It finally happened: the day you’d waited your entire life for. Your wedding came and went in a cloud of magical bliss, and after the long months of planning, budgeting, saving, spending, and carefully inviting, you’re finally back from your honeymoon and ready to open those presents that will make all of the hard, expensive work leading up to the day worth it.
The goal is, of course, to find yourself surrounded by gifts that can make your life a bit easier and provide plenty of use, which also remind you of all of the loved ones that you so meticulously plucked out of your family and friend circles to share your special day with you.
After all the money that was thrown at the wedding, which covered the cost of many free dishes and drinks that those trusted invitees enjoyed, it only seems fair that you’d get a bit back in the form of gifts to take off the financial pain.
Alas, there is almost always one or two people who showed up empty-handed. And it usually isn’t until gift wrappings are being torn open and thank-you cards are being written that you realize it’s happened.
Now, the crucial thing to remember is this: although gifts are a tasteful and considerate custom, they are not obligatory. From your perspective, they could have gotten you a gift but chose not to – that can feel offensive, and it’s easy to get stuck there. But chances are, they’re feeling extra terrible – maybe too terrible to talk to you about it, even if that’s the right thing to do.
Try to give them the benefit of the doubt and think of what could have caused this in their circumstances. Not everyone is in the same financial standing to pay for the gifts on your registry, which can be a very awkward and private thing to bring up. But not being able to afford a gift shouldn’t stop someone from coming to enjoy the special day of two people they love.
Of course, the respectful thing to do here is have the conversation with the bride and groom letting them know about their circumstances ahead of time, as uncomfortable as it might get. But a lot of people just don’t have the social wherewithal to bring it up and face the disappointment. And now that you find yourself in the same situation, and instigating this conversation with them feels just about impossible, you can probably understand how they felt better than ever.
So…what does it mean in the end, and what can be done about it? Here’s the process that we think will ultimately have the best outcome.
1. Give it a month.
Just in case they wrangle out the strength to fill you in on their side of the story – or, the gift you thought they skipped suddenly turns up somewhere else – you don’t want to jump the gun and write them off.
2. Send them a thank-you note for their attendance.
Let them know that you appreciated them being there; if a gift somehow got misplaced, they’ll be sure to inquire about whether you received and/or liked it. If they don’t, you can safely assume that there isn’t one coming (although it still could in the future, as technically it’s appropriate to get a gift up to a year after a wedding). They probably hoped that in all of the heyday, their gift-less appearance would go unnoticed among all of the other gifts…but this will gently let them know.
3. Forgive and forget.
Okay, so the forgetting part is easier said than done. But the forgiveness is a must. If you love and cherish someone in your life, a wedding gift shouldn’t be what stops them from being there. Focus on all the other things they have to offer and ways in which they make your life better. You won’t forget that this happened, and maybe it will shift your expectations of them in future situations. But if you can’t forgive them for this, your friendship won’t stand a chance.
Trust us, you’re better off with the elephant in the room than putting their holdup and your hurt feelings on the table.
Wedding Dresses Around The World That Have Withstood The Test Of Time
When a Ghanaian man proposes to a woman, they don’t exactly have privacy. The traditional way to propose is to visit her house – with his entire family in tow. He better hope she says yes…otherwise it could get embarrassing. Ghanaian couples usually match their ceremonial attire to each other. The outfits will be made of kente, a type of cloth handwoven in Ghana, and it’s custom for them to feature bright, colorful patterns and intricate geometric designs. These unique outfits should emphasize the couple’s unique love.
Hungary: Matyo People
The Matyo people are a subgroup of Hungarians who have inhabited Hungary’s northern regions for many centuries, retaining their culture amid many surrounding political and cultural shifts. In Eastern Europe, a proverb is often heard that goes, “You’re no Matyó embroidery!” This developed in admiration of their intricate and flawless embroidery of the Matyo. The dress features many florals, as flowers are representative of fertility. Wheat is woven into the headdress to symbolize this too, as well as prosperity and fortune for the new family.
