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Wedding Customs by Country 2024

Weddings around the world are rich with diverse customs and traditions, each with its own significance. In the United States, common traditions include the first dance, the ring ceremony, and the "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" custom. In contrast, the zaffe, a grand entrance with drumming and dancing, is central to weddings in Syria, Lebanon, and Sudan, with the Sudanese version featuring a procession of musicians and dancers escorting the bride and groom to the venue.

In Niger, the Yake tradition involves the groom's family giving gifts to the bride's family and sharing a feast, while in Palau, weddings are joyous white beach celebrations with music, dancing, feasting, and gift-giving. Greek Orthodox weddings are known for crowning the bride and groom with a stefana, two crowns joined by a ribbon. Meanwhile, Mongolian weddings showcase a hunting and archery demonstration by the groom to prove his worth.

In Puerto Rico, the Vejigante tradition involves masked dancers in colorful attire and sticks, a custom dating back to medieval Spain. Australian weddings often feature the unity candle and sand ceremony, symbolizing the merging of two lives. Barbados weddings include a Tuk band playing traditional folk music with bamboo instruments. The Chinese betrothal tradition involves the groom presenting gifts to the bride's family, with the family returning half to accept the marriage proposal.

The Italian custom of throwing rice at weddings symbolizes fertility and prosperity. German weddings may include smashing plates at the bride's home for good luck. Spanish weddings often see the bride wearing an orange bloom, representing happiness and fulfillment. In Cuba, it's customary for guests to pin money on the bride's dress in exchange for a dance. Lastly, the Mexican Lazo tradition involves a wedding lasso or rope signifying the couple's union.

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Country
Custom Name
Description
SyriaZaffeA traditional wedding march featuring drumming and dancing.
LebanonZaffeA traditional wedding march featuring drumming and dancing.
SudanZaffaA procession of musicians and dancers escort the bride and groom to the wedding venue.
NigerYakeThe groom's family presents gifts to the bride's family, followed by a feast.
PalauWhite beach weddingA romantic ceremony surrounded by the sea, the sky and the sand.
CanadaWedding showerPre-wedding party where guests give gifts to the couple.
GreeceWedding crownsCrowns worn by the bride and groom on their wedding day signify wisdom, justice, and integrity. They also represent Aphrodite, goddess of love.
IcelandWedding cakeThe wedding cake is a layered ring cake decorated with marzipan and cream.
DominicaWedding breakfastA breakfast feast for the couple and their guests.
MongoliaWedding archeryThe groom and his family must demonstrate their hunting and archery skills to prove their worth to the bride's family.
Puerto RicoVejiganteMasked dancers with colorful costumes and sticks.
AustraliaUnity candle or sand ceremonyA symbolic act of joining two lives into one by lighting a candle or pouring sand into a container.
EswatiniUmcwashoIn Eswatini, the groom is required to pay a dowry, known as "Umcwasho," to the bride's family before the wedding. The dowry includes money, livestock, and other gifts and is negotiated between the two families.
South AfricaUmaboThe couple participates in traditional ceremonies, including a gift exchange, and wear traditional attire.
BarbadosTuk bandProcession of musicians playing bamboo instruments.
TurkmenistanTraditional wedding feast and gift-givingIn Turkmenistan, weddings are celebrated with a traditional feast, which includes a variety of dishes such as pilaf, kebabs, and dumplings. The bride and groom receive gifts from their families and friends, such as clothing, jewelry, and household items. The wedding ceremony is typically held in a mosque or in the bride's home.
QatarTraditional Qatari weddingA traditional Qatari wedding typically includes a henna ceremony for the bride, followed by a reception with dancing and food.
UzbekistanTraditional matchmaking and dowry paymentIn Uzbekistan, marriages are often arranged by the families of the bride and groom. The groom's family is expected to pay a dowry to the bride's family, which can include money, clothing, and household items. The wedding ceremony is typically held in the bride's home, and is followed by a traditional feast that includes dishes such as plov and shashlik.
New ZealandTraditional Maori weddingsA ceremony that follows deeply rooted customs and ceremonies of the native Maori people.
