Thanks for joining us this week! We had the pleasure of photographing our first Lebanese-Ecuadorian wedding earlier this month. The wedding was rich in cultural elements that we just loved! The gorgeous venues were the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, Wildwood Manor for wedding portraits and Central Park West for the reception. Emad (Lebanese) and Melanie (Ecuadorian) actually met during medical school in Ecuador and held a friendship of 5 years before they ventured down the path of newly wedded bliss! Both coming from very opulent cultures, they decided to plan a wedding that not only featured their love and commitment, emanated two cultures, but also celebrated the combining of two families.
The bride, Melanie brought in several traditions from Ecuador, such as her family made wedding dress and Latin music. The groom Emad, with his strong roots in the Lebanese culture, brought traditions such as an Islamic wedding ceremony (signing of contracts), elaborate entrance to their reception, Dabke dancing (a type of Arabic group folk dancing), and a tossing petals exit. This wedding hands down was one of the joyous and most energetic wedding days I have ever had the honor of being a part of. My cheeks hurt from smiling by the end of the night!
This remarkable wedding leads perfectly into our topic today… Culture + Weddings! Incorporating your cultural sparkle into your wedding day can really add meaning for both you and your guests. It doesn’t have to be the entire tradition either; it could simply be a portion. There are several different ways you can adapt a cultural tradition to complement your wedding day so I encourage you to think outside the box! Even if you’re not having an Iceland destination wedding you can still think about adding in a few of these elements you admire or to embrace your ethnic backgrounds.
Several of our favorite cultural wedding traditions are featured in the list below:
- African Wedding Traditions: “Jumping the Broom.”
- Asian Wedding Traditions: Both the bride and groom wear white.
- English Wedding Traditions: Putting a sixpence under the brides shoe (lucky left) to signify good fortune and prosperity.
- Dutch Wedding Traditions: Create a “wish tree” as a guest book. Your guests pin a happy note or valuable piece of advice to its branches.
- French Wedding Traditions: The groom walks his mother and mother-in-law down the aisle to be seated at the ceremony.
- Hungarian Wedding Traditions: The bride shares a dance with her mother and grandmother. (This is actually a tradition we had at our own Seljalandsfoss Iceland wedding).
- Icelandic Wedding Traditions
- Indian Wedding Traditions: Mehndi art is performed, which is the intricate painting of the bride’s hands and feet. Most Indian weddings also span over several days.
- Irish Wedding Traditions: Incorporate a Celtic love knot or a “tying of the knot” ceremony.
- Italian Wedding Traditions: May include having Jordan Almonds as a wedding favor (representing that marriage is sometimes bittersweet).
- Lebanese Wedding Traditions: Sacred ceremony with family members only, Dabke dancing, and extravagant entrances/exits.
- Spanish/Latin Wedding Traditions: Guests form a circle around the bride and groom while they partake in their first dance as husband and wife.
- Scottish Wedding Traditions: Include some of my favorite traditions such as having flower petal aisle way, a bagpiper for ceremony music, and a hand fastening ceremony.
- Swedish Wedding Traditions: The bride often has 3 wedding rings to represent following: engagement, marriage, and future outlook to motherhood.
Below, you will find a few more ideas that are embraced across many cultures during wedding planning…
Traditions to Consider While Planning Your Iceland Wedding:
- A special headpiece instead of a typical veil.
- Carrying a handkerchief made from your/husband-to-be’s christening gown, mothers, MIL’s, or sister’s wedding dress. (Iceland Wedding Planner Tip: If you’re not a fan of holding it…The fabric could easily be pinned on the underside of your dress or fused into your wedding bouquet).
- Plan an Iceland Welcome Dinner for your guests the evening before your wedding day. In many cultures they turn the wedding day into a wedding weekend so it truly feels like a really special once in a lifetime event.
- Our favorite Old English rhyme for a lucky wedding day: “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, a Sixpence in Your Shoe.”
- Having two wedding dresses (Iceland wedding ceremony dress and an Iceland wedding reception dress) can really add an element of glamor to your wedding day. Many cultures have the bride changing throughout her wedding day.
- 4 Words: Day of Wedding Gift!
Iceland Traditional Wedding Ceremony Ideas:
- Keep the surprises going and do not see each other before the wedding ceremony! (Iceland Real Wedding Example: Chris and I stayed together the night before but then we parted ways after breakfast. That way, his first look at me was down the aisle. This moment turned out to be the most adoring smile ever!
- Both parents giving the bride and/or groom away during the ceremony.
- The bride and groom walking down the aisle way together at the start of the ceremony.
- Cultural decorations such as having certain flowers, lanterns, archway, or a special canopy.
- Special Blessing or Poem in the native language. Can be said during your Iceland wedding ceremony, used as a toast, or simply on display at the reception.
- Petal Toss (Showering the bride and groom with rose petals on an entrance or exit).
- During your wedding ceremony in Iceland, incorporate having a meaningful Love Letter Ceremony. Years later we are still so excited we did this! So much that we have decided to write a letter to each other every year on our Anniversary. See our Love Letter update post here.
Iceland Wedding Reception Ideas for Cultural Traditions:
- Food (having several served courses or a certain type of ethnic food).
- Serving a dessert that is different than a traditional wedding cake (Example, an Icelandic wedding cake is traditionally a Kransakaka. We personally decided against both of those items and served our guests chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream).
- Memorial station or flowers in remembrance of those who have passed.
- Carrying the bride over the threshold.
- A wedding favor that incorporates your culture in some way.
- Several cultures have the breaking of plates, glasses, or vases during the reception to signify “new beginnings.”
- Incorporate your parents/grandparents wedding memento (such as champagne flutes).
- A special dance to your countries customary music.
- Releasing wish lanterns at the end of your wedding night. Each guest makes a wish for the newlywed couple!
We hope today’s you have fallen in love with a few of these traditions and they got you thinking about possibly incorporating them into your own local or destination wedding in Iceland. We leave you today with Emad and Mela as our wedding photo inspiration!
Emad & Mela, thank you for choosing Photos by Miss Ann to tell your wedding day story! As we said above, your wedding was one with so much energy, love, and excitement it will forever be one of our favorites. We hope you are able to relive your wedding day through our images now and in decades to come! Enjoy…
With a smile,
Ann & Chris Peters
Experts in Weddings in Iceland (Feel free to contact us here).
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