Brides & Wedding Traditions From Around the World

June 27, 2017
June 27, 2017 Hilary

Brides & Wedding Traditions From Around the World

June is  wedding season, so…

Catherdral of Toledo-8227

I’ve been married for 16 years, but the romantic in me still gets excited when I see a bride, and for some reason even more so when I’m traveling! Maybe because someone once told me it’s good luck to see a bride? Or because I still remember how happy I was on my wedding day and I’m reminded of those feelings? Or maybe because I know what’s coming… ha ha!


Wedding traditions vary from country to country, but apparently the lure of the white dress is universal, as I’ve seen them everywhere from New Orleans, Louisiana to Tokyo, Japan!


I always try to snap a photo when I see brides, and the following photos are collected from the past few years of travel. Please do keep in mind that these photos are usually taken from a distance, a moving car, or a hotel window, as I wasn’t actually invited to any of these weddings. Along with the photos I’ve included some fun facts and wedding traditions from around the globe. Of course I’m including my own wedding photo… Let’s hope all these lovely couples are still as happily married as I am!

Toledo, Spain

This photo was taken in 2015 at Ayuntamiento Plaza just outside the Catherdral of Toledo, one of the more beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever visited. Toledo is known as the City of Three Cultures, which includes Muslims, Christians and Jews.


Popular in many parts of the world Spanish brides also throw their boquets with the idea that the one to catch it will be the next to marry.  A Spanish variation on the same theme is to pin an upsidedown corsage on unmarried female guests. If the corsage is lost during the festivities that lucky lady will be the next to marry!

Tokyo, Japan

This photo was taken in 2014 during breakfast in lobby of the Tokyo Penninsula Hotel. It was quite early in the morning, so I was somewhat surprised to hear wedding music and then see a bride appear, but I got this picture just as she was almost out of sight!


Quick Change

In Japan the bride will often wear multiple outfits during the ceremony and reception, as many as four, sometimes ending with a western style party gown, which signifies her return to everyday life. Guests at a Japanese wedding will give gifts of money to the bride and groom in small paper packets called mizuhiki.

London, England

I took this photo in 2013 during one of our many visits to London. We had just finished the Tower Bridge Experience, which by the way is a fascinating attraction! This seems like a lovely, although crowded, place for wedding photos.


Royal Icing

Many of today’s most popular white wedding traditions can be attributed to Queen Victoria. It was Queen Victoria’s wedding cake, that first used the icing known today as “royal” icing. Hence the name royal… I love that!

Paris, France

This shot was taken in 2016 outside Notre Dame de Paris just after we climbed to the top!

Paris France

After our 2016 visit to La Madeleine, a beautiful church commissioned by Napoleon, I decided to take a quick lap around the building, and came upon this lovely bridal couple!


Wedding Cake

A croquembouche is a tower of delicious cream filled pastries held together with delicate strings of caramel. These delicious towers are often served at a French wedding. I read that the idea originates from guests bringing small cakes and other treats to wedding celebrations and piling them high on the table.

Amsterdam, Holland, The Netherlands

Having only just arrived in Amsterdam during our 2016 Europe trip, we were on our way to the hotel when I looked out and saw this bridal party! Our taxi was speeding past and I stuck my camera out the window!


Bridal Showers

A popular tradition in the United States, the bridal shower originated in Holland. When a Dutch bride’s family was too poor to provide a dowry, or if the father did not approve of the match her friends would “shower” her with gifts that were often included in the dowry.


Traditional Dutch Wedding Clogs

Belfast, Northern Ireland

This photo was taken during our 2016 visit to Belfast, from inside the Titanic Belfast Museum, which is apparently a popular wedding venue. We loved our visit to this museum, and what an amazing backdrop!

Belfast Northern Ireland

A traditional Irish wedding toast:

“Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, ’tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask God’s blessing in your hour of need.”

The guests respond: “On this special day, our wish to you, the goodness of the old, the best of the new. God bless you both who drink this mead, may it always fill your every need.“

New Orleans, Lousiana

This photo of a Second Line Parade was taken from my hotel window in 2016 at the Omni Royal Hotel on Royal Street in the French Quarter!