North KoreaTraditional Korean weddingA traditional Korean wedding typically includes a ceremony where the bride and groom exchange vows and share a drink of rice wine.
JordanTraditional Jordanian weddingThe traditional Jordanian wedding involves the bride's family visiting the groom's family to ask for permission to marry her. The wedding ceremony itself involves the bride and groom exchanging vows and rings, and there is often music, dancing, and food at the reception.
IraqTraditional Iraqi weddingThe traditional Iraqi wedding includes the groom's family visiting the bride's house to ask for permission to marry her. The wedding ceremony itself involves the bride and groom exchanging vows and rings, and there is often music, dancing, and food at the reception.
YemenTraditional henna night for the bride and wedding feastIn Yemen, the bride has a henna night before the wedding, during which henna designs are applied to her hands and feet. The wedding feast typically includes dishes such as lamb, chicken, and rice, and is followed by dancing and music. In some parts of Yemen, the bride's face is covered with a veil during the wedding ceremony.
ArmeniaTraditional Armenian weddingThe wedding ceremony in Armenia includes the groom's family visiting the bride's house and asking for permission to marry her. The wedding reception typically includes lots of food, music, and dancing.
ChileTorta de NoviosThe torta is a ceremonial wedding cake.
BoliviaTinkuDance of indigenous origin with ritual fights.
Republic of the CongoThe rite of passageThe Rite of Passage is a traditional wedding custom in the Republic of the Congo where the bride is initiated into womanhood by receiving blessings and guidance from the older women in her family and community. This ceremony is considered a crucial part of the wedding.
ChinaThe betrothalThe groom presents betrothal gifts to the bride’s parents as a formal proposal and they return half of them as an acceptance.
KiribatiTevutevu ceremonyA tradition of placing mats one on top of the other to symbolize where the couple will sleep.
GeorgiaSupra and tamadaThe Supra is the traditional Georgian feast that is often held before the wedding, and the Tamada is the toastmaster who leads the drinking and toasting. The wedding ceremony itself involves the bride and groom exchanging vows and exchanging rings.
IndonesiaSiramanThe bride and groom are bathed by their parents and relatives with water mixed with flowers and herbs, to cleanse them of bad luck and prepare them for marriage.
SomaliaSheekooyinTraditional Somali poetry and stories are shared, followed by a feast.
Guinea BissauSharing of palm wineThe bride and groom share a cup of palm wine as a symbol of their union. They also pour some of the wine on the ground as an offering to their ancestors.
ColombiaSerenata de BodasWedding serenade.
EcuadorSerenataThe groom serenades the bride the night before the wedding.
TanzaniaSend-off ceremonyThe bride's family holds a ceremony to say goodbye to her, with traditional songs and dances.
JapanSan San KudoThe couple and their parents take turns to sip sake from three cups of different sizes, symbolizing unity and harmony.
Sao Tome and PrincipeRoça wedding customsThe couple is blessed by a priest in the Roça, followed by a feast.
ZimbabweRovoraThe groom's family presents gifts to the bride's family, followed by a feast.
ThailandRod Nam SangThe couple sits on a stage while guests pour water over their hands from a conch shell, while giving them blessings and advice.
ItalyRice throwingGuests throw rice over the bride and groom as they leave the church, symbolizing fertility and prosperity.
BhutanReducing ceremony and traditional ceremonyThe Reducing Ceremony involves the bride's hair being cut as a symbol of leaving her old life behind, and the Traditional Ceremony includes blessings from Buddhist monks and the exchange of traditional gifts between the families.
HaitiRaraFestive street music and dance.
Sri LankaPoruwa ceremonyA traditional ceremony where the bride and groom stand on a decorated platform and exchange vows.
TajikistanPlov (traditional rice dish)Plov is a traditional dish in Tajikistan that is typically served at weddings. It is a rice dish that is made with carrots, onions, and lamb or beef. The dish is often served with raisins, apricots, and quince.
GermanyPlate smashingThe day before the wedding, plates are smashed at the bride’s home, which brings good luck.
