11 of the world's weirdest wedding traditions

By Kara Byers November 23, 2016

Ever wondered what the world's most bizzare wedding customs are? Here are 11 of the most zany 

From stolen shoes in India, to buried bourbon in the American South, to silly socks in Canada, these are our 11 favourite (and unusual) wedding traditions from around the world.

1. Germany: baumstamm sägen (sawing the log)

After the ceremony, the bride and groom have to use a two-person crosscut handsaw to cut a large log in half – while still in their bridal clothes. This symbolises the ways in which they must work together in the future (although, to make it a bit quicker, the log has sometimes already been partially sawn through by the fathers of the bride and groom).

2. The southern USA: burying the bourbon

In some of America's southern states the bride and groom bury a (full) bottle of bourbon upside-down at or near the site where they’ll say their vows. This must be done one month before the wedding in order to ward off rain on the wedding day and, whether the weather plays along or not, the bourbon will be dug up, shared, and enjoyed during the reception.

3. Canada: silly sock dance

In Quebec and other French-speaking parts of Canada, the older, unmarried siblings of the bride and groom perform a dance at the reception while wearing ridiculous, brightly-coloured, knitted socks. Guests can show their approval of the dancing display by tossing money at the siblings, which is then (generously) donated to the bride and groom.

4. Guatemala: breaking the bell

After the wedding, everyone typically goes to the groom’s house. Hanging over the doorway is a white ceramic bell filled with rice, flour, and other different types of grain – all of which represent abundance. As the couple arrives, the mother of the groom welcomes them and ceremonially smashes the bell, bringing the couple good luck and prosperity.

5. Scotland: the blackening of the bride

A few days before the wedding, there is the blackening of the bride, where the bride (and sometimes the groom) are captured by friends and family, covered in filthy things like beer, treacle, spoiled fish, feathers, and flour, then paraded through the streets for all to see. The plan is that, if they can get through this trial, marital strife will be a breeze.

6. France: le Pot de Chambre (yes, the chamber pot)

As the wedding reception draws to a close, French newlyweds are presented with a real chamber pot, filled with the leftover bits of alcohol from the wedding (and sometimes extra delights like melted chocolate, banana, or even toilet paper). The couple must consume it all before leaving, so as to build up strength before the er, taxing wedding night ahead.

7. India: joota chupai (hiding the shoes)

When the groom takes off his shoes on the way to the mandap (altar), the bride’s family promptly try to steal them and hide them. The groom’s family must try and protect the shoes at all costs – and so the battle of the families begins. If the bride’s family gets away with the shoes, the groom must pay to ransom them back.

8. Spain: cortar la corbata del novio (cut the groom’s tie)

After the wedding, usually during the reception, the groom will be surrounded by his groomsmen and closest friends, who will cut the tie from around his neck. The tie will then be cut into small pieces and auctioned off to the wedding guests, bringing good luck to everyone who manages to get a piece.

9. Czech Republic: soup from a single spoon

The first course of a Czech wedding meal is soup. The bride and groom are wrapped together in a towel or sheet and then must eat their soup from one bowl, with one spoon between them – sometimes with their hands tied together too. This symbolises the way in which they will have to work together in the future.

10. Mexico: el Lazo (the lasso)

After a Mexican couple has pledged their vows, their family and best friends lasso them together with a special rope. This rope can often be very elaborate, made of crystals or beads and is tied in a figure-eight shape to symbolise the couple’s lasting unity. This has some similarities to a Celtic hand-fasting (thought to be the origin of the phrase "tie the knot").

11. Russia: vykup nevesty (buying out the bride)

When a Russian groom comes to pick up his bride, the bridesmaids will meet him at the door with a list of challenges he must pass before he can proceed. He might have to sing songs, recite poems or pay a ransom. Often, his first ransom offer will buy him an alternate bride (usually a male friend in a dress and veil) before he offers more and finally gets his love.

Thanks to Elite Singles for the intel

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