Although the UK is used to the traditional church wedding there are many alternatives which have been practiced for centuries in other cultures. There are many different faith ceremonies and rituals from different cultures which have been enjoyed for centuries and a wedding venue like the Royal Scots Club is perfectly poised for different types of celebration. Below we’re looking at some religious and cultural celebrations from around the world.
Indian wedding celebrations are a huge, party-style affair. In India the official wedding ceremony itself only plays a small part in a larger series of rituals and ceremonies. Elements of the pre-wedding ceremony include an Engagement Ceremony where the bride and groom exchange their rings and the families exchange gifts and homemade sweets.
Another key element of an Indian wedding is the Mehendi Ceremony, usually held at the bride’s home, and it’s a celebration where the bride’s arms, wrists, legs and feet are decorated in henna. These are just two elements of a much larger celebration.
Orthodox and traditional Jewish weddings cannot be held on the Sabbath or any of the other key religious dates of the calendar. The traditional Jewish wedding invitation in the UK is written both in English and Hebrew and guests are invited to ‘dance at’ the ceremony rather than it being a request of ‘the honour of their presence.’
Another well-known and traditional element of the Jewish wedding ceremony is the groom’s stomping on glass wrapped in cloth as a symbolic act.
The traditional Chinese wedding involved almost no input from the couple themselves at all. A middleman was used to bring together a long engagement which worked through the parents who controlled the negotiations. Astrological readings and compatibility charts were compared based on the dates and hours of birth of the betrothed.
When the day of the ceremony arrives the bride remains shielded from her husband until the moment of the vows and the date and time of the ceremony is also closely studied and chosen with astrological guidance. Even modern Chinese weddings place a high degree of importance on dates and avoiding those that may be deemed to be unlucky.
In Malaysia the wedding ceremony puts great focus on the future and the children who may be born from the marriage. Through the courtship the groom may send his bride child-bearing gifts such as the stork crafted from flowers or origami.
The Malaysian wedding ceremony is quite similar to the Hindu tradition where the bride and groom sit in state, like royalty, as they’re dressed and then they feed each other and their hands are painted with henna. Decorating hard-boiled eggs are given as gifts to symbolise fertility.
There are many crossovers between different types of wedding ceremony and in many instances the party element of the ceremony can be enjoyed in any type of venue. This is just a small example of some of the different traditions around the world.