Timor LestePayment of bride price by the groom and his familyIn Timor-Leste, the groom and his family are expected to pay a bride price to the bride's family. The amount of the bride price varies depending on the wealth and social status of the families involved.
Central African RepublicPayment of bride priceIn the Central African Republic, the groom traditionally pays a bride price to the bride's family in exchange for her hand in marriage. The bride price may include money, livestock, and other gifts. The bride's family may also ask the groom to perform certain tasks or rituals to prove his worthiness.
NamibiaOvambo wedding customsThe bride wears a traditional outfit made of animal skin and the couple participates in a symbolic cow ceremony.
SpainOrange blossomThe bride wears orange blossom in her hair or bouquet, symbolizing happiness and fulfillment.
GrenadaOld-time weddingTraditional wedding ceremony featuring the Quadrille dance.
ChadNo Bride' Wedding CelebrationThe close relatives celebrate the groom by lifting him off the horse and tossing him into the air three times, in front of the entrance of his future home. He then sits in front of his hut and accepts congratulations and gifts. Horse races are a part of every wedding.
ComorosNdzumgsiA traditional wedding custom in Comoros where the groom and his family must prepare a "bride price" to offer to the bride's family. This is a negotiation process that can last several months and involves the exchange of gifts and money between the two families.
MyanmarNa Tin NyoThe groom and his family must present gifts to the bride's family, which may include betel leaves, fruit, and traditional clothing.
Burkina FasoMossiIn Burkina Faso, during the traditional engagement ceremony, brides from the Mossi (or Moagha) ethnic group are given a drink by their younger cousins.
PhilippinesMoney danceThe guests pin money bills on the bride’s gown or the groom’s suit while dancing with them, to help them start their married life.
CubaMoney danceGuests pin money on the bride's dress in exchange for a dance.
BelizeMoney danceGuests pay to dance with the bride and groom.
IndiaMehndi ceremonyThe bride and her female relatives have their hands and feet decorated with henna designs by a professional mehndi artist.
AfghanistanMehndi ceremonyMehndi is a traditional pre-wedding ceremony where the bride has henna applied to her hands and feet, and the guests often participate in dancing and singing.
PakistanMehndiA pre-wedding ceremony where the bride has henna applied to her hands and feet.
EstoniaLog sawingThe bride and groom have to saw a log in half together, symbolizing teamwork and cooperation.
MozambiqueLoboloThe groom's family pays a dowry to the bride's family, followed by a celebration.
BotswanaLobolaLobola is a traditional Botswanan wedding custom where the groom pays a bride price to the bride's family in exchange for her hand in marriage. The bride price may include cattle, money, and other gifts. The bride's family may also ask the groom to perform certain tasks or rituals to prove his worthiness.
Trinidad and TobagoLimboA dance where participants bend backwards and pass under a stick.
GambiaLibation ceremonyThe groom's family performs a libation ceremony to ask for blessings from their ancestors. A bowl of water, kola nuts, and a bottle of gin or wine are used to perform the ceremony.
MexicoLazoA wedding lasso or rope used to symbolize the union of the couple.
GuatemalaLas Madrinas y PadrinosGodmothers and godfathers who assist the couple during the wedding.
Marshall IslandsLand tenure and propertyA system of inheritance and ownership of land and property based on family ties and clan membership.
Saint LuciaLa WozA traditional dance performed at weddings.
ArgentinaLa Vibora de la MarThe Sea Snake dance.
FranceLa NoceThe guests follow the newlyweds to different locations on their wedding day while making noise as a form of celebration.
El SalvadorLa Marcha NupcialWedding march.
Costa RicaLa Marcha NupcialThe bride and groom walk down the aisle to the sounds of the wedding march.
VenezuelaLa Hora LocaLate-night party with masks, noisemakers, and other festive props.
HondurasLa Hora LocaThe Crazy Hour - a lively celebration with masks and props.
PanamaLa Hora LocaThe Crazy Hour - a lively celebration with masks and props.
