Romanian wedding traditions include a parade of guests in traditional costume before the wedding, the carrying of a decorated pole by the best man, the midnight bridal dance, the presentation of the wedding gifts, and the bride and groom partaking in bits of bread from an oversized loaf. The bride's hair is often braided and covered with a crown of flowers and ribbons. In Greek Orthodox weddings, metal crowns are placed upon the bride and groom's heads, and their hands are tied together with ribbon while they share wine from the same cup. Guests might throw sweets and nuts -- or in some regions, corn and water -- at the couple as they make their departure to wish them prosperity.
Russian brides have traditionally worn a headdress of pearls and flowers, rather than a veil. During the ceremony, the bride and groom stand under crowns held by attendants, and in Russian Orthodox ceremonies, after they are crowned, they race to stand on a white rug -- it is said that whoever gets there first will be the master of the household. It is also customary for the bride and groom to drink three times from the same cup of wine, symbolizing their willingness to sample the same cup of experience. Wedding guests receive gifts, ranging from sweets to bud vases, in thanks for being a part of the celebration.
Traditionally, couples are married in a civil ceremony in the presence of friends before going immediately to a Protestant church where relatives are already assembled for the religious ceremony. In Western Samoa, young men are ceremonially tattooed before they are ready to marry. If the participants are of high rank, the bride might be adorned with beads, flowers and shells, her dowry of fine mats forming a train behind her. Such a ceremony would take place in a public place surrounded by breadfruit trees, the guests sitting cross-legged in a circle, also bedecked in beads and flowers. The bride and groom's families provide the wedding feast, which is followed by dancing and speeches by "talking chiefs." Wedding gifts are exchanged between the two families when the wedding celebration is over.
In certain regions of Scandinavia, the bride-to-be gives her future husband a special shirt to be worn on their wedding day. The Scandinavian bride traditionally wears a black dress adorned with colorful ribbons and flowers, along with a myrtle wreath crown, and she never wears shoes with buckles. In some regions, the bridesmaids hold a canopy of shawls over the bride during the ceremony. Traditionally, the bride "dances off her crown" at the reception -- while blindfolded, she places her crown on the head of another young girl, said to be the next to marry. The groom is often hoisted on the shoulders of his groomsmen in another traditional dance. Among other traditions, the bride and groom must drink from the same goblet to seal their union. Traditionally, guests contribute to the wedding feast, and are given gifts in return for their generosity.
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