European wedding traditions (or wait, they do what?)

I work in quite an international setting, so comparing different wedding traditions is a common conversation topic during lunchtime. A colleague of mine just got married back home in Greece, so lately I have been hearing about European wedding traditions, most of which I never even knew existed.

Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Tatiana Blatnik

Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Tatiana Blatnik

Money, shattered china and salt

You might have heard about the Greek tradition to pin money on the bride’s dress (instead of giving wedding gifts), but did you know that Greek soon-to-be-wed couples also organise something called Krevati (Greek for bed), a celebration before the nuptials where guests are invited to put money and young children (!) on the couple’s bed to bring prosperity and fertility in their upcoming marriage? And speaking of fertility… in some Finnish weddings a china plate is said to determine the number of children of the couple.  During the first dance a plate is placed on the bride’s head and when it eventually falls and breaks, each piece symbolises a future child of the newlyweds.

According to Spanish tradition, it is the duty of the padrino (roughly equivalent to the best man) to choose and buy the wedding bouquet, as well as present it to the bride together with a handwritten poem. While modern Spanish brides tend to want to select the style of their own bouquet (can you imagine Penelope Cruz leaving this to someone else?), the padrino usually carries out the task of delivering the bouquet and the poem to this day.

In Poland, the married couple is given bread and salt by their parents during the reception. Symbolizing prosperity and life’s hardships, the gesture represents the wish that the young couple never go hungry and learns how to deal with every day difficulties together.

Bread and salt, a Polish tradition

This is just one lunch hour’s worth of wedding customs, so surely there must be other, equally lovely traditions out there. I can’t wait for my Italian best friend to get married, not only for the food (imagine the food!), but also for the opportunity to dive into the local wedding culture. I wonder if it will be as crazy as I picture it.

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