Weddings of the World: China

Weddings of the World: China

Red Symbolizes Happiness

That magical feeling weddings give us is always the same, but the traditions people around the world follow to celebrate their love are very different! Welcome back to Weddings of the World, where we take a look at how different (or surprisingly the same!) weddings in far-away places are. Today, we’ll be learning about Chinese wedding traditions. Chinese culture is often known for strong family structure and respect for tradition – how do you think that shows in their wedding practices?

Beginning with the proposal and engagement, there is a lot of gift giving. If you’re a giver then this would be easy for you! Whether it’s food, wine, clothing, or jewelry, a new groom will use gifts to show appreciation and love for his new family  Isn’t that amazingly beautiful?

Tea is an integral part of Chinese culture; nearly every restaurant serves it, and drinking it together is a popular social activity. In the wedding tradition, the Tea Ceremony is one of the most important events. Both the Bride and Groom are expected to serve their new family tea from a traditional tea pot while following specific etiquette. Drinking the tea together is symbolic of the two families becoming one! Ultimately, the Chinese wedding tea ceremony is a significant way to show respect and gratitude for a lifetime of care and love to the couple’s parents – after the ceremony, the man will love and care for his new wife. In addition to this beautiful ritual, we can’t forget about the iconic red envelopes! Chinese culture considers the color red lucky and symbolic for success, honor, fertility, and warding off of evil spirits. After the tea ceremony is over, the couple is presented with monetary gifts inside of small red envelopes decorated with gold characters and designs. Bonus: save the dates and invitations are usually in an envelope that looks similar to these, just larger and more ornate! Though red and gold are popular colors for traditional Chinese weddings, some couples choose to incorporate more white and other colors.

Image result for china tea ceremony wedding

 

Here’s the good part… the wedding day! Customarily, the Bride wears a Chinse qipao dress. It’s becoming more and more popular to wear this type of dress and a white Western-style dress, too! Just like American brides switch dresses, it’s normal for a Chinese Bride to switch her outfit at least three times over the course of the reception. Unlike American weddings, though, a Chinese couple’s vows are said in private. The wedding isn’t a legal ceremony, but a celebration of a new marriage with friends and family. The food that follows the short ceremony is extravagant! There are normally between five and ten courses, with a lot of fish because it’s representative of abundance. Even when a Chinese couple opts for a mostly Western-style wedding, the banquet remains traditional out of respect for their families. Fun fact – guests sign a guest book along with their gifts. Attendants record the monetary value of the gift for the newlyweds to see; this way, they can give that person a gift of the same or more value. The day after the wedding, the Bride formally visits her new family, where she receives more gifts and blessings. After another few days, she will visit her own parents’ home as a guest, as she is no longer a part of her family. Chinese wedding traditions are different from American ones, but anyone can tell Chinese couples have deep respect for their families and culture!

Image result for chinese qipao wedding dress      Image result for chinese qipao wedding dress    Image result for traditional chinese wedding banquet

Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!

~ZG & AW~

Moroccan Weddings

Moroccan Weddings

So many traditions go into a Moroccan wedding, but first things first, the marriage contract! After getting the legal and religious aspects clear, the fun begins! PARTY, PARTY, PARTY! In the Moroccan wedding tradition, there is this celebration called, a “Three Day Party” where the bride will have her personal celebration, the groom will have his, and the last day everyone will get together and celebrate the new and in love couple.

Who’s ready for a girl’s day?! Well for the Moroccan wedding party, the bride has her own day of relaxation called, Hammam Day. The bride will get her female friends and family and together they will go to a “hammam” where the bride will be bathed and pampered before her big day. Who doesn’t like a beautiful and meaningful henna design to grace their hands and feet for their big wedding day? The great thing about henna is that it is beautiful and not permanent! The henna design is meaningful towards the bride and groom’s future in marriage. It symbolizes hope, fertility, and blessings throughout the marriage.

Related image

(https://www.shaadidukaan.com/blog/wedding-bridal-footwear-ideas.html)

In Morocco, as soon as the bride and groom are engaged and officially set a date, they will have to book out the venue a year, sometimes more, in advance. Moroccan wedding meals are usually similar with all sorts of juices and almond milk flavored with orange water. Too bad for the ones who love to have alcohol at a party, it’s BANNED! Alcohol is forbidden in the Islam religion. But you don’t need alcohol to have the time of your life at the wedding! Morocco weddings usually start at 9pm or later and they party to the band playing “Chaabi” music all night. Literally! Breakfast is usually served at the end of the party which would typically be 6 or 7 in the morning. I’m guessing the party must have a great music all night long to get the party goers dancing all night.

