French And Other International Wedding Customs
What are the international customs you can expect to be a part of if you're going to a wedding in Europe? What do you need to know about European wedding cultures?
European weddings are often very elegant, smoothly-run affairs. You'll see gowns from different eras and backgrounds, depending on the country that the bride and groom call home.
The unique characteristic of a Belgian wedding is the handkerchief tradition. The family of the bride has a handkerchief made with the bride's name sewn on it. That handkerchief is taken to the wedding and afterward is displayed proudly in the family's home. When the next daughter in the family ties the knot, her name is then sewn on it, as well. It is then displayed in the home again.
An English wedding tradition is one of playing bells in the church. When the bride and groom enter the sanctuary, bells are played in hopes of fending off evil. The bells play again on the couple's exit from the church. Another English tradition is that of laying flower petals on the path of the bride and her court when they walk to the church.
People in Finland have a tradition very similar to that of the throwing of the bouquet in the United States. Finnish brides are crowned with a hand-made gold crown during the ceremony to symbolize her ‘bride" status. After the ceremony, the bride is blindfolded and spun around. She is then told to pick one of the single ladies in the group surrounding her to pass the crown on to. That girl is said to be the next woman in the group who will marry.
The French have a tradition that saves the families of the bride and groom a lot of money. Instead of the wedding family supplying the flowers for the ceremony, the guests bring all the flowers with them. Another interesting French tradition is one of drinking from the "coupe de marriage," a wedding cup. This is a silver cup that is passed down through generations of French families for their wedding days. The couple drinks from the "coupe de marriage" during the ceremony.