Cultural Traditions: Spain

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Photo Credits:
Ceremony Decor: Laurie Bailey Photography
Budget-friendly Ideas: Lisa Lefkowitz Photography
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Aisles: KCK Photography

Cultural Traditions: Spain


Spanish brides often wear orange blossoms in their hair, although the custom varies from region to region. In Castille, a bride wears white flowers in her bosom, and in Andalusia, a wreath of pink and red roses is worn on her head. The groom gives his bride 13 coins, the monedas or arras, symbolizing his ability to care for her, which she might carry during the ceremony in a special purse. The sequidillas manchegas is the traditional dance, and each guest who dances with the bride presents her with a gift of money. When the bride and groom make their getaway, it is usually to an arbor of flowers on a terrace or rooftop.


Swedish brides and their attendants used to carry bouquets of pungent herbs or weeds to ward off trolls that supposedly brought bad luck to newlyweds; this tradition has transformed into the lovely bouquets that brides throughout the world now carry. Other traditions include: the bride placing a silver coin from her father in her left shoe, and a gold coin from her mother in her right so that she will never do without; her shoes are left unfastened in hopes of an easy childbirth; and she wears three wedding bands -- one for engagement, one for marriage, and the third for motherhood. The bride and groom, as well as their guests, often wear the traditional costume of their province.


Switzerland is half Roman Catholic and half Protestant. In villages like Lucerne, the groom once proposed by planting pine trees decorated with ribbons in his intended's yard. These days a tree is planted at the couple's new home. In some regions, a gelbe frau, or godmother, is designated to distribute red handkerchiefs to each guest, who then donate coins for the couple in return. A bride wears a wreath on her head (thought to symbolize her virginity). During the wedding dance, bride and groom set it on fire and it is considered a good omen if it burns quickly (the couple may even poke it with sticks to help it burn faster). When the couple reaches their new home, an older woman may throw three handfuls of wheat over the bride (for fertility) and the husband carries his bride over the threshold (lest her feet touch the ground and evil spirits harm her).


Before most marriages take place in Taiwan, the horoscopes of the bride and groom are analyzed, and if all is well, the families exchange gifts. The groom traditionally gives the bride 12 gifts, including items such as shoes, jewelry and pagoda shaped candies. Upon receipt of the gifts at the bridal home, the groom's letter of betrothal is read aloud. The bride's family then sends the groom 12 gifts, usually including goldfish and chopsticks. These gifts were symbolic in that their names sounded much like the words for "plenty" and "fast boy," signifying the family's hope for abundance and the wish for a male offspring.

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