SFOpera - Wedding Traditions from around the World

Wedding Traditions from around the World

With Svadba coming up soon, we looked into different cultural wedding traditions from around the world. Check out the most interesting traditions we found below!


Serbia: Serbian pre-wedding rituals are unlike American traditions in that there are no planned extravagant festivities. The bride and her closest friends spend quality time together and pamper themselves at home. Some brides and grooms even choose to wear the Serbian folk costumes instead of traditional wedding dresses and suits. At some point during the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom have a large crown (symbolizing sacrifice and devotion to one another) placed upon their heads. Most Serbian weddings are held in autumn, since it was a time for relaxation and celebration after finishing your field work for the season.

India: The Seven Steps, also known as Saptapadi, performed around a sacred fire is the last ritual a couple must accomplish at a Hindu wedding. By taking these seven steps while being tied together with a sacred thread, the couple promises their life long companionship and that conflicts will not break up their companionship and devotion to one another. This also promises they will lead a harmonious life together and take care of not only each other but each other’s families as well.

Russia: One of Russia’s still practiced wedding traditions is for the groom to offer some sort of ransom (either monetary or a special gift) to the bride’s family house in order to have his bride released for their wedding. This act, also called vykup nevest, symbolizes that the groom is able to financially support his future wife.
Indonesia: Three days after the wedding ceremony, both the bride and the groom are not allowed to leave the house or use the bathroom. By staying home, it is believed that the marriage will be joyous and full of healthy babies. If this tradition is not followed, it is seen as a bad omen leading to a broken marriage, infidelity, or their future child’s death.

Germany: Known as Baumstamm Sägen, the first task for newlyweds to overcome together is to use a two handled saw to successfully cut a log into two. The log represents the first obstacle in their marriage, and foreshadows the couple’s ability to overcome any other future obstacles.

France: Post-wedding ceremony, the newly married couple would be sent off to their bedroom while their bridal party cleaned up the mess. They brought the couple a chamber pot (aka toilet…Ew!) full of leftover food and such, La Soupe, and didn’t leave until the couple drank it. Today, chocolate and champagne is served in place of the leftovers, but it is still served in a toilet bowl. The reasoning behind this tradition is that the contents of the chamber pot would give the couple fuel to consummate the marriage. 

Svadba-Wedding premieres April 2 in the new Taube Atrium Theater of the SF Opera Lab. Click here for more information.

5 Favorite Wedding Moments in Opera
Dream of the Red Chamber Family Tree