May 8, 2023


Damnit, I need to get my new passport stamped. And soon.

It’s been too long since I’ve had my ears filled with the sounds of a new language or my tastebuds tickled by unfamiliar flavors. Today I found myself wandering the web, looking at all sorts of wedding-related travel (I could totally be a destination wedding photographer), and it led me to asking ChatGPT about a few wedding traditions around the world. We put our heads together, and found that from India to South Africa, every culture has its own way of celebrating the union of two people in love, and we decided that these are some of the most interesting wedding traditions around the world.

India is known for its elaborate and colorful weddings, which can last for several days. One of the most important traditions in Hindu weddings is the “Baraat,” where the groom and his family are welcomed by the bride’s family with a ceremony. The groom arrives on a decorated horse or elephant, and the families exchange garlands of flowers. In addition, the bride and groom exchange floral garlands during the ceremony to symbolize their union. It is vibrant–both physically and emotionally–and it is beautiful.

Mexico has its own unique wedding traditions, such as the exchange of “las arras matrimoniales,” which are 13 coins that symbolize the couple’s commitment to supporting each other and their future family. During the ceremony, the groom gives the coins to the bride, who places them in a special box or bag; consider it a sort of unity ceremony. This is actually a common tradition across the Catholic and hispanic world, and it is definitely one of the sweeter wedding traditions around the world.

Japan has a long history of fascinating wedding traditions, and one of the most unique is the exchange of “san-san-kudo,” or three times three cups of sake. The couple drinks the sake from three different cups, each time taking three sips. This ritual is meant to symbolize the couple’s union and the joining of their families. I

In Italy, the bride carries a bouquet of white flowers to symbolize purity, and the couple breaks a vase or glass to symbolize the end of their old life and the beginning of their new one. Rumor is Italy also has their own form of the las arras matrimonial tradition.

I even scoped out my heritage in my search for wedding traditions around the world. In Quebec, a popular wedding tradition is the “La Tirelire” or “money dance,” which is a fun and festive way for guests to give the newlyweds a little extra financial support. During the dance, the bride wears an apron, and guests pin money to it in exchange for a dance with her. The groom may also wear a hat or have his own apron to collect money. So…the Quebecois have a fancier Dollar Dance.

These are just a few examples of the many unique and fascinating wedding traditions around the world. Whether you’re planning a wedding or just curious about different cultures, learning about these traditions can be a fun and enriching experience that bring us all a little closer together.

What’s your favorite tradition?

Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer (and handcrafter and designer on the side). She serves elegant, authentic, sentimental couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullestSee more about the KLP Wedding Experience!

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At home on the road. Forever-focused on authenticity and the thrilling art of creation; always found in the moments that leave me breathless and in awe. 

After fourteen years as a high school educator, I stepped back through a door I thought was closed. Journalism came back into my life. Armed with a Masters of Arts in Communication, I was again challenged and prepared to tell the stories that would become history, but with a twist: It is now your legacy of love that I document. The tension I seek is that from every tear, smile, laugh, and moment of love on your wedding day. 


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