A wedding is considered one of the most important events in a person’s life. It’s a celebration by which two people vow together and become united in marriage. It’s one of the most universal traditions celebrated worldwide. However, the celebration and rituals vary between different cultures, religions, groups, and countries.
Exchanging rings, throwing rice, dowry and gift offering for the family of the bride – these are only some of the wedding traditions associated with weddings around the globe. While some of these traditions are no longer being observed in daily life, many families still incorporate these activities during the wedding ceremony, as they are an integral part of their culture. The following are some international wedding traditions and rituals and how they can easily be adapted for a green wedding.
Eco-Friendly Chinese Weddings
In Chinese culture, timing is everything. To make sure that the bride and groom receive good fortune, they should consult with a fortuneteller to find the luckiest day for their wedding. This date is derived from the couple’s birth dates. For dates in the summer, consider an outdoor wedding that uses less electricity. For winter dates, pick a historic venue that has lots of décor elements in place already to cut down on the need for additional decorations.
The Chinese wedding day should start with the groom, together with his groomsmen, making their way to the bride’s house. Once there, the bridesmaids try their best to make it difficult for the groom to see the bride. He must negotiate (and pay money) until they deem that he is worthy of his bride. After which, the groom will join the bride’s parents for tea. For a green wedding, all of the money collected can be donated to charity, and the tea can be organic green tea or Fair Trade black tea.
Organic Indian Weddings
Before the wedding ceremony takes place in Indian culture, there are pre-wedding ceremonies celebrated. At the Engagement Ceremony, the bride and groom exchange rings and both their families exchange gifts. Eco-friendly rings can be made with recycled metals and the gifts exchanged can also be sustainable sourced.
At the Mehendi Ceremony, the bride and her female friends decorate their hands and feet using henna. Organic red henna is sustainably sourced and has healing properties. Black henna can be toxic, so be careful.
On the actual wedding day, Indian couples put flower garlands on their necks to indicate that the bride has already accepted the groom as her husband. Select local, seasonal and organic flowers for the greenest version of this beautiful tradition.
Organic Japanese Wedding Details
Traditionally, Japanese wedding rituals are held in Shinto style at the shrine. But today, this shrine may be located in different places, such as in hotels, where special events are being celebrated. The Japanese bride-to-be is painted pure white from head to toe to indicate her maiden status. She also wears a white hood to hide her “horns of jealousy” and to show her intention to become a gentle and obedient wife. This article on Safe Face Paints For Kids has links to non-toxic white makeup options. To make the white hood eco-friendly, opt for a sustainable fabric like organic cotton or linen.
Mexican Wedding Dresses
Mexican brides wear white dresses but like to include some color in their wedding attire to attract luck. They believe that incorporating colored ribbons, such as yellow, blue, and red, will bring more food and financial fortune to their marriage. Pina is a cloth native to Mexico that is made from pineapple fiber and is completely sustainable. It is perfect for Mexican weddings!
Eco Italian Wedding Ideas
In the Italian tradition, the ideal wedding ceremony is done on Sunday, preferably in the morning (which means lots of natural light!). Italian brides traditionally wear a white dress and a wide veil. Buying a once worn veil is a great way to save money and the environment.
Eco-friendly Malaysian Wedding Trends
In Malaysia, couples are treated like royalty. The wedding celebration is usually conducted in two parts: the first one is Akad Nikah and the second part is the Bersanding. In Akad Nikah, the couple signs a marriage contract and the groom give his wife-to-be a mass kahwin (similar to dowry) to symbolize his capability to protect and take care of his wife and future family. Eco-conscious couples can have their wedding contracts printed on recycled paper.
The Bersanding is the actual wedding ceremony. In this ceremony, the bride and groom sit together on a sofa called pelamin while being sprinkled with scented water and yellow rice as a sign of the guests’ approval and blessings. This ceremony is made green with organic or fair trade yellow rice.
Indeed, Every culture has its own ways of making a wedding day special. But no matter what tradition or ritual is being performed to celebrate your union, you can always go green by making simple substitutions.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.