International Reception Rituals

Traditions from Other Cultures to Consider

When figuring out ideas for you wedding, why not think outside the cultural box? Lots of great wedding customs originate from different ethnicities and religions, and you can pay homage to them at your nuptials. As long as you don’t incorporate any sacred traditions, no one should be offended.

The Dollar Dance: The origins of the dollar dance stretch from Europe to Mexico. Plain fact is, it’s just fun. At the reception, the bride is escorted around the dance floor by all the men in the wedding, who give her money for the honor. You can either strap ribbon over your dress, and have people pin the dollars, or keep a purse close to the dance floor. Best part: Now grooms are doing it too. Who says men aren’t equal in the wedding world?

Belly Dancer: You don’t have to be Egyptian to appreciate the fine art of belly-dancing; you just have to get into the groove. Belly dancers are exotic, highly skilled (the dancers often study their entire lives), and a reception hoot. Best part? When Grandpa gets dragged onto the dance floor to bump and grind.

Mariachi: Mariachi bands are almost as fun as piñatas (and, hey, it’s been done), so why not hire the traditional Mexican band for your wedding? (Hint: You can still hire a DJ for other parts of the reception). They are romantic, festive, and every bit as enjoyable as those signature margaritas you’re serving to go along with the theme.

Jump the Broom: A remnant of slave times, African-Americans “jumped the broom” to symbolize their union together, while still not legally recognized. While historians argue over the exact origins and interpretations, jumping the broom has come to mean freedom in the face of hurtles. Some African-Americans don’t like to practice the tradition, as they think it’s an unwelcome reminder of the past, while others do it to honor their ancestors. Also, some gay and lesbian couples have opted to “jump the broom” to show their union in the face of discrimination.

Yichud: This may be a Jewish custom, be we think it makes great sense for all couples. Immediately after the ceremony, the bride and groom find a quiet spot to spend the first few minutes of their marriage together. You can reflect, toast to each other, even steal some snacks. Remember, you’re about to join the party of your life, and before you get caught up in the marriage mayhem, spend some quality time with the one you love.

-David Toussaint

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