I am fortunate enough to have attended weddings in several European countries, namely – Norway, France, Netherlands, Ireland, Greece and Spain. I am furthering this global reach with Italy in the diary for 2015.

My experiences in these countries were very different, but each wedding felt like a wedding. I wondered what it was that was consistent, and what was different. How do you know what makes a wedding a wedding?

The Norwegians love coffee and pancakes with butter and sugar, directly after the ceremony, followed by a long and leisurely wedding breakfast punctuated with heartfelt speeches, songs and ditties. The Bride or Groom leaving the room creates a stampede to kiss the remaining newly wed. I love it!

The Dutch played games during a long afternoon of  family fun. This was slightly different as it was a Dutch / Kazakh wedding. Bread was torn by the Groom to represent who ‘wore the trousers’, a really interesting concept. The Groom has the choice, if he tears the largest part he states that the trouser wearer is him!

Outside of these national customs, in each case, I still knew I was at a wedding.

My argument: You need the formal structure of a wedding to ensure that everyone thinks they didn’t just turn up to some elaborate party with a couple who decided to wear a posh frock and a snazzy suit. Not only that, guests need the wedding ‘running order’ so they (kind of) know where to be and when.  

Whist many wouldn’t admit it, we all love a bit of orchestrated, routine driven behavior (Just me? Sorry, it’s my ‘a little bit OCD’ shining through!). Our social memes are what holds us all together, and I would argue that there are none more etched in the psyche of our nation than the traditional wedding.

Go curve ball, go quirky, go crazy, but make any wedding I rock up to a wedding. I like to see a couple cut a cake (fruit cake please, chocolate cakes are for birthdays). I like to see speeches after dinner (make the best man sweat!) and I like a formal ceremony with vows and “you may kiss the bride”. Don’t make it too long though, the canopes and bubbles are awaiting.

So what makes a wedding a wedding? It’s those traditional crowd pleasers and, in my opinion, you miss these at your peril.

Guest Blog contribution: Thanks go to The Secret Wedding Blogger


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