In India, bridal gowns are no joke. Layered and layered with symbolism, the dress will have sixteen embellishments in total – all considered crucial to ensure a happy marriage. The wedding dress, or sari, is usually red to represent the rising sun. In addition to everything the bride is already wearing when she arrives, one more feature will be added later in the ceremony: the jaimala, in which the couple place flower garlands on each other in a promise of love.
Scandinavia: Sami People
Although Scandinavia is divided into different countries today, its different regions share plenty of history and customs. But one of the longest surviving cultures there is called Sami. The Sami people are indigenous to the far north of Scandinavia, stretching across parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula. Reindeer are native to this region, which the Sami are famous for herding. Their traditional clothing communicates many things about the person wearing them, such as their marital status.
In Morocco, the wedding ceremony can last for up to a week and includes many parties. Fist, the bride and groom have separate parties to celebrate with their own families. Then, they come together for the legal procedure and a joint celebration, which symbolizes their marriage and the marriage of their two families together. The bride wears a dress called a takchita, and the groom and his family carries the bride on a 4-legged amariyah to demonstrate his ability to support her.
In South Korea, the traditional wedding outfits of both the husband and wife are called a hanbok. The bride’s hanbok includes a short jacket with long sleeves, called a chima-jeogori, and a wrapped skirt. The groom’s hanbok is composed of a short jacket, called a durumagi, and lose-fitting pants, called baji. Ancient tradition insists that the groom carry his wife around a sacred table on his back – an act that demonstrates a sense of reliability to the bride.
Eritrean weddings last for an entire week! First, the families exchange gifts to each other. The next day will be full of song and dance, celebrating the match. Then the two families share a large feast, to symbolize long health. Following the feast, two traditional songs are mandatory to sing: the Awelo, naming and honoring each member of the family, and the Masse, honoring the women who prepared traditional food for the feast. The bride and groom have their outfits matching colors as a symbol of their bond.
A traditional Japanese ceremony has many stages. It begins with a dinner for the two families to exchange gifts; each family has prepared part of the wedding dress for the other family. The husband’s family will give the bride a wedding sash to wear over a white kimono, called an obi. The bride’s family will give the groom a type of pleated trouser, called a hakama, and a jacket, called a haori, which he will wear on top of his usually black kimono.
Wait…you haven’t heard of Gora? Don’t panic. It’s a region, not a country. But its bridal dresses will surprise you. Gora sits between Kosovo and Albania, and has long been inhabited by the nomadic Gorani people: ethnically Slavic, religiously Muslim, but retaining some traditions and customs from ancient pagan beliefs in the area. Their weddings are a three-day affair, carrying the bride on a white horse covered with a custom scarf and decorated umbrella to the husband’s neighbor’s house, who hosts the wedding.
In Mongolia, two people who want to get married have to make a trip together to the groom’s house to ask for permission. If they agree, they will also then be in charge of preparing the wedding. Brides and grooms in traditional Mongolian weddings wear patterned clothes called a “deel.” Though deels refer to Mongolian clothing in general and include a lot of everyday wear, custom deel garbs have been made for centuries that are typically reserved for weddings and holidays.
Traditional Portuguese weddings are layered with old pagan styles and somewhat more recent Catholic values. The brides traditionally wear a full-length tunic, covering them from head to toe and adorned with lots and lots of jewelry. This jewelry has influence from a few different cultures – beads from the time of the Moors, crosses to honor the Catholic church, and gold in homage to the prosperity of the long line of Portuguese royals. In the past, these precious decorations would also serve as a dowry to the groom’s family.
Nigeria is a big country with around 250 ethnic groups of many religions and ethnic backgrounds, meaning that wedding ceremonies can be quite different from region to region. But one thing that is true of almost all these areas is that Nigerian brides will wear brightly colored wedding clothes, along with a unique head tie called a Gele in most parts of the country. As is the case in many African cultures, brides and grooms in Nigeria usually match the colors of their wedding outfits.