Weddings in New Orleans have a special added flare, especially weddings in the French Quarter! The Bride and groom might arrive at their reception via horse drawn carriage, or by leading a second line parade preceded by a jazz band! Now that’s making an entrance!

Second Line Parade

Staying the French Quarter is always interesting, and no matter night or day, you never know what you might see when you look out your window!


While second line parades stem from African American jazz funerals they have evolved to become part of many celebrations in New Orleans. The second line parade at a wedding signifies the befinning of the new life between the bride and groom. Don’t be surprised if you see one these cheerful wedding parades leading the entire wedding, guests and all, from the church to the reception.

This photo was taken during our 2015 visit from my hotel window at the Hyatt French Quarter in 2015.


Ribbon Pulling

While I haven’t seen the ribbon pulling tradition in action, I find the idea fascinating. Similar in tradition to the bride tossing her boquet the cake’s frosting has “meaningful” charms hidden within, each one attached to a ribbon. Female guests pull the ribbons to find out their future fate. You might pull out the heart signifying true love, but then again you may get the button, symbolic for old maid…

Costa Mesa, California

This photo was taken just the other day while the boys and I were running errands and enjoying treats from Susie Cakes at the South Coast Plaza Mall. While I don’t think I would chose this location for my wedding photos, I always enjoy seeing a happy wedding party!


Did you know?

Los Angeles is the most popular city in California to get married? Popular wedding trends in the Golden State include eco-friendly ideas, rustic chic, farm fresh to table fare, and free form flower boquets.

Speaking of flowers… fellow blogger, Katy from Untold Morsels, had her wedding flowers wrapped up and gifted to her guests at the end of the reception! That’s a wedding favor I’d like to have, and eco-friendly too!


This is a picture of my wedding photo because apparently I didn’t see the future of digital, and I turned down a cd with my wedding photos on it… hindsight is truly 20/20.


If I had to do it over again, I’m only talking about the wedding folks, I might like to have a destination wedding! Maybe in one of these amazing places, or maybe I’d do everything exactly the same… Anyway… if you’re wondering, our wedding and reception took place in Downtown Seattle in the atrium of one of Tim’s favorite buildings, what can I say he’s an architect. Some of the traditions we included: Something old, new, borrowed and blue, a first dance, and cutting and eating the cake together.


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I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and they are, at the ages of 13 and 18, world travelers and all around go along guys. There isnt anywhere I cant take them. It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things Ive learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (35)

  1. Clare Thomson

    You look adorable, Hilary, and I love your dress. Great post. I liked reading about all the wedding traditions around the world. That French cake sounds very yummy. My experience is mostly of English countryside weddings, which are almost always held in picturesque Norman churches, with the reception in marquees in pretty gardens. Most churches nowadays won’t allow people to throw confetti outside the church so we gave everyone at our wedding a small bottle of bubbles to blow at us. It made for beautiful photos. Lots of people choose to drive from the wedding to the reception in a statement car. We went in my uncle’s vintage Argyle from 1908. Sadly, I didn’t have the hindsight to get our photos on a CD either. We’ve still got them all around the house though 🙂

    • I love bubbles! Speaking of statement cars… We left our reception in an English Taxi cab!

    • Thank you! It’s fun looking back at wedding photos isn’t it? I wonder if I’d still pick this dress, or location… the only thing I’m sure of, is that I’d still pick my husband! LOL!

  2. I love weddings and absolutely liked your post. It is nice to see how wedding traditions change along the world but all of them with the same magic 🙂 Congrats on this post!

  3. This was an interesting post. I love your collection of photos from your travels, I wonder if the brides would be thrilled to see these snaps from a stranger (I’d say probably!). The traditions were fascinating, and your own wedding photos warmed my heart a bit <3

    • I wondered that myself, but I like to think I’d be pleased to know someone admired me on my wedding day! Glad you enjoyed the post!

