When I first started dating my Swiss-Brazilian man I was pretty unfamiliar with any of the customs in Switzerland or Brazil, let alone what goes on at weddings.
I am still constantly learning more about the two cultures, but now that we’ve been together for four years, I’ve had the privilege and honour to attend several weddings between the two countries. Particularly, as the number of Swiss weddings increases, I feel like I can draw some expected and some surprising similarities to American weddings, aside from the whole “getting married” aspect of weddings.
If you thought that only American families made PowerPoint slideshows to display the entire life in photos of their son or daughter at their wedding, you were wrong. People ALL over the world do this.
What parent wouldn’t love the opportunity to get all those baby photos out again? Well, admittedly…Mama and Papa Funnel Cake are not into slideshows, but Papi Funnel Cake totally prepared a 30-minute movie about Mr. Funnel Cake for our wedding.
The idea of a slideshow mortified Mr. Funnel Cake, so he was very glad when we decided it was too expensive and the slideshow wouldn’t show up well at the brightly lit conservatory. Besides, wouldn’t it have been a bit odd to have a slideshow about the groom only?
When we went to our first wedding together in Brazil, I remember being surprised that Brazilians also do slideshows, but I was delighted to spot pictures of little Mr. FC as a boy in Brazil. I’m not sure why I thought people outside of America would skip this!
I used to actually be confused by the shoe game played at American weddings and always wondered why on earth brides and grooms were holding each other’s footwear up in the air in wedding photos. My family and friends never had anyone play this game, so I was totally unaware about the rules of the game until we went to a Swiss wedding where I saw how the game worked.
Now I’ve seen it at a couple Swiss weddings, and I think it’s safe to say that this is not just an “American thing.” We didn’t play any games like this at our wedding, but I do usually like seeing and hearing the response from the crowd as the bride and groom answer with their designated props. Always good for a laugh!
There are different ways to approach the first dance, but couples worldwide take joy in grabbing their partner’s hand and dancing together for the first time as a wedded pair.
Sometimes they also take dance lessons and put on a good show for the wedding guests. One couple even did an impressive salsa number. Everyone wants to have a memorable first dance!
Turns out that even with all the music out there, DJs outside the US still wind up playing “YMCA,”, “Macarena,” and even “The Chicken Dance” at weddings. I am honestly just waiting to hear “The Electric Slide” by now. Below you can see guests having a great time doing the chicken dance!
But Mr. Funnel Cake is happy that none of these songs were played at our wedding. They are not really our personal taste, but I’ve heard them at a lot of family weddings in the States, and I was so surprised they play them at weddings all over the world.
Yes, cake exists outside of America as well as the revered cake-cutting photos. I am not the only gal in the world who was excited to make that first cut with her husband!
Mr. FC’s Brazilian cousins had a really cute custom cake topper, while some Swiss cakes had traditional bride and groom cake toppers or sometimes no topper at all. Other brides with bakery skills crafted their own delicate sugar flowers to top their cakes. Everyone chose something that reflected their own personalities, which is exactly what I would expect at a wedding back home too!
I hope no part of you was doubting that people all over the world love to put on a smashing party. In fact, if anything I personally feel like the Brazilian party put all the American wedding parties I’ve been to to shame. In my family, at least, we dance a bit, eat some food, and then we all go home. The Brazilians were dancing into the night, while I was calling a cab to my hotel after midnight to crash in bed.
Even the Swiss seem to have loooong weddings with the celebrations lasting from midday until dawn. I can barely keep up. As the photographer at a recent wedding, I was dying by 1:30 AM when we finally left the still ongoing party! As a wedding guest, I’ve arrived home at 3 AM after being one of the first guests to leave. When the Swiss start partying, they don’t want to stop!
So there you have it. People all over the world can have completely different languages and cultures, but the weddings can be essentially the same.
Of course I think it would be a lot different to attend a wedding in a Middle Eastern, African, or Asian culture compared to these relatively homogenous Christian shindigs. But until I wind up at wedding like that, you’ll just have to content yourselves reading about Mrs. Genie’s Bengali adventure.
Are you ever surprised how similar people across the world are when they celebrate?
*All pictures personal unless noted*