Wedding traditions around the world

With wedding season in full swing, experts have looked into how the big day is celebrated in different countries.

By Sue Wilkinson
Monday, 4th July 2022, 11:23 am
Groom holds bride's waist tenderly at a wedding in Spain
Groom holds bride's waist tenderly at a wedding in Spain

Following the abolishment of travel restrictions, destination weddings are back on, so the language and culture experts at Busuu have explored interesting wedding traditions from around the world.

A spokesperson for Busuu said: “Aside from the fact that you get to go on a holiday, destination weddings are also fun because you may get glimpses of different cultural elements.”

“We have looked into some of the traditions you can expect to see at weddings overseas, so you can get the party started on the right foot.”

Some of the most popular locations for tying the knot abroad are Italy, France and Spain.

Here are some of the customs from round the world.

Spanish wedding traditions

If you’re heading to a wedding in Spain then it’s possible that the bride, or novia, will be wearing a black dress. This is partly because the traditional colour for a wedding dress for Catholic brides is black, because it represents the seriousness of their vows and devotion to the groom, or novio.

Although nowadays many women opt to go for the popular white dress, you can still see some brides incorporating elements of black lace to their outfit as a nod to the tradition.

Another wedding custom that’s common in Spain is giving the happy couple larras matrimoniales, 13 gold coins blessed by a priest presented in an ornate box, chest, basket or pouch.

Italian wedding traditions

One of the best known and most popular Italian marriage traditions is handing out bombonieres.

They’re small, fragrant bundles, which contain five jordan almonds. The five almonds symbolise five wishes from the guests for the newlyweds, or novelli sposi: wealth, happiness, fertility, good health and long lives.

French wedding traditions

All French weddings must have a legal ceremony, which is always performed by a mayor at a City Hall, but many also choose to have a second, spiritual ceremony. Instead of having bridesmaids or groomsmen, they've got témoins - "witnesses" that stand next to them during the ceremonies and sign the wedding registry.

You might also get to taste a Croquembouche, a pyramid of cream-stuffed and caramel-coated profiteroles, the traditional option chosen instead of a tiered wedding cake.