we are Mike and Nat,

husband and wife wedding photographers in the SF Bay Area. We are passionate about authentic moments and developing a great connection with each couple.

Thank you for being here. We hope that you stay awhile. Read more about us...

Looking for something in particular? Here are a few places to start browsing:


There are some seriously weird wedding traditions around the world. Don’t believe us? Wait till you see what we’ve cooked up.

What comes to mind when you think about weddings? A beaming bride? The dad leading his daughter down the aisle? A profusely sweating/crying/passing out groom? Drunk uncles passionately dancing to “Don’t Stop Believing”? Women scratching, clawing, and knifing to get their hands on the bride’s tossed bouquet? The bride aggressively smashing cake in the face of her new husband?

Weddings are all about traditions, and if you’ve been to an American wedding, you’ve seen at least some of the above happen at least once.

But if you travel the globe, you’ll find some traditions that make the ones above seem pretty normal. I mean, we’re talking some serious, “Woah, this is really bizarre,” stuff.

What exactly are we talking about?

To quote Samuel L. Jackson from Jurassic Park, “Hold onto your butts.” Things are about to get weird.

#1 – Pelting The Happy Couple With Trash

Marriages are supposed to stand the test of time, right? After all, most couples don’t get married with the hope that things will end in a flaming, bitter divorce a few years later (unless you’re marrying someone for their money).

So how can you help a couple’s marriage survive the ups and downs of life? The Scottish believe that trash is the answer. Before the wedding, the happy couple are assaulted by a trash-throwing friendly mob, often getting hit with rotten eggs and fish. The theory is that if the couple can stand up to this, their marriage can survive anything.

Of course, this could be why an unusually high number of Scottish couples end up in therapy (this may or may not be true). After all, nothing says marital bliss like a juicy, rotten tomato to the face.

#2 – The Smile Free Wedding

Normally, we associate weddings with big smiles. It’s common for the bride’s and groom’s face to get tired of so much forced grinning.

This is not a problem for the bride and groom in some weddings in Congo. During the entire wedding, the bride and groom are not allowed to smile at all. Not so much as a flicker of the lip or slight chuckle.

Why? Because if they smile, it indicates that they’re not serious about their wedding. As we know, you simply can’t trust people who smile too much.

#3 – The Chicken Liver Inspection

If you want to set a wedding date in Daur, China, you’ll need to kill a chicken first. And that’s not all. Once you’ve butchered your feathered friend, you’ll need to give the liver a close inspection. If the liver looks healthy, you can set a date. If not, you need to keep searching for a healthy chicken.

Pro tip: Stay away from chickens that hang out at bars. Their livers are always shot due to doing too many tequila shots. Trust on this one. We know from experience (long story – don’t ask).

#4 – The Weeping Bride

Weddings are supposed to be a happy business, right? Why else would a couple spend thousands of dollars on an open bar that will eventually result in Aunt Edna trying to do a split during the song “Thriller”? Only true love and happiness can produce that, right?

But for the Tujia people in China, it’s not all laughs and giggles and drunken splits. For one month leading up to the wedding, the bride is encouraged to weep for one hour per day. Because if there’s one thing the wedding industry needs, it’s more weeping brides.

On another note, “The Weeping Brides” would make a great name for a female punk band.

#5 – Hold it…Hold it…Keep Holding It

What’s your worst wedding nightmare? Something catching on fire? Passing out? A runaway bride? An old girlfriend standing up and loudly protesting when the officiant asks if anyone has objections?

How about losing control of your bowels or bladder?

In Borneo, that’s a real possibility. One particular tribe doesn’t let the groom or bride leave their house all day, even to use the restroom. Apparently, it brings good luck to the couple.

Of course, it also has the potential to bring on a complete defecation disaster (which would also be a great band name).

#6 – You Want Your Bride? You’ll Have To Come Through Us!

This is kind of like Red Rover, except with bridesmaids. And money. And fistfights with wolverines in a sawdust pit. Just kidding about the last part, although that would make it even better.

In China, grooms often have to “get through” the bridesmaids in order to get to the bride. First, the bridesmaids demand money from him, like some sort of love ransom minus the creepy notes and untraceable phone calls. Then they force him to perform a series of silly and ridiculous tasks before they finally grant him access to his bride.

#7 – You’ll Have To Marry A Tree First

Yeah, so this one is really out there. In parts of India, girls born during particular astrological periods are said to be cursed. This curse will cause an early death for their husbands. Think that’s weird? Hold my beer.

The only way to break this curse is for them to first marry a tree. Yes, a tree. Then the tree is cut down, which apparently breaks the curse.

This brings up numerous questions. How exactly does a woman marry a tree? Does she have to kiss the tree? Do they go on a honeymoon? DOES THE TREE EVEN LOVE HER?

Further research is needed.

#8 – Drink That Toilet Till It’s Empty

Although this tradition isn’t as popular as it used to be, an old French tradition advocated that new couples drink all leftover alcohol from a replica toilet bowl.

Again, we have questions. Do they plunge their faces in, fill up glasses, or use straws? Do they have to blend all the alcohol together (nothing like a Vodka Rum Scotch Red Wine Screwdriver)? What happens if the bride or groom gets sick over the toilet?

Perhaps it’s a good thing that this tradition has fallen out of popularity. We must say, however, that it does teach a valuable lesson: alcohol is a terrible thing to waste.

#9 – The Feet Beating

You know what a groom really needs on the night before his wedding? To have his feet beaten with fish and canes. At least that’s what some South Koreans believe. Apparently, beating the feet is a test of character, and those who endure are worthy to be married.

Let’s be honest here. This is just an excuse to smack a friend with a raw fish. Who wouldn’t want to do that? It’s like something fraternity brothers would do or some sort of secretive fight club (which we can’t talk about).

Heck, we should consider adopting this tradition in the United States.

#10 – Smash The Plates

Frankly, this just sounds like a ton of fun. At traditional German weddings, guests bring some type of porcelain for the bride and groom and then proceed to smash said porcelain. Apparently, the act of destroying the porcelain wards off evil spirits.

What doesn’t sound so fun is that the bride and groom are expected to clean up the mess afterward so they’ll learn that married life isn’t always easy, but they can overcome any challenge together.

It seems highly likely that the inventor of this tradition had some serious anger issues and probably could have benefited from a therapist, or at least a stress ball. And perhaps a few German beers.


After compiling this list, it seems to us that American weddings are actually a bit boring. Sure, walking down the aisle and having that first dance are fun, but not nearly as fun as inspecting chicken livers, hitting the groom with raw fish, or drinking leftover alcohol from a toilet. Yes, the marrying a tree thing seems like a bit much, but who are we to say what should be in a wedding?

Americans could dramatically improve the quality of their weddings by implementing just a few of these traditions.

So here’s what we recommend. Buy yourself an awesome wedding band, then head down to the local grocery store and purchase some raw fish. Then saunter on over to a local farm and pick up a live chicken, followed by a few porcelain plates. Boom. You’re ready for the wedding of the century.

Original text found at: https://manlybands.com/blogs/news/10-bizarre-wedding-traditions-from-around-the-world

0 Comments March 28, 2016
posted in: Weddings

follow ALONG

on Instagram

Mike and Nat are a husband and wife photography team based in San Francisco Bay Area. Their relaxed style allows them to capture authentic moments while creating a stress-free experience. Choco Studio photographs weddings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including Napa, Sonoma, Carmel, and Monterey.