Well, after the last post you didn’t think that all the weddings were the same, did you?
Here are just a few of the things I’ve noticed are not regularly done outside of America, as well as some fun ideas I’ve spotted at Swiss weddings that I haven’t seen back home.
(YMMV: This is not the final word on what you can and cannot do at a wedding anywhere in the world, just my personal experience.)
Things that might not happen at a wedding abroad:
Getting ready pictures:
Apparently this is sort of an American thing. Maybe parts of Canada too, but my friend from Montreal said this was very, very strange and she thought it was “very American” of me to want to get dressed in front of my photographer, so maybe only parts of Canada take preparation photos? Canadians, want to straighten this one out? (If only so I can say “I told you so!” to my friend.)
(Photo by Timwill Photography)
I originally thought that all kinds of couples would want pictures of themselves getting ready on the big day because these are some of my favourite photos when I look at wedding albums. Our Brazilian family did have some pictures of the girls getting their hair and makeup done, but now that I think back…there were no pictures of the bride putting her dress or jewelry on.
I’ve even photographed a couple Swiss weddings now, and there are no questions about if and when preparation photos would happen. They are happy to simply show up to the church 100% ready to get married.
Is it really such an American thing to take photos of the mother of the bride zipping up the wedding dress? I’m still not convinced…but firmly believe that anyone who skips these photos is missing out on some precious memories to look back on later. These are some of the last moments you are single!
Signing the wedding documents at the church:
As lots of you may know after reading my story, many countries outside the US require a separate legal ceremony from the religious ceremony. Depending on the country regulations, you can still combine the two events on one day, but if you have a church wedding there is little chance that your priest will be handing out those legal papers.
You won’t see brides and grooms signing their legal documents in the church like Mrs. Plumeria did:
Bouquet tosses and garter tosses:
At this point, I still have not seen anyone in Brazil or Switzerland do a bouquet toss. This tradition doesn’t seem to hold any importance here. In fact, when I told Mr. Funnel Cake about what a garter toss was, he was horrified. To him, my garter (if I would have one) was “just for him”!
(Photo by Timwill Photography)
When I mentioned the bouquet toss to friends in Switzerland, some of them thought it was a little weird that I would throw my pretty bouquet all around. They thought the idea of having a special, smaller bouquet just for the toss was even weirder.
Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all.
But Americans are not the only ones doing “strange” things at weddings. There are definitely a few things I’ve noticed that I have never seen at an American wedding.
Now, there is a first dance…and there is “the umbrella dance.”. I know y’all are now humming the umbrella song in your head.
This is how it works: sometime during the reception, a white umbrella is usually passed around and signed with well wishes by the guests. The white umbrella is then given to the couple for their first dance.
The music starts playing and guests are given streamers and confetti to hurl at the newlyweds. The “well wishes” written on the umbrella are supposed to protect the couple from the confetti raining down on them.
As they continue to dance, lights are dimmed and candles and sometimes sparklers are waved at the couple. Now, maybe you are thinking this screams “fire hazard,” but it honestly makes for some pretty amazing photos! I haven’t seen any couples catch on fire yet…
I really wasn’t expecting this game at a wedding, but I believe the couple was thinking about having kids fairly soon after marrying so the parents thought it would be fun.
How it works: Both the bride and the groom were given baby dolls to undress, bathe, and redress. Everyone laughed when the groom stuck the baby in the basin and the baby doll started “drowning.”
Women obviously excel at this sort of thing. I’m not sure many people would want to do it at their wedding in the States, but I think it would be a cute game for a baby shower. Baby showers aren’t common in Switzerland, so maybe that’s another reason the game was played at the wedding.
But I’m pretty positive that Mr. Funnel Cake would have freaked the freak out if we played this game at our wedding because we are soooo not ready for babies anytime soon. Don’t surprise your spouse with this game!
OK, it seems like I’ve been to at least three weddings now where the Swiss family transforms into a rock band and they all have the ability to play instruments, write songs about the couple, and sing them to all the wedding guests.
Are all Swiss this musically talented?? I think it’s incredible.
I’m not saying they are all the next American Idol, but it’s pretty impressive (and touching) that the families use their talents to write songs about the newlyweds. I’m a tad jealous.
Feature films and skits:
In line with the music, I’ve been to a couple weddings now where both friends and family of the newlyweds have made fairly lengthy films about the couple. This includes planning a movie, meeting up for filming in different locations, and someone cutting the film together.
Again, I’m impressed by the dedication and thoughtfulness of the guests and kinda jealous that no one made films for us. How can one not be jealous of something like personalised films and songs made by people who love you?? It’s such an outpouring of love!
We’ve even been to weddings with street-dancing performances, a ventriloquist, comedy sketches, ballet dancing, audiences-turned-choirs, and guests parachuting to the wedding. The Swiss may not marry as young or often as Americans, but when they do they pull out all the stops!
Have you seen some really cool or funny traditions at weddings?
*All pictures personal unless noted*