On the island of Sri Lanka, east meets west in a way that is especially easy to see at a traditional wedding. Their heavily embroidered silk saris are shared culturally with nearby India and beyond, while their long lace veils show an influence from Europe. Along with the sari and veil, the bride will wear a headpiece called a nalapata Grooms will wear a 4-cornered hat, a velvet jacket, and a long white waistcloth called a mul anduma.
“An nglacfaidh tú liom mar chéile?” That’s Scottish Gaelic for, Will you marry me? If you’ve seen or heard of Scottish men in skirts, it’s not quite what it sounds like. Wait-wrapped clothes in Scotland, called kilts, bore the colors and emblems of the clan they were born into. On their wedding day, men in Scotland traditionally wear the kilt of their clan. After the ceremony, the groom’s family gives the bride a shawl in the colors of their clan to signify her transition into his family.
Much like the architecture in the region, most Indonesian weddings across many regional subcultures feature a lot of gold, featured especially on headdresses and jewelry from head to toe which results in the bride and groom sparkling literally all over their bodies. It’s easy to see from its architecture that Indonesian empires had their fair share of glory and richness in the region, with many gold-adorned monuments. By wearing gold, the bride and groom as honor Indonesia’s past as well as its kings and queens.
Color is the name of the game at a Peruvian wedding. Women wear bright handwoven skirts, called polleras, and men wear headdresses. The bride and groom will both also wear a cloak, or poncho. These decorations and styles are reminiscent of the powerful Incan empire that once inhabited the region and beyond, with their capital Macchu Picchu in the mountains of Peru. Peruvians even decorate their cakes in the same colors as their dress – as well as hiding a ring inside on a ribbon.
At traditional Chinese weddings, brides and grooms often opt for red outfits, as the color is culturally recognized as lucky. It keeps away evil spirits, as well as representing love and prosperity. Like in many other cultures, they are dressed by their respective families. The groom will then go to the bride’s family house, but he will first be blocked by her chosen bridesmaids. Once she gives him permission to pass, the families join each other for a tea ceremony.
In Sardinia, the dresses can be very elaborate, with ornate details that display influence from all around the Mediterranean from Northern Africa to Greece and northern Europe, including jeweled stitching, a velvet jacket, and a long veil. Unique to this island, there is even a special wedding pasta that you’ve probably heard of. Ziti has long been a local wedding tradition, with hollowed centers that can hold all kinds of pasta toppings. This was designed to fill up the bellies of famously large Italian families, who will all be celebrating, of course.
In Iraq, a wedding proposal is accepted with rose water, cordial, and sweet Arabic coffee. Iraqi weddings are quite a long and epic affair: the engagement is known to take up to years even, and once the actual ceremony takes place, it takes 7 days. Just before the wedding week, the bride will receive gifts from both families including many dresses of many colors. Then, on each of the seven days, she will wear a different color for each of the seven colors of the rainbow.
Traditional Polish weddings are not hard to find today. Bridal outfits include a special veil/cap (welon) that has its own ceremony (oczepiny) during the wedding. The groom puts on a flower matching the bride’s bouquet. During the ceremony, brides will move their dresses to cover their husband’s shoe – believing that this will give her a position of dominance in the relationship. Polish also believe that a bride can die of unhappiness, and the flower crown is created for her in the days before her wedding to manifest a happy, fertile marriage.
Caucus Mountains, Georgia
In the Caucus mountains of Georgia, wedding customs have stayed the same for many centuries. Many of their traditions reflect the warring nature of these mountains, where various groups of people have had to fight constantly for their survival. The bride is carried under a four-post canopy to symbolize her protection, while the groom wears a sheath in his belt. Towards the end of the ceremony, the bride will be kidnapped by her family, in order to make the groom prove he’s capable of rescuing her.
Like many other Polynesian islands and cultures, Tongan weddings are strongly symbolic of the environment around them. As can be seen from the hand-made attire from Tiare ‘O Patitifa, women wear a colorful wrap that covers their bodies only from the torso to the knees, while the men’s wraps will cover everything from the waist down. The priest who marries them wears a feathered headdress to symbolize the divine right given to him by higher powers, and the couple go to sea in a canoe to symbolize the isolation of their love from the world around them.
