Wedding Traditions Around the World

Looking to tie the knot? From a sand unity ceremony to jumping the broom, find inspiration for your memorable day with these wedding traditions from around the world.

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Greek Wedding Money Dance

Do the money dance! Right before a couple leaves the reception, a money dance is typically done at a Greek wedding. Guests lavish the couple with paper money, a little nest egg for them to start their new lives together. The Greek tradition is also popular in countries like Poland, Mexico and Nigeria.

Galičnik Wedding Festival (Macedonia)

Every year in Macedonia, one lucky couple is tapped by festival organizers to get married in a traditional "Galička"-style wedding. Held in the western Macedonian village of Galičnik, the custom unfolds with the bride riding a horse to church. The procession is led by a flag bearer, also on horseback. 

Vegas Drive-Thru Wedding

A quickie Vegas wedding is a time-honored tradition. And the place to go is the Little White Chapel on the Strip. Open 24/7, the chapel has married off an estimated 800,000 couples since 1951. Former Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines got hitched here. So did Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Hindu Wedding Fire Ceremony

In a Hindu wedding ceremony, the bride and groom sit before a fire that symbolizes light, power and knowledge. Both bride and groom also walk around the fire 4 times, marking the 4 stages of life in the Hindu tradition: studentship, householder, retirement and self-realization.

Collective Weddings

The more the merrier at a collective wedding ceremony. Mass weddings, in which hundreds, sometimes thousands, of couples gather to tie the knot, are performed in countries such as China, Afghanistan, Japan, Iran, Jordan, South Korea and Yemen. One thing’s for sure: It cuts down on wedding costs.

Jewish Wedding: Breaking the Glass

Mazel tov! But festivities don’t kick off at a Jewish wedding until one solemn act is completed: At the end of the ceremony, the groom breaks a glass, crushing it with his right foot. The act recalls the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago.  

Unity Sand Ceremony

The unity sand ceremony has its origins in Native American tradition. The bride and groom take turns pouring layers of colored sand into a container; the layers of colors fold to become a beautiful tapestry. Yet symbolically, the colors remain intact, showing that each party retains their individual identities. 

Ugandan-Inspired Wedding

Dancers are the highlight of this Ugandan-inspired wedding. The colors of the dancers' costumes represent Uganda’s black, yellow and red flag. The performance itself is the traditional royal dance of the Buganda Kingdom, located in the southern part of this East African country.

Tea at Chinese Wedding

Tea is served. At a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, the bride and groom kneel in front of their parents and serve tea. The gesture notes the couple’s gratitude; the parents, in turn, usually drink a small bit of tea and give the couple a red envelope, which symbolizes good luck.

Minsk Bride Parade

Lots of happy brides grace this annual parade in Minsk, Belarus. Chosen from nearly 1,000 applicants, the dozens of brides featured in this parade hail from the Eastern European capital. The purpose of the parade, say organizers, is to promote beauty, love and womanhood.  

Korovai Bread at Russian Wedding

A loaf of bread graces a traditional Russian wedding. The bread, known as korovai, is traditionally baked from wheat flour and adorned with symbolic flags and figurines, such as suns, moons and birds. The bread is also a common sight at Ukrainian and Belarussian wedding ceremonies.

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