Equatorial GuineaLa GuineaIn Equatorial Guinea, the groom is required to pay a dowry to the bride's family before the wedding. The dowry, known as "La Guinea," includes money, gifts, and livestock. The amount of the dowry is usually negotiated between the two families.
DR CongoLa DotIn the Democratic Republic of Congo, the groom is required to pay a dowry to the bride's family before the wedding ceremony. This dowry, known as "La Dot," includes money, gifts, and household items such as furniture, appliances, and livestock.
Ivory CoastLa dotIn Cote d'Ivoire, the groom is expected to pay a dowry to the bride's family, which includes money, gifts, and livestock. The amount of the dowry is usually negotiated between the two families and can take several months to finalize.
UgandaKwanjulaThe groom's family visits the bride's family to ask for her hand in marriage, followed by traditional ceremonies.
DjiboutiKulam-weddingA traditional wedding custom in Djibouti where the groom and his family must pay a "bride price" to the bride's family. The bride price includes livestock, money, and other gifts, and is negotiated between the two families.
AngolaKuculaKucula is a traditional Angolan wedding custom where the groom visits the bride's family to ask for her hand in marriage. He brings gifts such as cloth, salt, and sugar to show his commitment to the marriage. The bride's family may ask the groom to perform certain tasks or rituals to prove his worthiness.
MalawiKucotsaThe groom and his family go to the bride's home to ask for her hand in marriage.
SeychellesKreol wedding customsTraditional Seychellois music and dance is featured, with the bride and groom exchanging gifts.
TogoKpessossoThe couple exchanges gifts and are blessed by their parents, followed by a feast.
SurinameKoto dressThe bride wears a traditional African dress called a koto.
DenmarkKissing gameThe guests can kiss the bride or groom when their spouse leaves the room.
KyrgyzstanKidnap and rescueThe groom must negotiate with the bride's family for her release after she is "kidnapped" by his friends.
EthiopiaKidameKidame is a traditional wedding custom in Ethiopia where the groom and his family must pay a dowry to the bride's family. The dowry can be in the form of livestock, money, and other gifts, and is usually negotiated between the two families.
SenegalKhoyThe couple participates in a traditional ceremony where they exchange gifts and are blessed by elders.
GhanaKente clothThe bride and groom wear a brightly colored, hand-woven cloth called kente, which is traditionally made of silk or cotton. The patterns on the cloth are symbolic and represent different virtues such as love, loyalty, and prosperity.
FijiKava ceremonyA ritual of sharing a root-based drink that signifies respect and commitment.
EgyptKatb El-KitabKatb El-Kitab is a traditional Islamic wedding custom in Egypt where the couple signs a marriage contract in the presence of a sheikh or imam. The contract outlines the rights and obligations of the bride and groom and serves as a legal document.
NepalKanyadaanThe father of the bride gives her away to the groom during the wedding ceremony.
BahamasJunkanooStreet parade with music, dance, and costumes.
LiberiaJumping the broomThe couple jumps over a broom as a symbol of their union. This tradition is said to have originated during the time of slavery in the United States and was adopted by Liberians during their struggle for independence.
GuyanaJumping the broomCouple jumps over a broomstick to symbolize sweeping away the old and welcoming the new.
Antigua and BarbudaJumping the broomAfrican American tradition where the couple jumps over a broom.
JamaicaJonkunnuParade with music and dancing.
NigeriaIgbo traditional weddingThe groom and his family visit the bride's family to ask for her hand in marriage, followed by traditional wedding ceremonies.
United Arab EmiratesHenna night for the bride and traditional dance performancesIn the UAE, it is common for the bride to have a henna night before the wedding, during which intricate henna designs are applied to her hands and feet. Traditional dance performances, such as the Al Ayala and the Al Razfa, are often performed at weddings. These dances involve drumming and chanting, and are intended to celebrate the wedding and to bring good luck to the newlyweds.
TurkeyHenna nightThe night before the wedding, the bride’s hands and feet are decorated with henna patterns, symbolizing beauty and fertility.
AlgeriaHenna nightHenna night is a pre-wedding ceremony where the bride and her female friends and relatives gather to have their hands and feet decorated with henna. It is often accompanied by music and dancing.