At Greek weddings, ancient pagan traditions are combined with those of the Greek Orthodox church. Older tradition demands that the bride’s family places a lump of sugar in her glove to ensure a sweet life, and a gold coin to the inside of her shoe to bring good fortune. The groom puts a piece of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits throughout the day. A priest places crowns joined by a ribbon (called stefana) on the couple’s heads, representing their new unity.
Ukraine: Hutsul People
Near the border of Ukraine and Romania live the Hutsul people, who are most likely descended from the old Rus tribe and still practice many of their customs. At their weddings, they ride to church on horseback, and celebrate for two or three days in a large wedding tent. Their dresses are made by the delicate handwork of women in both families. Like certain other cultures, they strictly invite an odd number of people, believing odd numbers to be luckier because they can’t be divided!
Traditional Kazakh weddings involve the bride wearing a headdress called a “Saukele.” This tall, conical hat is trimmed with fur and is the most expensive article of any wedding ceremony. For wealthier women, the upper part of the hat is often decorated with semi-precious stone, blue velvet fabric, or gold thread. However, less prosperous women tend to make their “Saukele” from cheaper materials such as satin and will often use less precious beads made from glass to decorate the headgear.
Weddings in Oas are an important event in the Northwest part of Transylvania. The wedding is organized by the parents as well as the bride and groom-to-be and various different rituals are involved including the preparation of the dowry, the costumes, and choosing the godparents. The ‘fotă’ is the traditional wedding skirt that is generally made from cotton or wool and the maramă’ is the unique headwear that must be worn by the woman during the wedding procession. She is usually also adorned with a variety of colorful beads.
The Yakan are an ethnolinguistic group that mostly inhabit the island of Basilan in the Philippines. Traditional weddings usually consist of two ceremonies – an Islamic one, and an older, pre-Islamic ritual. The weddings are arranged by the parents and both the bride and groom wear face paint for the ceremony. However, non-Islamic families tend to follow a more traditional Catholic wedding style. This also includes a veil for the bride and a rope in an ‘8’ shape (representing infinity) which both bride and groom wear around their heads.
Russia has over 185 different ethnic groups, and many of these have their own separate wedding traditions. However, many Russian weddings last for at least two days and some go on for as long as a week. However, the most predominant form of wedding tradition around Russia is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church. These weddings look much like regular Western weddings do, except for the fact that the bride and groom wear a crown after saying their vows. This can last for up to a week!
In Turkmenistan, the traditional wedding ceremony sees the bride dressed up in a red dress made from homemade silk studded with silver or gilded pendants. Over the course of the day, the bride is expected to be quiet and not talk to her groom. She is also expected to wear a red cloth around her mouth as a symbol of her piety. The bride is not meant to make eye contact with people and should keep her eyes on the ground.
In a Maasai wedding, the bride is required to wear a bold and colorful necklace made of beads and shells. On the night of the wedding, a party called the “kupamba” takes place. During this party, the bride is allowed to take off her veil and show her hairstyle and jewels. The woman’s head is also shaved before the wedding ceremony which is meant to symbolize her new life in the wedding. The woman is expected to arrive at the wedding with all of her personal belongings.
In Germany, traditional bridal headdresses vary from region to region. In the Black Forest valley, the headdress is large and decorated with hundreds of beads and glass balls, while in Buckenburg the emphasis is more on flowers than beads. However, the majority of traditional weddings are centered around the traditions that take place during and before the wedding. This includes a night for breaking porcelain as it’s thought to be a symbol of good luck. Brides also tend to wear very minimalist white dresses with short trains.
In a traditional Yemenite Jewish wedding, the bride wears traditional jewelry and an elaborate headdress decorated with flowers and jewels. These are believed to ward off evil. Gold threads are also woven into the fabric of her clothes and wedding celebrations traditionally last five to seven days. Traditionally speaking, a bride is also expected to decorate her hands with henna, much like Hindu brides. The bride is also generally confined to her parents home during the preparation for the wedding.
