These are unprecedented and uncertain times and many people planning their wedding will have been forced to shelve their dream wedding for the time being. We can only imagine what a nightmare it must be to have had everything planned down to the smallest detail (not to mention paid for) only to have to cancel. Our health and wellbeing must come first, of course, but the disappointment remains palpable. Of course we will get through this, eventually, and then our dreams will come back into focus as priorities once more.
With that in mind, rather than focusing on specific details and concrete plans, we thought we’d have a bit of fun highlighting some of the unfamiliar and wonderful wedding traditions from around the world.
Over here in Britain and indeed the rest of the western world, we could be forgiven for believing that, with a small degree of difference, a wedding is a wedding is a wedding.
But the global reality of the wedding experience reveals a wealth of different traditions and customs that are as colourful as some wedding outfits!
For instance, in China, among the Tujia – China’s largest ethnic minority of some 8 million people – brides must undertake an hour of crying each day for a whole month before their actual wedding date. Staggered across this month, the mother and then grandmother get to join in, in what is considered a joyful expression, showcasing the distinctive tonalities of a woman’s crying. Say what you want, but I think I’d take a month of crying over hen nights and the obligatory inflatable penises that regularly accompany them in Soho, London on a Friday night.
In South Korea, after the wedding ceremony, the poor old groom has to endure having his feet beaten with a dried fish to test his endurance. “Friends” of the groom will remove his socks and shoes then tie his ankles together and beat his soles with a dried corvina! The idea is it will prepare him for the rigours of marriage and family life! At least he is somewhat numbed to this as during the ceremony, after the vows, both bride and groom get to sip wine from a gourd, given by the bride’s mother.
The colour and vibrancy, not to mention the incredibly lavish banquets of Indian weddings, which themselves take days and nights to prepare has to be seen to be believed and in Pakistan a wedding takes place not over the course of a day, or even two, but rather, it is made up of over a week’s worth of distinct celebrations!
All of this may make the traditional white wedding of the west seem a little tame, but there is one thread that ties all weddings together and that is that they are long, they are tiring and at any given moment you’ll want to kick off your shoes.
In India in fact, it is customary to change your outfit numerous times throughout the day, which given the heat, feasting and dancing, may be more out of necessity than fashion!
Anyway, no matter the tradition, the central theme that unites all weddings is the celebration of love and as such it is an excuse to get dressed up, but a degree of comfort is absolutely necessary.
For the men, a smart suit that will look equally good with and without jacket is recommended and with the stunning array of men’s wedding suits on the market, this shouldn’t present a problem.
For the women, carrying a pair of foldable shoes in your handbag could just be a lifesaver and enable you to go onto the dancefloor footloose and fancy (and blister) free! This is especially true for the bride, bridesmaids, mother of the bride and groom, who have so many responsibilities and will possibly already be a little exhausted, but also for the guests. Easily fitting into a small to medium handbag, in their own little case, foldable ballerinas are an absolute must for long wedding days and nights.