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Traditions

The Czech Republic

Besides throwing peas instead of rice at the married couple as they leave the ceremony location, the Czech Republic is home to a number of other wedding traditions. For example, couples have to wait until the day after their wedding to receive their gifts. On this day, the bride goes for the first time to the home she will share with her husband. All of their guests gather at the house and give money (or sometimes practical gifts) to the couple, then they celebrate the couple's happy future with a mug of beer.

Denmark

At some point during the marriage celebration the groom will disappear and the male guests all kiss the new bride. After the groom returns his bride eventually leaves the room and all of the female guests kiss him. At a traditional Danish reception the guests will all gather around the groom, during the dancing and festivities, to cut his tie and socks with scissors, and then bride's veil ends up in pieces in similar fashion. This kind of behaviour will absolutely not be allowed on Joakim's and Jelena's wedding.

England

On the wedding day the bride must wear:

and a sixpence in her shoe.

and a sixpence in her shoe is for luck!

It is a tradition that the father of the bride gives her away at the wedding ceremony to her new husband. This goes back to the days when women were classed as "objects" to be exchanged between the men!

Estonia

At most wedding receptions throughout the word, there is usually a traditional wedding custom to determine the next bride. In Estonia, instead, there is an wedding custom to predict the next groom, as well. After the newlywed bride tosses her wedding bouquet to the single women, the groom is surrounded and blindfolded by the single men. They spin him around and then the groom puts his top hat on the bachelor next to marry.

Finland

a traditional bride-to-be walks door-to-door with a pillowcase, to receive her wedding presents. An older, married man walks with her, holding an umbrella or parasol to cover her. This pre-wedding tradition a symbol of protection and shelter for the new bride.

On her wedding day, a Finnish bride might wear a traditional golden crown with her wedding gown. After wedding vows have been exchanged, and the celebration has begun at the wedding reception, all of the women blindfold the new bride and dance around her. She places her crown on the head of the girl next to marry in much the way beauty queens pass their crowns following their year of reign.

The last dance at a Finish wedding reception is called the weaning-waltz. The women start the waltz with the bride and the men with the groom, children included. Each person dances only for a moment with the bride and with the groom. The dance's origin was a test to see how quickly the bride and groom will 'forget' each other.

Germany

The couples usually have both a civil and a religious ceremony. After the civil ceremony, their friends often concoct unusual tasks for them to complete as a team to test their ability and desire to work together as a team on the challenges they face in life. Also, the day before the wedding, the couple experience Polterabend. Guests come to their home (or to the bride's home) and break pottery because this is supposed to bring the couple good luck.

Holland

Prior to the start of the ceremony, the bride and groom are seated under a green bough or evergreen. Each of their wedding guests comes up to them and offers their good wishes for the couple's future. After the wedding, the families of the couple will plant a tree outside their new home as a symbol of fertility.

India

As in China, Indian brides often wear red dresses (saris) made of silk to their ceremonies. During the actual ceremony, the couple must circle around a small fire, which represents one of the Hindu gods, seven times while also throwing food offerings, such as rice, into the fire. At the end of the ceremony, the bride's closest male relative showers the couple with petals, usually from jasmine or roses, to protect them from harm.

Malta

There it is tradition that the bride and groom give their guests a present as a momento of their wedding day. Not related directly to the wedding but to what may come later - Maltese and Sicilian women share certain traditions that are believed to predict the sex of an unborn child, checking the movement of a wedding ring, dangled on a string above the abdomen (sideways denoting a girl, back and forth denoting a boy).

The Philippines

A rope is wrapped around the couple, usually around their shoulders, by their godparents. This is supposed to represent the bonds of their marriage. At the beginning of the ceremony, the groom is given 13 coins, known as arras, which he hands to the bride to signify his willingness to provide for her financially. Also, the entire bridal party traditionally wears the same color dresses so evil spirits won't be able to find the bride among them.

Romania

There was a habit by which decorated plates were set facing the road in the window of a home with a marriageable girl. Once the girl was engaged, such plates were turned to the inside of the house.