The bride in Moroccan Amaria

(https://www.morocco-guide.com/culture/)

There is so much that goes into a Moroccan wedding ceremony, but it is all worth it in the end because you get to celebrate the whole thing with your family, friends, and the newest blessing in your life, your bride or groom.

Image result for traditional moroccan wedding                    Image result for traditional moroccan wedding dancing

(http://raculture.blogspot.com/2014/10/moroccan-traditional-wedding.html)         (https://www.insideweddings.com/weddings/modern-destination-wedding-with-traditional-elements-in-morocco/921/)
Weddings of the World – South Sudan

Weddings of the World – South Sudan

 

Being a South Sudanese bride is an extravagant and joyous experience filled with overwhelming celebration, community, tradition, love and exclusive treatments. It is not a simple one-day event, but a continuous year of celebration. 

So before he can put a ring on it, your hubby-to-be and his male relatives must go to the bride’s home to ask for permission to marry. Both families conduct a “background check” to evaluate the family and tribal history. Once approved, the male elders of both families set up meetings to negotiate on the bride price. Bride price must be paid for the bride, by the groom, typically with the help of his whole extended family. Many factors are taken into account when deciding on the amount, such as level of education, family status, physical qualities, and others. Back in Africa, these payments may be made through assets such as cows, goats, gold, and more, but in the US, it would be translated to $$$. 

On the date the groom is ready to pay the specified amount, a big “engagement party” is hosted. It is usually at a venue with lots of food, dancing, gifts exchanged, and traditional attire. This is also when the groom is supposed to officially give the bride her engagement ring. 

A South Sudanese bride is pampered like royalty during her entire wedding experiences by the women of the community. The home is a continuous festive place for the bride with lots of dancing, gifts, advice and joy surrounding her. Special indulging such as homemade sugar body waxes, scrub and bath treatments, and other lavish regimens start weeks in advance to prepare the bride to be glowing and gorgeous her big day.

A few days before the wedding, the bride-to-be spends hours receiving beautiful intricate henna designs from her fingers to forearms and toes to ankles. Some brides in South Sudan have a henna party the night before the wedding, which is a tradition adopted from northern Sudan from when they were one country. It is an all women’s event filled with dancing, singing, and eating. 

For the main wedding, the couple has a traditional church wedding. The reception is typically buffet style and filled with many toasts. The bride and groom’s tribal groups and families perform traditional dances as they bring out gifts. During the cake cutting, the bride and groom each walk to their new in-laws, get on their knees, and serve them cake as a sign of respect and unity. The rest of the reception is a dance celebration with all music styles, lasting all night. On the next day, most families usually host a BBQ or some kind of going away event for guests. 

Community is such a crucial element in South Sudanese culture, and weddings are a prime time when you see the whole community abundantly celebrating and embracing the newly weds as if it was their own child, ensuring it is a memorable and enjoyable journey. It is definitely an experience worth joining if you ever have an opportunity to experience a South Sudanese wedding!

~OE~

 

Weddings of the World – Ethiopia Part 1

Weddings of the World – Ethiopia Part 1

Most believe it’s hard enough preparing for one wedding. . . How about 3? And this doesn’t even include the pre and post-wedding festivities. Ethiopian weddings are one of the most elaborate and exciting to attend. What can I say… we look for reasons to celebrate and weddings happen to be the biggest celebration.

It all starts when a man loves a woman lol. Seriously though, traditionally, when an Ethiopian man decides he wants to marry, he doesn’t propose the American way. He gathers some of the older men in his family and goes to the bride’s home to ask her family for their daughter’s hand in marriage. The older men will highlight their son’s attribute and why he will make a great husband. If the family accepts, the wedding will be planned.

Next, there is Telosh, which is a wedding custom held at the bride’s family’s house two days before the wedding. The groom and his family bring various gifts to present the bride. These gifts often include a wedding gown, traditional clothing, and jewelry.

On the wedding day:

  1. The groom and his groomsmen get ready at the groom’s house and head over to his bride’s home.
  2. Once they arrive, a musical exchange between the bride’s family and his groomsmen will take place as they block the entrance to the home.
  3. Once they have serenaded their way in the house, the groom will then escort his bride out of her parents’ home and head to their place of religion, where the exchanging of vows takes place.

Wanna know what happens next??? Tune in later this week for Part II

~TG~

 

Brilliant and Budget-Friendly Bachelorette Party Ideas

Brilliant and Budget-Friendly Bachelorette Party Ideas

Are you looking for creative last-hurrahs to celebrate a bride-to-be?  When you’re planning an amazing final fling, it can be tempting to get carried away with your spending.  Read on for bachelorette party ideas that are not only brilliant, they’re budget-friendly.

