Tying the Knot

June 4, 2010 | NeW Staff

This week I may diverge slightly from my more usual postings because…I’m engaged! A week into planning a wedding, I have had the opportunity to stumble across many variables that accompany the organization of such an elaborate event.

Today women have more choices then ever before when it comes to their wedding (if they chose to have one). Dresses are no longer only “white,” but “cream,” “silver,” or “blush.” Forget flowers… now brides may chose fans, books, or other artistic creations to carry down the aisle. Rather then sending out paper announcements, individuals may opt to put together a YouTube video or an electronic invitation for guests. 

Along with “simple” decisions like these, cultural backgrounds may dictate important decisions when planning a wedding. For fun, I thought I would include some below from a website I found: 

– In South Africa the two families of the bride and groom may carry a fire from their homes to the home of the new couple.
– In China it was tradition for the groom’s family to give the bride’s family a whole roasted pig as an engagement gift. 
– In Sweden a married woman may wear three rings on her ring finder, the first for engagement, the second a marriage band, and the third a ring that symbolizes motherhood. 
– In Spain it was common custom for a bride to wear a black wedding dress and veil for her ceremony. 
– In Argentina a couple may exchange their weddings rings during engagement, rather then during the wedding ceremony. 
– In India brides often opt to have hands and feet painted with henna, which is a temporary tattoo if you are not familiar with the practice.

Weddings are a showcase of tradition and custom. In the US we are familiar with wearing something “borrowed and blue,” throwing rice when the couple leaves the church, and saving a piece of wedding cake for the couple to eat on their one year anniversary. Men may ask fathers for permission, grooms are expected to abstain from viewing the bride’s wedding dress until the wedding day, and we may throw a bouquet of flowers to signify what single woman will be the next to get married. Other customs include bridal showers, the bachelorette party, the honeymoon, etc. 

Are traditions important for weddings? What traditions are important for you and what traditions seem antiquated or meaningless?

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