In the remote southwestern town of Ribnovo, the practice of “gelena” involves covering the bride’s face with paint and colorful sequins. In a private rite open only to female in-laws, her face is covered in thick, chalky white paint and decorated with colorful sequins. The girl and her husband-to-be will then lead a traditional horo dance on the central square, joined by most of the village’s youth. A long, red veil covers her hair, her head is framed with tinsel, her painted face veiled with silvery filaments.
In traditional Vietnamese weddings, brides wear extravagant dresses, translucent cloaks, and a headpiece called a khăn vấn. The clothes are heavily embroidered and beaded with symbols that have historically represented the emperor, such as phoenixes, dragons,and other imagery from nature. Early on in the ceremony, the bride wears no jewelry, and is bestowed with some later on. The family and friends of the groom go to his future bride’s home with an odd number of gifts, which represents luck for the marriage.
In the remote island culture of the Tonga, engagement takes a somewhat unusual first step: friendship. Before any official dating can happen, the groom-to-be has to convince his bride-to-be that she wants to accept his hand in friendship – called fai kaume. Once he’s convinced her, he then has to convince her parents he’s worthy of engagement by going to her house and asking their permission to see her every time – called faitohi. If everything is a go and they become engaged, there will be an important celebration before the wedding called a fakalelea.
Khakassia is a remote area in Russia, which shares many wedding and other traditions with Siberia. Because their weather is so hard, their clothes are designed to be as warm as they are beautiful. This is especially important since traditional weddings take place outside, specifically in the bride’s yard. Bride, groom, and their respective friends and families will all be bundled up with fur coats – though the bride’s will naturally be the most beautiful.
At Uzbekistani weddings, the wedding follows a ceremony of engagement, called a Fatikha-Tui. It’s performed with the permission of parents of a bride and groom. If the bride’s parents agree, they break bread together in a tradition called sindirish, which signifies that the girl is engaged. The groom’s family proceeds to pay for the entire wedding. On the day of the wedding, the men first party in the morning by blowing two-meter-long horns and doing dances on stilts. In the afternoon, the groom and his male party heads for the bride’s home with song and dance, getting smeared with flower when they arrive.
The Huipils Of Mesoamerica
Throughout Mexico and Central America, many indigenous groups whose roots lay with the ancient Maya wear various huipils for different ceremonies – especially weddings. They are loose-fitting tunics, rich in symbolism with different mythological imagery like animals and flowers. Today, they are still popular in the Mexican states of Chiapas, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Campeche, Hidalgo, Michoacán (where it is called a huanengo), Veracruz and Morelos.
In Malay weddings, grooms traditionally wear a long sleeved shirt and trousers called baju melayu, and brides wear a sarong over a long dress, called baju kebeya. They come in many bright and beautiful colors, and are usually embroidered with beautiful gold thread. They also cover their heads with elaborate cloths. Before the official unification, there is a two-day ceremony called the bersanding ceremony, in which the couple visits the homes of both bride and groom and sit on decorated thrones, being lavished with blessings and gifts, yellow rice, and flower petals (symbolic of fertility). Then, the bride serves her groom a meal for the first time, called makan berdemai.
Zulu Tribe in South Africa
Like any other African wedding, they are known to be a vibrant musical, colorful, with plenty of dancing and feasting. But a Zulu wedding takes the lead in popularity, magnificence, and grandiosity. On the wedding day, the bride is adorned with white and red ochre, and bags of pebbles are tied on her feet to add to the rhythm when dancing. She wears a veil made of beads and twisted fig-trees, ties oxtail fringes on her arms and knees, and wears goatskin on her neck. The highlight of the ceremony comes when a dance-off between the groom’s and the bride’s families takes place.