  4. So many gorgeous brides and stunning grooms! I always have a bit of a gander at wedding parties when I come across them. A great spot for them in San Francisco is the Palace of Fine Arts. There are usually a couple of wedding parties out there on weekends for photos. I love seeing how people from different backgrounds “do” weddings. Some have lots of flower girls and bridesmaids dressed to the nines, and then others have one or two, still looking very elegant but not as dressed up. Lovely post!

    • I love the Palace of Fine Arts! Wedding are always such happy events, it’s infectious! Btw, I lived in the Bay Area for 8 years and now live in LA, so I Love reading your take on LA!

  5. This is such a cute idea for a post. I love seeing bridal parties as well. I hope they are all still happily married. #FarawayFiles

  6. Clare Thomson

    Lovely re-reading this for #FarawayFiles. I think you might have picked a similar dress – it’s one of those stylish wedding dresses that’s a real classic whether worn now or 16 years ago… Travelling in a London taxi is perfect. Bet you don’t see many of those in Seattle!

    • Nope, not too many London Taxis in Seattle!! Now that we’re talking about it I’m going to look for that photo! 💕

  7. Love this post! I am bit of a wedding voyeur myself and made our family watch a huge one in Sicily recently. The bride’s train was so long it flowed down the steps of the church. Last year I had to mediate in the great croquembouche saga of 2016 for a friend who got married in Switzerland to her French partner. Apparently the Swiss version was not at all right! Thanks for the mention and sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Would have loved to see that train! Ha ha of course the Swiss version was wrong! 😘 thanks for sharing your wedding tip/tradition with me!!

  8. when we were in Paris two summers ago we saw Asian wedding couples taking photos all over the city. we couldn’t decide if they were real or some sort of series of photos shoots. It’s hard to resist a bride and groom though, they look so fancy and happy!

  9. If it’s true that if you see a bride, you’re lucky, then you’re quite lucky! I rarely see a brides! I have the same picture of those wedding clogs from Holland! You made a beautiful bride! I would have loved to have a destination wedding somewhere in the middle from both Germany and the US, but we opted to have here in Germany and made my family fly out here. It was the only way I could actually get my family to come visit me and see our home. Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • Thank you! Weren’t those wedding clogs cool? I took these photos over a number of years… how lovely that your family went to Germany for you wedding!

  10. Anisa

    I love seeing brides too but I haven’t taken pictures. I think I may start doing this. I love your photos and I love your dress. I do love destination weddings, I went to one in Hong Kong last year and headed to Florida for one in a few weeks. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  11. Your wedding photo is beautiful Hilary – doesn’t time fly!! Every time I see a bride we stop and have a look too, it’s so intriguing. Never thought to take photos though but a great idea and this was such a fun post. Enjoyed reading about the traditions too.

  12. mymeenalife

    This is a very neat post! I remember marveling at how different it was to get married in Germany (vs the USA) when I lived there. It can be quite complicated, legally, and the traditions are so interesting – everything from breaking dishes to having to climb through heart shapes at the ceremony and the wedding party driving around the town honking after the wedding. It’s so much fun to talk about weddings; my husband and I got married at sunrise at a beach. 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard

  13. mackenzieglanville

    what an absolutely beautiful and fascinating read. I really enjoyed this. I loved that you added about your wedding too. I often wonder would a destination wedding be nice, I think if I was re-newing owns I would do a destination, but I loved everything about my traditional wedding day. #mainylovessummer

    • Thank you! I just love to see a bride! This was a fun post a long time in the making! I know what you mean, I loved my day, but the idea of something small and intimate far away sounds pretty nice too!

  14. Mainy - myrealfairy

    Beautiful pictures and a wonderful post to look through. Out of all of them you look the best:) Thank you so much for taking part in and being truly involved in my summer linky.
    Mainy x

    • You’re too kind! The link ups are so fun, I always enjoy participating and appreciate you hosting.

  15. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    This was a fascinating read to learn about traditions around the world with little personal details too. I am not married and would hate to be the centre of attention but seeing brides always makes me feel a little happier #mainylovessummer

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