Reception Traditions from Around the World

  • Outdoor Wedding Reception

    In the United States we have lots of fun and beautiful reception traditions, but some of those don’t hold a candle to the many unique and amazing traditions celebrated in countries all around the world. Want to learn about some of these awesome traditions? Click through our slideshow!

  • Guatemala

    Guatemala

    In Guatemala, couples traditionally have a white ceramic bell filled with different grains (a bit like a pinata in that way) set up and ready for the groom’s mother to break as soon as the couple arrives at the reception! This custom is meant to bring positivity and prosperity to the bride and groom!

  • Norway

    Norway

    When it comes to epic reception traditions, Norway might take the cake, literally. In this country it is traditional to serve large, tower-like cakes made of almond cake and icing at wedding receptions. The coolest part of these cakes, which are called kransekake, is that they are made hollow and a wine bottle is placed inside so that it appears to the couple as everyone begins to eat their dessert! We’re not sure how hard this would be to make, but it’s a brilliant idea!

  • Russia

    Russia

    Speaking of traditions that involve food, the karavay bread tradition from Russia is a particularly interesting one. karavay is a sweetbread that can be decorated differently depending on the event (weddings, birthdays, and even funerals occasionally). For weddings, it has two entwined rings that stand for faithfulness and a wreath for prosperity. The fun part about this tradition, though, is what the couple does with the karavay! It is served (usually by their parents) and both members of the brand-new couple try to take the biggest bite they can without using their hands at all. Whoever ends up taking the larger bite is now considered the “head” of the family. Talk about a high stakes dessert!

  • Niger

    Niger

    In Niger, the wedding reception includes a unique kind of dancing: camel dancing! During the reception, it is traditional for there to be a section involving a camel dance outside of the bridal area (yes, with a live camel!) in the desert to the sounds of drums beating.

  • Philippines

    Philippines

    A super sweet reception tradition that we’ve seen in American ceremonies and receptions is the Filipino tradition of releasing two doves (generally one female and one male) into the air as a symbol for their upcoming marriage to be full of harmony and peace.

  • Cuba

    Cuba

    Another tradition that we’ve personally seen done in the United States, is the Cuban tradition of the money dance! Although in American we’ve seen it with buckets or small bags, in Cuba is is traditional that anyone who wants to dance with the bride must pin money directly onto her dress first! This is meant to help the sweethearts pay for the wedding celebration itself and their honeymoon as well!

  • Venezuela

    Venezuela

    Introverts of the world, listen up! This sounds like a super fun, hilarious game, but it is actually a traditional Venezuelan wedding reception tradition: the couple tries to sneak away from the reception before it’s over without getting busted by any of their guests! It’s considered good luck for the newlyweds to sneak out without getting caught—what’s more, it’s considered good luck for the first guest that figures out that they’re gone, too!

  • Germany

    Germany

    Right after the ceremony, couples in Germany are immediately given a sizeable log and handsaw, and are expected to work together to saw through the log in front of all of the wedding guests. This activity, called baumstamm sägen, is meant to showcase the couple’s ability for strong teamwork and to work together to solve problems—apparently indicative of how they will face obstacles like chores in their married life!

  • Romania

    Romania

    Although not strictly a Romanian tradition, a very popular one in this country is the act of “bride-napping” where friends and wedding attendants figure out a way to stage a faux abduction of the bride, sometimes before the wedding happens, sometimes at the reception. The group then demands the groom pay a “ransom” in order to get his bride back, often a small sum of money, some bottle of alcohol, or, for the romantic types, a public declaration of love for his bride. This tradition is all in good fun, of course, and no brides are harmed in the “bride-napping” process.

  • Sweden

    Sweden

    It’s tradition in Sweden that, if a member of the couple gets up and leaves the table, everyone is allowed to steal a kiss from whoever remains! So if a groom gets up to go to the restroom or get some more cake, folks will line up for a chance to kiss the bride! (Usually on the cheek, to be fair, but either way it’s all in good fun!)

  • Grooms Enjoying Reception

    As you can see, there are many interesting and fun wedding reception traditions that take place around the world—and this is just a very small sampling! If you’re ever invited to a wedding in another country, you should absolutely attend if you can, you may end up learning all about some incredible traditions you’ve never heard of before!

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