Weddings in Saudi Arabia are, culturally, a huge and expensive deal. There is no religious ceremony, but instead, the celebration is a combination of an extravagant fashion show and a bachelorette party. The guests typically arrive at 10 p.m. The men enter one ballroom to hang out with the groom, and the women come into another hall to wait for the bride. In Saudi Arabia, weddings in public venues are always segregated, making them very private and intimate affairs.
In a traditional Andean marriage ceremony, locals gather outside to celebrate a couple’s union in the presence of their most revered goddess: Mother Earth. Both the bride and groom’s family have been working day and night, putting up decorations and preparing food. The bride and groom wear beautifully detailed traditional Andean clothing. The bride wears a Montera hat, a sequined Jobona jacket, depicting scenes from nature, and – the showstopper – a beautifully detailed pollera skirt. Andean wedding ceremonies are known as a celebration of the two things they value most: family and Mother Earth.
Papua New Guinea
In some parts of Papua New Guinea, it is still customary for a groom to pay a bride price before the wedding ceremony. In some instances, this is paid in golden-edged clamshells. In other areas, an endowment is payable instead. Weddings are also an essential occasion to wear special clothing and is an excellent opportunity to show off glitzy accessories, like seashells and wear colorful face paint. The bride wears dyed grass aprons, open at the sides, and in some places, it is common to smear the body with mud or clay.
The Datoga people are known as a nomadic tribe, residing in north-central Tanzania. Tanzanians still place great importance on traditional social organization systems in their everyday lives, and kinship provides a strong support network that is especially visible through all of life’s meaningful ceremonies. Interestingly, unlike many other parts of the world, for many Tanzanians, it is customary for the groom’s family to pick the wedding dress. Once married, the girl must wear a unique skirt made of thin leather strips, which is symbolic of fertility given by a Goddess to the Datoga houses.
Bedouin tribes live in parts of north and northeast Africa and the Middle East. The word “bedouin” comes from the Arab word “Badawi,” which means a nomad. The groom has to pay the bride’s father a dowry. He uses part of this money to buy traditional Bedouin jewelry for the bride. Sometimes the dowry includes animals like camels. The cloth for the wedding dress is provided by the female members of the groom’s family. The bride’s friends apply henna tattoos on her hands and feet. This is known as the “laylat al henna.”
In the Ivory Coast, the government abolished polygamy back in 1964 and set the legal marriage age limit at eighteen for boys and sixteen for girls. However, polygamy is a widely accepted lifestyle among many native ethnic groups. Although marriage traditions and norms are changing and becoming more Westernized, a vast majority engage in traditional native wedding rituals. The fabric used traditionally used for wedding attire is called Kente/Kita, which is very popular all around West Africa.
Status is of the utmost importance in traditional Samoan culture, so people marry mostly within their social class. But once a couple is set to be married, weddings are paid for by both families equally. The reception takes place immediately after the ceremony, with the bride performing a traditional Samoan dance for the guests, called a taualuga. Girls in Samoa grow up learning this dance from a young age, in preparation for their wedding day. When the dance ends, the guests may be served food.
Over the past couple of years, Bhutanese weddings have become popular among tourists. A Bhutanese wedding is much more than an exchange of vows and rings. The wedding represents the significance of the bond between a husband and wife. A traditional Bhutanese wedding includes several religious rites performed by Buddhist monks. Along with the rituals comes the traditional wedding attire – the groom wears a gho, and the bride wears a kira with a scarf.
Native American Tribes
Each Native American tribe has its special customs and wedding traditions – but they all differ greatly from conventional modern weddings. The Native American wedding dress traditionally features four colors. Each color is related to a direction, black (north), blue (south), yellow (west), and white (east). The traditional jewelry is mainly made of silver, and the jewelry isn’t just to add beauty, it has a protecting purpose against all evil things that the newlyweds may face in their future.
Traditional Celtic Dress
Celtic wedding customs and traditions come from clear springs. From ancient times till modern-day location is critical when it comes to planning a Celtic wedding. Clothing is a major part of many British Isle region weddings. Some brides sew their dresses, while others have their mothers or other close women friends sew it for them. Swiss Amish have many specific customs that are uncommon in non-Swiss communities.