The groom's shirt must be sewn and embroidered by the future bride. It was later used as material for the diaper and shirt of the baby.

In some parts of Romania, the bridegroom must pass a test of cleverness. He must solve a series of riddles in order to prove that he is able to be part of the married community.

In Romania, people speak of "wedding parties" instead of just "weddings", The wedding ceremony itself is not the focus of the festivities; it can be a small, understated event leading up to the wedding party, sometimes up to three days of celebration.

Serbia

The formal engagement happened at the girl's home, where presents were exchanged and plans made for the wedding. Traditionally the groom would pay for the wedding, including the bride's dress and shoes, and for the party.

Just some 60-70 years ago, it was hard for girls with no "miraz" to get married. Miraz was what a bride, as a part of her inheritance, got from her parents when she would marry. It could be money, land, houses, expensive furniture etc.

Earlier it was believed that the bride should not wear pearls, since they would bring tears into her future marriage. A bride touching the ground was dangerous, since someone might have put an evil spell somewhere so she would step on it. Therefore the bride rode the horse or travelled in a carriage from her to the groom's house.

The bride was not supposed to touch the threshold of the groom's house, any bridge or any other river crossing, since those were the places where the evil spirits were lurking upon her. One custom that still remains was that the bride should wear a veil on her wedding day, that would ward her from the evil eyes.

The couples that wished for male offspring, were not supposed to get married in the days which names are feminine in gender (Serbian nouns have three genders - masculine, feminine and neuter; and those days would be: "sreda" - Wednesday, "subota" - Saturday and "nedelja" - Sunday), otherwise their first born child would be a girl.

On the wedding day, an apple on a stick is placed up high in a tree and the groom has to come and shoot the apple down with a gun. This is to gain the rights to see the girl. If the groom misses the apple, then he's not going to get married. Once the apple had been shot down, a small party was held and the bride would get ready to go to the church or registry office, accompanied by the local brass band. The bride's brother or a close relative would take the bride into the church. The godparents (kum, kuma) have special significance at the wedding, and their role is similar to the one of the best man and the bridesmaid.

The wedding party was traditionally held at the groom's place. The bridesmaids were handing out sprigs of rosemary, flowers, flags or ribbons to the guests. In return, the guests would put flowers and money in a tray. Food provided at the wedding would have depended on the wealth of the family. There may have been a pig or calf roasted on a spit outside. There would be pitta (cheese pies), and generally all the best food that can be prepared. Sljivovica (plum brandy) was served, but no special wedding cake.

Sweden

Soon after Easter, the height of the Swedish wedding season begins. The period around Midsummer is the most popular period for weddings in Sweden. Before their daughter leaves for the church to be married, her mother gives her a gold coin to go in her right shoe, and her father hands her a silver coin to be placed in her left shoe. This way they know she will never be without money.

When the flowers are mature, a woman can pick a bouquet of seven or nine different varieties from an equal number of meadows. If the woman places the bouquet under her pillow, she will dream of the one she is destined to marry. And when the flowers are being selected for the bride's wedding day, she may want to use lavender, thyme, or other piquant herbs. The strong aromas were used to ward off evil spirits. The groom's attire is also important. Sewed into the groom's clothing were pomanders of strong-smelling herbs to offset any lingering negative influences. In a Swedish engagement the couple exchange rings similar to other cultures. At the wedding ceremony, only the groom offers the bride a second ring leaving the bride with two rings and the groom with only one.

According to the very old customs - when a man and a wife were married and have laid a night together, the man becomes his wife's real representative and he shall both sue and stand trial for his wife. After the first night as a married couple, the husband gave "a morning gift" to his wife. Earlier that was a certain sum of money, dictated by the law and social status of the husband. The tax on it was paid directly to the kin. Today usually some jewelry is given to the bride as a morning gift. The king gets nothing even if the jewelry is excessively expensive (though he did ask for a raise recently due to his childrens increased expenses)