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Wedding traditions and rituals in different cultures

It is reported that the most popular period for weddings to take place in the UK is during the summer months, with 37,000 marriages taking place in August alone. Since it is wedding season, this blog looks to explore popular wedding traditions and rituals from different cultures. Many of these traditions and rituals carry symbolic meanings and it is fascinating to see how different cultures celebrate their big day!


Jumping the broom

The jumping the broom tradition dates back to the 1700s which was first established within African culture however it is further attached to African-American traditions.

Couples participate in the act of jumping the broom to demonstrate their union by sweeping away their single life and jumping into the future in marital alliance. Many positive connotations are attached to this tradition. The wooden handle of the broom represents the strength of commitment, straws connote family and the ribbons hold the couple together.


Vermilion (sindoor)

Vermilion, also referred to as ‘sindoor,’ is a red powder that is applied along the parting of the bride’s hair. Vermilion is a symbol that is strongly associated with married women, as widows or unmarried women never apply it. This ritual has been practised for over 5000 years and there are mentions of it in ancient Hindu scriptures such as the Puranas. In today’s day and age, vermilion signifies a married woman’s desire for her husband’s long life and good fortune. Also, it is deemed as an expression of infinite love and devotion towards her husband.

Henna (mehndi)

Ever thought about getting inked for your wedding? An Indian wedding consists of the bride’s arms and hands painted with captivating and detailed designs using henna. It is said that the darker the colour of the henna, the stronger the groom’s love is for his bride.


Tie the knot (literally)

The Handfasting ceremony finds its roots in Celtic tradition and it has been a popular practice since ancient Ireland. During the ceremony, the groom and the bride make a contract of marriage by joining hands and the couple’s hands are tied together making a fisherman’s knot, usually with chords and ribbons. This symbolizes a bond that becomes stronger with hardships, rather than weaker.


Tea ceremony

You may think that enjoying a good old cuppa tea is a very British tradition however the tea ceremony is a popular Chinese wedding ritual. Tea is a huge part of Chinese culture and the tea ceremony originates back from 618-907 BC ancient China during the rule of the Tang dynasty.

Tea ceremony involves the newlyweds exhibiting their respect to the elders in the family and correspondingly the elders show their acceptance of the marriage. On the wedding day, both the bride and groom serve tea to their parents and in-laws. The tea may contain lotus seeds or red dates. Lotus seeds represent fertility and red dates connote luck.


Releasing doves

In the Philippines, there is a beautiful tradition where the couple releases a pair of doves from a cage by simply pulling on a chord together. Doves symbolize purity, peace, joy, blessings and fidelity. Furthermore, doves tend to remain committed to their partners forever which makes them the perfect representation of a lifelong bond like a marriage.


Bedeken (veiling)

Under Jewish traditions, when a couple is performing a ketubah (Jewish marriage contract), the groom approaches the bride to do a veiling ritual. In this ritual, the groom glances at her face then cover it with a veil. This is also referred to as ‘bedeken.’ The origins of this tradition stem from the Bible where Jacob was tricked into marrying the sister of the woman he dearly loved therefore to avoid this from happening to the groom, this tradition takes place. However, there are multiple connotations to this tradition. It further signifies that the groom’s love is for her inner beauty and he would protect her no matter what.


Maher (dowry)

A wedding conducted under Islamic traditions is referred to as a ‘nikkah.’ A Muslim wedding comprises a sequence of rituals, one of which involves the husband presenting dowry to his wife. This ritual is called, ‘Maher.’ The concept of providing dowry has been practised for many years in Asian culture. ‘Maher,’ symbolizes freedom and financial independence for the bride.

Joota chupai (hiding the shoes)

Younger members or relatives engage in a playful tradition called, ‘joota chupai,’ which simply means, ‘hiding the shoes.’ Female relatives from the bride’s side would steal the groom’s shoes for some ransom.  A famous slogan that has been produced over the years is, ‘If you want our sister, then pay up mister!’ Disclaimer: there is no guarantee that the groom will see his shoes again until he pays each person! This tradition is generally attached to South-Asian weddings.

Significance of culture at Event Space CEME

Understanding our client’s culture is a sign of respect and it helps us deliver private events such as weddings in their most authentic style. Some factors we consider when trying to understand different cultures are:

  •       Cultural stories: Each culture has meaningful traditions rooted in underlying themes. These themes generate cultural values which are often translated into client expectations for their wedding. Over the years, customer feedback has enabled us to not just meet client expectations, but exceed them.
  •       Communication: Understanding different cultures has helped us foster better communication methods which are important when delivering high-quality customer service.


Event Space at CEME has accommodated a number of weddings from a diverse range of cultures. We provide all in-house facilities and deliver a high-quality service. For any wedding inquiries, contact a member of the Event Space CEME staff at 02085965151 or email us at events@ceme.co.uk.

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