The Amish Wedding Dress
Amish wedding dresses can vary in different communities. In some Amish communities, the brides will wear a black dress matched with a white apron and cape. In other communities, the bride chooses her dress color but wears a white apron and cape. Some brides sew their dresses, while others have their mothers or other close women friends sew it for them. Swiss Amish have many specific customs that are uncommon in non-Swiss communities.
Aboriginal Australians believe that smoke has cleansing and healing powers that can ward off evil spirits. They burn plans in a fire or use a smudge stick – the fragrant smoke is fanned over the people. The tradition of acknowledging who the land belonged to and those who came before you is also thought to bring you good luck and start your marriage off positively. Bright body paint is another traditional custom that reflects the individual’s family, ancestors, and is a very spiritual practice, especially at weddings.
A Wiccan wedding, otherwise known as a Handfasting ceremony, can be held at any time of the year, although some days are considered special like the Summer Solstice or Mayday. Weather is an important factor in a Wiccan wedding as most ceremonies are held outside. The bride and groom do not have particular outfits, but certain styles are seen more often than others. For brides, this includes long, light-colored dresses. The groom will most likely be wearing an embroidered shirt or a kilt.
Iran: The Persian Wedding
The Persian wedding ceremony begins with the Khastegari, asking a woman’s hand in marriage. The Khastegari is a ceremony in which a woman and man meet for the first time at the woman’s house with the intention of marriage. It is somewhat like a traditional date – both people can decide whether they want to end it with the first meeting or not. If all goes well and the two individuals decide to get married, the bride would usually choose to wear a light color that is not white.
A traditional Spanish wedding dress includes a lace headdress called a mantilla, which the mother of the bride will have embroidered for her daughter. The mantilla is a lace veil that is worn over a high comb called a peineta. Some brides decide to wear the mantilla without the peineta, directly on their hair. The bridal dress will typically include fine lace details, a lace collar, and sleeves. Although most brides wear mantilla made of white lace, it is traditionally made out of black lace.
Alongside a traditional sarong, weddings in Java will feature traditional Javanese headdresses, called a blangkon for the groom and a selendang for the bride. Preparation for the wedding involves a procession called a hajatan, which wards off an ill outcome of the marriage. Then, the bride and groom are showered with water by their seven closest companions, a process called siraman. After this, the mother serves a sweet called ‘dawet’ while the father holds an umbrella over her head, which symbolizes the cooperation that makes a marriage work.
One very longstanding tradition at weddings in Pakistan is the youthful status of the bride and the groom – no matter how few or how many decades old they are old, they will always be referred to as a ‘boy’ and a ‘girl’. During the day of festivities before the wedding, the bride has oil and turmeric rubbed on her face and hands by her friends and family. The next day, it’s purported to make her look beautiful and glowing.
In Estonia, being a bride is a very colorful affair. They traditionally wear intricately stitched folk dresses, paired with floral head-wreaths. Typically, the couple ties the knot at the local Office of National Statistics, but its more popular nickname is the Õnnepalee (the Palace of Happiness). In between the official registration and the reception, they have a wedding train parade, called a pulmarong, where all the guests drive behind the married couple. At the reception, the couple is presented with tasks to solve, usually related to building a home and becoming parents.
In Tibet, weddings are often suggested by elders in the family. In order to propose a match, an elder from the man’s family would visit the other family bringing gifts and tea. If the woman’s family accepts the gifts, then they accept the proposal. The groom’s family then prepares the wedding dress, a headdress adorned with silver coins, and a small metal Buddha amulet for the bride, which the groom brings to her on the day before the wedding.
Traditional weddings in Fiji are quite the spectacle and it’s not unusual for most of the local villagers to take part. The bride’s dress is fashioned from the bark of the mulberry tree which is essentially pressed into a thin but durable material which the dress is then fashioned from. The material is known as Tapa and it’s popular throughout Polynesia. The bride will also wear a customary Tapa necklace and the dresses tend to have long trains.