MoroccoHenna nightThe bride's hands and feet are decorated with intricate henna designs.
TunisiaHenna nightThe bride's hands and feet are decorated with intricate henna designs.
LibyaHenna ceremonyThe bride and her female relatives have a henna ceremony before the wedding. The bride's hands and feet are decorated with intricate henna designs.
RwandaGusabaThe groom's family presents gifts to the bride's family, followed by a feast.
BurundiGusabaThe “bride price” is the first traditional event of the whole marriage ceremony in which bride is introduced to the groom's family by giving them cows as bride price which depicts the sign of prosperity of the brides's family. This act/event, is called “Gusaba".
TaiwanGuo Da LiA traditional pre-wedding ceremony where the groom's family presents gifts to the bride's family.
AlbaniaGun fireGuns are fired when the bride arrives at the groom’s house and sometimes at other points during the ceremony, symbolizing joy and celebration.
CameroonGroom's family pays bride priceIn Cameroon, the groom's family traditionally pays a bride price to the bride's family in exchange for her hand in marriage. The bride price may include money, livestock, and other gifts. The bride's family may also ask the groom to perform certain tasks or rituals to prove his worthiness.
LesothoGift givingThe groom's family presents gifts to the bride's family, including livestock and clothing. The bride's family returns the gifts with a smaller amount of money added.
EritreaGezaneGezane is a traditional wedding custom in Eritrea where the groom must bring gifts and food to the bride's family. The groom is also required to pay a dowry, which can be in the form of livestock or money, and is negotiated between the two families.
BangladeshGaye Holud and Mehndi CeremonyThe Gaye Holud ceremony involves the bride and groom being covered in turmeric paste to ward off evil spirits. The Mehndi ceremony is similar to the one in India, with the bride having henna applied to her hands and feet.
SingaporeGate-crashingThe groom and his groomsmen have to pass a series of challenges set by the bridesmaids before they can enter the bride’s house, to prove his love and sincerity.
MauritaniaFatnayaThe groom's family presents gifts to the bride's family, followed by a feast.
MadagascarFamadihanaThe couple participates in a traditional ceremony called famadihana, in which the bones of their ancestors are exhumed and wrapped in new cloth. The couple then dance with the wrapped bones as a way of honoring their ancestors. This ceremony is only performed every few years.
American SamoaFa'ataupatiA traditional Samoan dance performed by men.
CambodiaEngagement ceremony and wedding ceremonyThe Engagement Ceremony involves the groom's family visiting the bride's house and exchanging gifts. The Wedding Ceremony includes a procession and traditional blessings.
UruguayEl TocadoThe bride wears a crown of flowers and ribbons in her hair.
South SudanDinkaThe bride wears a traditional beaded headdress and the couple exchanges gifts.
MaldivesDhandhaanu NeshunTraditional Maldivian music and dance performed during weddings.
BrazilDança dos NoivosThe Bride and Groom's Dance.
LatviaCrowningThe bride and groom wear crowns made of flowers, leaves, or wheat, symbolizing fertility and prosperity.
MicronesiaConstructed kin relationsA practice of adopting children from relatives or friends to strengthen social bonds
Papua New GuineaCommercial transactionA negotiation of the bride price in pigs, shells and cash between the groom’s and bride’s families.
SwedenCoin exchangeThe bride and groom exchange coins before the wedding ceremony, symbolizing their shared responsibility for their finances.
IrelandCladdagh ringThe bride and groom exchange rings with a heart, a crown, and two hands, symbolizing love, loyalty, and friendship.
IsraelChuppah and hora danceThe Chuppah is the Jewish wedding canopy under which the bride and groom stand during the ceremony. The Hora Dance is a traditional Israeli dance that often takes place at the reception.
ZambiaChilanga MuliloThe couple participates in a ceremony where they are blessed by elders and exchange gifts.
AzerbaijanCandle lightingThe bride’s family lights candles in their windows to announce their daughter’s availability for marriage.
