouquet and cutting the three tiered cake may seem like a wedding staple to most of us Westerners, other cultures have drastically different ways to go about celebrating their big day.
Despite most Western cultures requiring a big diamond ring to seal the deal of marriage, other cultures celebrate their weddings a little differently.
Here are seven of the strangest wedding traditions you’ve probably never heard of…
1. Beating the groom’s feet in Korea
After the main wedding ceremony in Korea, the friends of the groom will take his shoes and socks off while also tying a rope around his ankles. They will then beat the soles of his feet with a dried yellow corvine – a yellow fish – thought to make the groom stronger before the first wedding night.
It’s also thought that if the groom is smiling a lot throughout the wedding ceremony, his first child will be a daughter.
2. Crying and shooting in China
The Chinese have many wedding traditions that we could argue are a little “odd”. For example,30 days before the wedding day the bride must spend an hour a day crying and ten days later she is joined by her mother and (then her grandmother) to cry with her.
We know this sounds a little strange, but what it’s meant to express is deep joy and love for the future husband.
Within China’s Yugur culture, groom’s will shoot their brides on the wedding day with a bow and arrow – minus the arrowheads – a total of three times. The groom will then break the arrows in half to symbolize the couple staying in love forever.
3. Blacken the bride in Scotland
Up in the highlands of Scotland there is an age-old wedding custom that quite literally puts the bride and groom in a sticky situation. The Blackening of the bride ritual involves guests throwing a mixture of soot, flour, and treacle over the happy couple to ward off all evil spirits that have the potential to ruin their marriage.
However, nowadays it’s performed to test the bride as it’s believed if she can endure the blackening on her big day then she can definitely cope with what marriage has in store for her!
4. Forbidden bathroom in Northern Borneo
Possibly one of the weirdest traditions on this list, the tribes of Tidong in Northern Borneo forbids newlyweds from using the bathroom for three days and three nights after their wedding ceremony. If the couple uses the bathroom for the toilet or to wash it’s believed they will receive bad luck and their marriage will be doomed.
As a result, it’s a strict rule that the happy couple receives the minimum amount of food and drink during those three days.
5. La soup in France
After the wedding reception, the bride and groom will be sent to their bedroom while the bridal party cleans up. This “cleaning up” simply involves placing all the leftover food and drink into a chamber pot.
The bridal party will then walk into the couple’s bedroom with a toilet full of this food and drink for the bride and groom to drink; without leaving until the entire contents has been consumed.
While today the couple are given chocolate and champagne, both are still served in a toilet – thought to give them both the strength to withstand their first night as a married couple.
6. Floral paradise in India
In parts of India the groom is required to take his shoes off before he approaches the wedding to alter and as soon as he does this, chaos occurs! Everyone from the groom’s side is expected to protect the shoes as the bride’s family try to steal them.
Weddings in India also incorporate a lot of floral attributes, with both the bride and groom sporting a floral headpiece. Meanwhile, the groom’s brother will sprinkle them both with flower petals, to protect them from evil spirits.
7. Slaughtering a cow in South Africa
The Zulu people, living in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, are well known for their strange wedding traditions. During the wedding ceremony, the bride will change her clothes three times in order to impress her in-laws while also wearing a red headdress made of her mother’s hair.
The wedding ceremony itself includes a lot of dancing and singing, however, after the celebrations, the entire party will go to the groom’s home where a cow is slaughtered as a sign of the bride being welcomed into her family. However, the bride only becomes an official member of the new family when she puts money into the cow’s stomach.
Now that you’ve learned about the wild wedding traditions that take place around the world, we’ll bet you think the western way of wearing a white dress and having your first dance is a little boring?