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Ethnic Wedding Styles

Author, Judith Rivers-Moore

"Best Style California Wedding & Honeymoon" digital magazine

Including your ethnic traditions in your weddings and celebrations is a growing trend. Worldwide the countries are all becoming multi-cultural, so we share segments of population's traditions and foods in marriage. If you do not find your ethnic views in the article, there are many websites listed below that you can put in your cursor and travel to for more information. There are increasing services available plus a multitude of caterers and restaurants flourishing throughout the nation who can provide satisfying support to menus and plans. The book scene offers creative cookbooks plus wedding and party-planning advice.

Enriching your knowledge of the cultural background, learning words of greetings and thank-you are very important. By reading a book, Internet exploration for information and asking your intended what should be involved from each other's background is necessary. Often there is a family expert, event coordinator or caterer who will help expand your knowledge.

Wedding Celebrations traditions may be included with:

  • Shower or wedding gifts relating to the cultural background(s)

  • Traditional women's gatherings prior to the event or decorating the bride

  • Clothing chosen specific to the ethnic garb

  • Men's rituals surrounding the preparation of the groom

  • Religious preparations with readings, music and ceremonies

  • Foods, beverages and decor chosen.

The following are examples of traditions and components of several ethnic weddings.

African/African-American and Caribbean

Has its unique ritual for the various regions or religions. Depending on where they are from, the bride's garb will represent the area with exciting colors and meaningful designs. The marriage ceremony costume in Ghana is called a Kente and in Nigeria.

Aso-oke. The groom will be in a Hebsa tunic to coordinate with his bride.

The brides wear their hair in braids with ornaments on their wrists and necks bejeweled or covered in cowrie shells is a significant favorite used in the bridal attire. Use of the shell design in favors, food serving, cakes and decoration or table centerpieces express the tradition.

A gift to the bride's family is given by the groom to thank them for his taking the bride from the family.

The American Negro slaves were not given the legal rights to marry, so the broom jumping ritual became popular for the ceremony. A colored ribbon (representing God) is tied on the broom and the couple jumps over together on the count of three.


The modernization of the culture finds the bride adopting red (the color of happiness, love and wealth into the wedding with flowers, décor, food and display. Surprisingly a gift of a pig was the engagement gift years ago. Symbols of wealth and good fortune often adorn the wedding. Gold phoenix, chrysanthemums and peonies as flowers are popular flowers for their presence is prosperity. Of course firecrackers dispel bad luck and are often fired off at the receptions.

If you enjoy shopping for gowns, this culture embraces the purchase of three dresses for the bride. A traditional red dress is worn for the tea ceremony, an ornate traditional dress for the ceremony and a white dress for the reception.

Native American Indians

Both the Cherokee and the Pueblo Indians use a special double-sided pottery wedding vase containing a sweet corn liquid which is sipped in turn as the ceremony moves the couple in directions from north to south and east to west, giving their blessings to all the earth.

The Aztec Indian mothers in the tribe arrange the selection and marriage of a couple. During a fireside ceremony, the couple is given new garments made by their individual mothers and they come forward to tie these clothes together as a symbol of the couple's unity.

Mexican and Hispanic/Latino Cultures

In Mexico the groom pays for the wedding and in the U.S. the bride's family pays for the wedding. A favored custom is that of the groom presents 13 gold coins blessed by the priest prior to the nuptials and brought to his bride by the parents or Godparents during the ceremony. They represent his promise of future care and support. Another interesting ritual is a large rosary (lassos) is wrapped in a figure eight around the couple's shoulders or hands during the ceremony.

Brass and guitar music played outside the church prior to the ceremony and as the couple leave is an expression of celebration. Filipino's tie or pin a piece of cloth or veil to the bride's head and to the groom's shoulder. This signifies unity.


The women of this culture have a high appreciation of embroidered silks and use gold to accent exciting designs in their saris. Much like a dowry, the family presents several saris to the bride and she chooses her own to wear on the wedding day.

The wedding is traditionally a large event with several smaller ceremonial events leading up to the nuptials. Often a thousand members of the family and friends arrive for this, and stay for a week for the festivities. A unique pre-wedding party is for the women as they dance, sing and paint elaborate henna designs on the bride. It is called a Mehendi. This is a shared custom between the Hindu, Sikh and Muslims.

During the ceremony an offering of rice, coconut, sugar and tropical fruit is made to God. A small fire is created - if outdoors an arbor of marigolds and flowers is completed for the couple and their officiate to be under for the ceremony. Specific words are revealed to include Dharma - right of conduct, Aretha - prosperity and Karma - legitimate gratifications.

The parents and honored family wear white flower garlands to convey who they are. The reception is filled with dance and performances of the bangra.


The Shinto wedding is often performed within a shrine where only family members may attend. The Kimono and an ornate wig is the traditional garb for the bride who may later change up to five times during the wedding day. Kimonos are often handed down from five or more generations. The groom wears a haori and hakama. The traditions and religious readings given by the officiate, (Nakado) are very important to the couple.

The Sake (rice wine) ceremony called San-San-Kudo begins with three sips of wine taken by the couple. The first sip represents three couples: new bride and groom and both sets of parents.

Emily  for all types of questions

World Customs

Mediterranean Weddings



EUROPE & United Kingdom