ParaguayCandle ceremonyBride and groom each hold a lit candle, which they use to light a larger candle, symbolizing their union.
Saint Kitts and NevisCake pullCharms are attached to ribbons and pulled out by bridesmaids.
GuineaBride priceThe groom pays a bride price to the bride's family, usually in the form of money or livestock. The amount of the bride price is negotiated between the two families.
GabonBride priceThe groom and his family are required to pay a "bride price" to the Gambia Libation Ceremony The groom's family performs a libation ceremony to ask for blessings from their ancestors.
KazakhstanBride kidnappingThe groom’s friends kidnap the bride before or during the wedding and demand a ransom from the groom to return her.
RomaniaBride kidnappingThe groom’s friends kidnap the bride before or during the wedding and demand a ransom from the groom to return her.
AustriaBride kidnappingThe groom’s friends kidnap the bride before or during the wedding and take her to a pub or a friend’s house, where they drink until the groom finds them.
FinlandBridal saunaThe bridesmaids take the bride to a decorated sauna on the night before the wedding.
NorwayBridal crownThe bride wears a silver or gold crown with small charms that make a tinkling sound to ward off evil spirits.
BelgiumBridal bouquetThe bride gives her bouquet to a friend who is not married yet, hoping that she will be the next one to get married.
BulgariaBread breakingThe bride and groom break a loaf of bread over their heads, and whoever gets the bigger piece will be the head of the household.
AndorraBread and wineThe bride and groom share bread and wine at the end of the ceremony, symbolizing their union and mutual support.
RussiaBread and saltThe parents of the bride and groom greet them with bread and salt at the reception, symbolizing prosperity and hospitality.
PolandBread and saltThe parents of the bride and groom greet them with bread and salt at the reception, symbolizing prosperity and hospitality.
Sierra LeoneBondo societyThe bride is initiated into the women's society, followed by a feast.
PortugalBolo de noivaThe wedding cake is a fruit cake with nuts and dried fruits, symbolizing abundance and fertility.
MaliBogolanfiniThe couple and their families wear traditional outfits made from handwoven cloth.
KenyaBlessing from eldersThe bride and groom receive a blessing from their parents and other elders in the community. They also exchange rings and light a unity candle.
MauritiusBhojpuri wedding customsHindu wedding customs are followed, with traditional songs and dances.
BruneiBersanding ceremonyThe Bersanding Ceremony is the wedding reception in Brunei, where the bride and groom sit on a dais and receive guests. There is often a lot of food and music at the reception.
MalaysiaBersandingThe couple sits on a throne-like platform while guests sprinkle them with yellow rice and scented water, to wish them prosperity and happiness.
NicaraguaBaile de la ViboraA snake dance.
LaosBaci ceremonyA traditional ceremony to call the spirits of the bride and groom back to their bodies and to bring them good luck.
PeruArrasThirteen coins are presented to the bride by the groom, symbolizing his commitment to support her.
Dominican RepublicArrasThirteen gold coins given by the groom to the bride as a symbol of his commitment and ability to provide for her.
Saudi ArabiaArdaTraditional wedding march featuring drumming and sword dancing.
CroatiaApple throwingThe groom throws an apple over the roof of his house, and if it doesn’t break, it means a happy marriage.
VietnamAn HoiThe groom’s family visits the bride’s family with gifts of betel nuts, fruits, cakes, and a roasted pig, to ask for their permission to marry their daughter.
KuwaitAl-ZaffaTraditional wedding march, featuring drumming and dancing.
OmanAl AziTraditional wedding march featuring drumming and dancing.
BahrainAl AghdAl Aghd is the traditional wedding ceremony in Bahrain, which includes the signing of the marriage contract and the exchange of gifts between the families of the bride and groom.
IranAghdAghd is the traditional Persian wedding ceremony, which includes the signing of the marriage contract and the exchange of rings. There is often music, dancing, and a large feast at the reception.
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Which country has the best wedding traditions?

China is thought to have the most beautiful weddings complete with an elaborate wedding ceremony. India also has some of the most intricate, largest, and colorful weddings.

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