On the surface, our wedding looked like a typical American wedding. Looking a bit beyond that though, you would find sprinklings of traditions from other cultures around the world. Throughout my ESL teaching years, I have asked some of my international students how popular these traditions are. Some had never heard of them and others knew them well. These conversations have also brought to light other new-to-me traditions from other cultures that I find fascinating. Seeing the reactions of sharing some of our American wedding traditions has been equally as fascinating :)
After spending some time in India a few years before our wedding, I fell in love with Indian wedding traditions. I mean, a three-day wedding celebration full of color?! How could you not love that?! A few days before our wedding, my mom, my sister, my best friend and I picked up some delicious Indian cuisine, popped in a Concert for George, and had the sweetest little gal create the most beautiful mehndi designs with henna for our big day. I still love that we did that.
The mister and I chose to see each other before the wedding to help ease our nerves and to get some photos while the sun was still out! In Iran, the first sight of the soon-to-be-newlyweds is traditionally through a reflection so we met in the bathroom with our photographer in tow to capture that first glimpse.
In Ireland, it is tradition to carry or wear a horseshoe charm of some sort, upright, to catch the well-wishes and love from your guests. Since my mister's family actually has horses and they are of utmost importance to their family, we loved this tradition. My in-laws were gracious enough to pass along one of their old horseshoes that we had our florist link onto my hanging bouquet. That same horseshoe hangs in our home to this day.
Our cake has no special cultural symbolism but, like our henna covered feet, it showcased some of the same traditional Indian designs that I love so dearly.
Finally, when the mister and I shared our first dance, we asked that our friends and family join hands and form a heart shape around the dance floor as per Mexican tradition. Our ding-dong DJ initially asked that everyone be seated while we shared this dance but, because we had shared the multicultural traditions in our programs and because our guests were awesome, we were quickly surrounded by those we love. It warmed my heart.
Ironically, I was not too keen on one of our most popular American wedding traditions - the garter and bouquet toss. Being a single gal for so many years among a sea of partnered friends, I always hated being forced to fight for a good luck wedding charm. In keeping with honoring ALL traditions though, both were tossed but my garter came off in private :)