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With the trend of borrowing wedding traditions from other cultures increasing, we decided to share with you some weddings from around the world that include regal opulence, age old traditions and even a party atmosphere, where no one cuts a rug like the bride.
GREECE – TSOUREKI & THE DRESSING OF THE BRIDE & GROOM
First we head to southeast Europe, where the hit film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” gave us an over-the-top glimpse of what a traditional Greek wedding is like. But exaggerated or not, one thing is certain – Greek weddings are fun, fabulous and filled with family and friends.
Several rituals and traditions are shared at a Greek wedding, and one of the oldest is the dressing of the bride and groom. At his parents’ house, the groom stands in a tapsi – a large Greek baking pan – wearing only in his underwear – years ago, it would have been his birthday suit. The tapsi is filled with rice and cotton to symbolize prosperity. It’s all fun and entertainment, as his family and friends dress and sometimes shave him while teasing him about getting hitched, and sticking him with needles as they jokingly try to convince him not to go through with it. Meanwhile, at the bride’s parents’ house, the event is more sentimental. She also stands in her underwear and is dressed by female family and friends. They share tears and laughs as they exchange stories of growing up, single life and wedded bliss. After the groom is dressed comes Tsoureki, a traditional cake. The groom’s friends hold a red cloth above his head and place the cake on it. The groom sticks his hand in honey and then into the cake. He grabs a piece and takes a bite. All of his single friends have a bite also. The bride’s Tsoureki ritual usually happens a couple days before the wedding. After all, her dress is the showpiece, so we can’t have it ruined by cake and honey. Then it’s off to the church, where traditionally, the groom is kept waiting for his bride to arrive.
MOROCCO – THE HENNA CEREMONY & FARH
From Greece, we head southwest to Morocco, where the groom spends a great deal of time waiting for his bride. That’s because a traditional Moroccan wedding can last an entire week. It’s often a lavish affair filled withrituals dating back centuries. It begins at the bride’s family’s house with the Katba, the official marriage of the couple. There are several other events during the course of the week, and it all culminates with the big day orFarh, which means joy. It’s when the groom presents his bride to the public. She sits in anAmaria, and is hoisted into the air by four men. The groom walks ahead letting the hundreds of guests in attendance know that his bride has arrived.
In addition to flawless hair and makeup, and jewels fit for a queen, one of the ways the bride prepares for the Farh is the henna ceremony, which symbolizes the her rite of passage into womanhood. Henna ink is used to decorate the bride’s hands and feet. Hundreds of years ago, makeup was forbidden to unmarried women, and the henna ceremony would be the first time she is being embellished in preparation for “the big night”. The henna ceremony is usually held the day before the Farh and is attended only by the bride, her ladies in waiting, and her female friends and relatives. The bride’s husband arrives at the end of the henna ceremony to lift the veil she wore throughout the ceremony. It will be the first time he sees her as a woman.
Here’s an interesting tid-bit about Moroccan weddings, of the many traditional, brightly colored and embellished suits the bride wears during her wedding week festivities, the only time she wears white is during the Farh. Some brides may choose a traditional Moroccan white dress to enter, but it is customary for a bride to wear white when leaving the Farh. Some even opt for a traditional western wedding gown. Wearing white as the bride leaves the Farh with her husband symbolizes the virgin giving herself to her husband for the first time.
Moroccan weddings are fast becoming a global hit, and a big money maker for the country, as more non-Moroccan brides are opting for the Moroccan traditions on their big day.
BARBADOS – THE RECEPTION
While Moroccan weddings are alcohol free, a Barbadian wedding is not considered a wedding without it. From the rum punch, to the black cake, a wedding on this little island paradise – a global hotspot for destination weddings – is a “get down, kick your shoes off and dance” party – yes, even for the bride! Traditionally, brides walked down the church isle, but today, more of them are opting to tie the knot on one of the island’s pristine white sand beaches, or world-class golf courses or polo grounds. It all sounds quite posh and highbrow doesn’t it? And, they certainly can be, at least until the DJ starts to spin his tunes. Once the bride and groom’s first dance, and her traditional dance with her dad are out of the way, the real party begins, and the slow dance gives way to hip shaking, finger snapping, and even fist pumping to infectious soca and reggae island rhythms. By this time, the bride may have changed into her second dress, but it’s not at all unusual to see a Bajan bride cutting the rug in her white gown.
The menu is often an integral part of any wedding reception, and Barbados is no different. Bigger weddings tend to have more extensive menus that leave guests spoilt for choice as they are faced with an array of foods that include several Barbadian favorites – baked chicken, flying fish, rice and peas, beef stew, macaroni pie, sweet potato pie, and the list goes on. And there are no concerns about the bride feeling bloated on her wedding night, because she’s guaranteed to work up a sweat dancing into the wee hours of the morning. So while the ceremony, wedding dress, vows and exchange of the rings may all resemble the traditional American or British wedding, at the reception, you’ll be left with no doubt that you’re attending a wedding in the land where carnival is king!
Whether it’s a great big family affair steeped in Greek customs, the regal elegance, vibrant colors and rituals practiced by the Moroccans, or the laid back party atmosphere celebrated in the islands, the creative opportunities for planning your wedding are limitless. Share your hopes and dreams with your wedding planner, and continue to browse right here on World Bride Magazine for ideas that will help to bring your vision to life. And whatever global traditions, rituals, or even fashion you decide to borrow from for your wedding day,remember, it’s YOUR day, so however you plan it, be sure it you’ll enjoy it, and that it reflects who you are. And, when it comes to traditions, it may even be a great time to start some of your own.
To Learn about the editor Marsha A Branch, follower her on http://www.marshabranch.com