Your mother always told you to be careful who you marry. But you need to watch out where you marry too, unless you want to spend your wedding day trying to get your shoes back. Here are five intriguing wedding customs from around the world.
Exactly what it sounds like, bride-napping is a globally popular wedding custom that involves the abduction of the bride. In western Wales, the bride’s family kidnap her just before the ceremony. It’s then up to the groom and his family to rescue her back. There’s an added incentive: superstition decrees that any singleton who finds her will be married before the year is up.
In Romanian bride-nappings, the newly married woman is abducted from the wedding. The groom can’t ‘reclaim’ her until he negotiates and pays a ransom of alcohol, or something a little gentler, like a public declaration of love.
Shoe stealing, India
A different sort of thievery is customary at Indian weddings. The target? The groom’s shoes. In a caper known as Joota Chupai, the bride’s friends and family will try their hardest to steal his shoes. This effort takes place when he removes them for the ceremony. Meanwhile, the groom’s family will try to get them back in time for the end. The better they hide the shoes, the more cash bribes the groom has to pay to get them back.
Sole beating, South Korea
Once a South Korean wedding ceremony is over, the groom can look forward to a relaxing spot of… foot beating! His socks and shoes are removed, and his ankles are tied. Then his friends and family take turns to interrogate him and beat the soles of his feet, often with a dried fish. This painful wedding customs tradition doesn’t last long, and it’s done in good humour. It’s also meant to toughen him up and ready him for married life!
Quick kissing, Sweden
Newlyweds in Sweden need eyes in the back of their heads. A wedding tradition there means that their beloved is still, very occasionally, available. If the groom leaves the room during the celebration for any reason, the other men at the wedding are free to kiss the bride. This isn’t a one-way street. The same goes for the bride, who might come back to find her female friends giving her new husband a peck.
Log labouring, Germany
German couples are handed a long, two-handled saw at their wedding. This is to symbolise the hard work and teamwork required for a strong marriage. They’re then expected to do some manual labour on their wedding day. Known as Baumstamm Sägen, this tradition requires the couple to saw through a log, marking their first obstacle in their new life together. Meanwhile, their friends and family cheer them on.