Destination weddings often conjure images of intimate and dreamy beach weddings with soft sandy shorelines and warm misty sea breezes in exotic locales surrounded by friends and family amidst a blissful backdrop of gentle waves rolling in as music to your ears! Or perhaps you are one who defines a destination wedding as a grand celebration and union of love in spectacular fashion in a majestic city half way across the world!

As important as the destination itself, it’s crucial to think about what kind of ceremony would this be? Are you keen on a typical traditional destination wedding as you would back home or would you like to embrace the culture, customs and traditions of the destination itself and wed the ‘Locals’ way?

Traditions unique to your destination add depth and meaning to a ceremony, charming guests with a celebration of heritage. Immersing yourself in the culture presents the opportunity to ‘spice up’ your wedding so before you hit the road, take on the high seas or jump on the plane, take a look at the cultural wedding traditions for the destination of your choice:

INDIA – Henna

These ornate temporary designs are applied to the hands and feet of the bride, as well as her female friends and family members. And they’re not just decorative: The mahogany-hued dye has been used since ancient times to increase the flow of blessings to the couple.The Mehndi design is symbolic of the future of the marriage; it is believed that the darker the color that is left on the skin, the more love that the bride will receive from her husband.

IRELAND – Handfasting

Prior to exchanging vows, using a pretty ribbon with special meaning, the officiant ties your crossed wrists together to symbolize two individuals coming together as one as part of an ancient Celtic tradition of handfasting that represents eternity. The bride will often carry a porcelain horse shoe down the aisle attached to her bouquet, which will later be hung above the front door of the newlywed’s house for good luck.

MEXICO – Wedding Lasso

In Mexican weddings, a lasso (typically made of white ribbon or orange blossoms representing fertility and happiness) is placed in a figure-eight shape around both shoulders (groom’s first and then bride) to tie you together as you exchange vows.

GREECE -Wedding Crowns

Your officiant will bestow you and your groom with stefana, two metal or floral crowns joined by a ribbon to represent unity as a symbol of God bestowing his blessing, and the eternal bond the two will share.

SCOTLAND – Shawl

After exchanging vows, the groom symbolically welcomes the bride into his family; using a silver pin, traditionally of Scottish design, he fastens a shawl representing his clan’s tartan colours around the bride’s shoulders.

JAPAN- Sake and Cranes

The number 3 is considered sacred in Japan, where couples take three sips of sake, or rice wine, from three cups. This moment symbolizes sealing the marriage and nine sips meantriple happiness.Cranes are believed to live long lives in Japanese tradition. Hence, to symbolise longevity and good fortune, a thousand paper cranes are hung around the ceremony location.

HAWAII – Leis

Exchange leis at the start of the ceremony to signify the sweetness of your love. Brides wear fragrant flowers like tuberose; whereas maile leaf is popular for grooms.

SPAIN & SOUTH AMERICA – Gold Coins

The groom gifts the bride with arras, 13 gold or silver coins that represent tenets of marriage such as trust, respect, commitment and harmony. The coins symbolize the groom’s commitment to the bride.

In Spain, a doll dressed in a replica of the bridal gown sits at the head table displaying momentos of the wedding, called capias. These pins are distributed among the guests by the bride and groom, and are inscribed with the couple’s names and wedding date.

BERMUDA -Moon Gate

Following the ceremony, walk hand in hand under one of the island’s moon gates — limestone archways with Chinese origin that serve as a national symbol. Similar to wedding rings, their circular shape signifies unity. Couples who kiss under a moon gate are said to enjoy good luck and a long life together.

ITALY – Bomboniere

Five sugared almonds — representing health, wealth, fertility, happiness and longevity are presented to guests at weddings. Regional Italian folklore dictated that couples should never marry (or leave for their honeymoon) on a Friday or Tuesday.

THE BAHAMAS – Jumping the Broom

Surrounded by a circle of friends, a marrying couple sweeps the floor to symbolize sweeping away their old lives and welcoming the new. When the floor is clean, they set down the broom, hold hands and jump over it. Create a keepsake by decorating a broom with ribbons, flowers and other small mementos with your bridesmaid.

NEW ZEALAND – Major Infinity Loops

As ancient Maori tradition, the infinity loop — usually carved from greenstone, pāua shells or bone resembles a figure eight and signifies eternity. Say your vows in a marae — a traditional outdoor sacred space — perched atop Mount Ngongotaha, with views of the city below. Or opt for Mokoia Island, where the star-crossed lovers were finally united.

BALI

A Ngerorod marriage is one where the bride is ‘kidnapped’ by her fiance or his family and friends, and must feign distress, while her father stages a doomed search party as the bride is reunited with her groom and the two are wed.

RUSSIA

Purely for the guest’s amusement, parents in Russia will steal their daughter and demand the groom pay a ransom for her return during festivities at the reception.The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is Moscow’s top destination for wedding parties, who snap photos and drink champagne while the bride and groom pay their respects by laying flowers at the grave site.

MALAYSIA

A Malay wedding is full of age-old traditions and customs, from the initial akadnikah ceremony in which a contract is signed to the end of the wedding ceremony. Newlyweds sit on a dais while family and friends approach them, gently sprinkling yellow rice and scented water on the couple. This custom signifies good blessings.

GERMANY

Following an old German wedding tradition, after the ceremony the married couple and their guests move outside where a large log is placed on a sawhorse. The bride and groom saw the log in half together, symbolizing the couple’s first tough task and their ability to accomplish it together.

CHINA

In China, tradition is an important part of wedding ceremonies. Throughout the wedding day, it is common for a bride to change three times;The first dress is worn for a special tea ceremony. The bride then changes into dress two for the actual wedding ceremony; and A third dress is then donned for the reception.

No matter what the destination, all the cultures around the world believe in a wedding to be one of the most important day in one’s lifetime.

A wedding is the union of two people in love who want to share their life together through sunshine and rain. To grow old holding arm in arm!

This blog was put together by Top Cat Catering. Your Sydney Beach Wedding Specialist If you choose Sydney as your wedding destination. With more than 30 years of experience in the wedding Industry and have catered to weddings for couples from different cultures in the world we know what it takes to host a spectacular wedding. For more information on Beach Wedding Receptions and our Waterfront Venues in Sydney, please get in touch with us to discuss further. Ciao Ciao for now.