Getaway as a group

Little could be more fun than gathering your closest friends to spend a couple days away celebrating together.  But how do you organize a destination bachelorette event without overspending?  With that in mind, consider sorting through what’s available on Groupon.  There is fodder for all sorts of entertaining fun, from trips to Cirque du Soleil, to music concerts, to comedy clubs, to the classic bachelorette selection – male strippers!  If you find a good fit, amp up your savings by using Groupon coupon or promo codes.

Pamper yourselves

Since everyone is prepping for the big day, a day spent pampering yourselves can help you all look your best and go into the big event feeling relaxed and confident – and besides, it’s great fun!

Consider starting out with a trip to the spa so a professional massage can soothe away tension and stress.  Add to that an at-home facial, and faces will be glowing and healthy for the upcoming event.  Pronounce Skincare points out you can even DIY skincare products using natural ingredients, which is not only kind to your body, it’s kind to your wallet.  Sip some wine and nibble cheese while you work, but don’t get too carried away until after you do manicures and pedicures to round out your party – and review these tips to ensure your results are top-notch!

For nail care goodies, consider buying everything you need from Ella + Mila.  They offer selections which are not only high quality, they are eco-friendly and nontoxic, so you can feel great about looking gorgeous.  And on top of all that, if you join their rewards program, you can earn points on purchases and receive special offers for their products, making it that much easier to stretch your budget.

Sip and savor

Events centered around crafting something fun while doing wine tastings are all the rage.  You can find everything from personally-tailored candles, to pottery throwing, to painting canvases.  In the end, you not only have fun with your gal pals, you have a unique item to take home with you.  Another idea is to hit an area winery so you can savor the time focusing on your friends.  Many wineries offer tours, events, and other experiences, so explore your options!

So that everyone can let their hair down, consider hiring a chauffeured limousine to travel in style.  Nationwide offers a broad selection of limos and packages, and you can check out their current specials and promotions to ensure you make the most of your money.

Is it tea time?

Does the bride-to-be favor classic elegance?  If so, little can compare with an afternoon tea party.  Outfit the party space with fine china and silver, and to fully embrace tea party tradition, The Spruce suggests a menu of both sweet and savory foods and brewing a proper pot of tea.  You can even add some fun and mystery to the event by reading tea leaves for each other!

The last thing you want is to use inferior tea for your special tea party.  When gathering tea and other supplies, consider shopping with Camellia Sinensis, where you can not only find top-notch tea and related products, they offer free shipping to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. 

Before the bride’s big day, take time to celebrate everything that was and everything that will be.  Think through your perfect party, whether it’s a getaway, spa day, or sipping a favorite beverage.  With a little bit of planning, everyone can have a wonderful time without overspending!

~AL~

Wedding Gratuity Cheat Sheet

Wedding Gratuity Cheat Sheet

 

Tips are never obligatory―they are supposed to be expressions of appreciation for a job well done. That being said, unless the service was terrible, would you walk away from a restaurant table without leaving one? I’m certain that most of you answered no to that question. However, believe it or not the same applies to weddings. Again, while tips are not expected; they are certainly appreciated.

Beyond the customary tips, when someone goes out of his way for you―the pastry chef makes those last-minute tiny changes you requested for the cake or adds a last minute delivery to a busy Saturday; the deejay starts playing music 45 minutes early to accommodate guests that arrived early to “Get a Good Seat” or were traveling with a member of the bridal party―consider thanking them with a gift certificate, a bottle of wine, or another token of appreciation. If you’ve sat with your wedding planner hour after hour, she’s scheduled meetings with you on her off days, and made certain your four legged furry baby made it home to a family member after the reception; you might want to add a personal thank-you note and small gift to her customary tip.

For those of you that would like to tip your wedding vendors, but don’t know what is customary, here is a little cheat sheet excerpted from Kate Lynn Nemett’s post, “A Bride’s Guide to Tipping Wedding Vendors

  • Photographer & Cinematographers | $50-$100 per person, or a personal gift
  • Wedding Planner | $50-$100, or a personal gift
  • Caterer | 15-20% of your total bill
  • Waitstaff | 15-20% of labor costs on your food and drink bill
  • Bartender | 10% of total liquor bill
  • Florist | Florists generally do not expect a tip, but if you really love their product and efforts, consider giving a tip for 10-15% of your total floral bill.
  • Hair & Make-up | 15-20% of your total amount paid to him or her (just like at a salon!)
  • Transportation | 15-20% of your transportation bill
  • Band | $20-$25 per musician
  • DJ | $50-$100
  • Delivery Personnel | $5-$10 per person
  • Officiant | Around $100 is an acceptable tip for an officiant, particularly if he or she is providing a service free of charge. If he or she works for a religious institution and cannot accept a tip directly, consider a donation to the organization instead.

 

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