March 27, 2013

Unique Wedding Traditions • Sonoma County Weddings

Interested in reviving an old tradition and adding something different to your wedding experience?  Perhaps you or your family are deeply connected to your culture or maybe you’d like to reconnect with your family’s heritage.  Incorporating a small but rich cultural wedding tradition into your special day is a wonderful way to do this.  Here are just a couple of fun and meaningful traditions that are worth considering:

The Germans are known for their fun and light traditions.  However, there is one that has a more sentimental side.  The German Swivel Cup (aka the Nuernberg wedding cup) is based on a centuries-old legend of a father’s disapproval of his daughter’s choice for a husband.  The noble mistress desperately loved an ordinary goldsmith, a man the father believed was not good enough for his daughter.  After failed attempts to diminish his daughter’s love for the goldsmith, the father made a proposition to the man.   He challenged her beloved to create a chalice that both bride and groom could drink from at the same time without spilling a drop.  If successful, the goldsmith could make the young lady his bride.  Well, you can guess the outcome.  Symbolize your love and faithfulness as you attempt to drink simultaneously from this special cup!  In doing so, you will honor the memory of the famed noble mistress and her humble but determined fiancée.

If you are French and appreciate lavish things, there is a beautiful tradition that is just right for you!  This French custom also goes back centuries and has bride and groom exchanging vows on velvet chairs under a fabric canopy called a “care” which is typically made of French silk.  In keeping with true tradition, the couple may choose special individuals to hold the canopy over their heads while they exchange vows and receive their special blessing.

The traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony can be compared to the exchanging of vows in a Western wedding, its meaning is so rich.  Symbolizing a bride’s introduction to the groom’s family, it traditionally takes place during the wedding ceremony itself which was customarily held in the groom’s house.  There are many layers to the ceremony but the pinnacle moment is when the couple kneels in front of the groom’s parents and the tea is served first by the bride to the groom’s father and next by the groom to his mother.  Other family members are then served beginning with the bride’s parents.  The special tea is made of lotus seeds and two red dates representing fertility.  Though modern adaptations of this special ritual are commonly replacing the ancient ways, certain elements remain and its significance stands for many traditional families.  If Chinese culture has meaning for you, I recommend learning more about this important and beautiful custom.

The Italians have wedding traditions galore!  I chose to mention just two that I think are sweet and remind me of some of those romantic foreign movies I’ve seen!  One charming little tradition is for the couple to walk to the chapel together.  Of course this works better if you live in a small village and your home and chapel are actually within walking distance, but you could easily adapt the custom with a little creativity!  Traditionally, the couple’s family and friends will have left obstacles for bride and groom to confront.  The walk itself and ways bride and groom handle the obstacles symbolize the journey of marriage and how they will face its challenges. A more simple and common Italian wedding tradition is the tying of a white ribbon across or above the church entrance signifying the union that is taking place inside.  In some cases, the couple themselves ties the ribbon, thereby symbolizing “tying the knot.”  I could really go on and on about the Italians; they know how to do a wedding!

Whether you are deeply connected to your roots, looking to reconnect with your culture or simply want to add a different flavor to your wedding, the traditions of different cultures and the stories behind them are a wonderful way to do this.  (Photo credit: Pinterest)

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