Getting married is a strange custom in itself but then some people take the ceremony to even greater extremes!
In Scotland, there is the custom known as “Blackening the Bride” which takes place before the wedding and is more a part of the hen night and bachelorette rituals than the ceremony itself. Nevertheless, the bride to be is pelted with foul detritus from the refrigerator usually eggs, rotten tomatoes and the like and is then paraded around town, usually taking in a few bars along the way.
The Germans have a reputation for being efficient and humorless, and perhaps the tradition of bride and groom sawing a log really underlines the stereotype. It is a custom for a log, as in tree log, to be placed on a saw horse and man and wife to engage in a 2-man saw competition with themselves. The idea is that they are going to have to work together and the act of sawing the log together signifies this.
Sticking with the Germans, they have another strange custom which involves the entire host of assembled guests to smash all the items of crockery – every plate, every cup, bowl, dish, glass, you name it – all smashed! The bride and groom then have to sweep the entire mess up!! The idea is again, that husband and wife will be working together from here on in and so this just reinforces the bond that they will be cleaning up each other’s mess together. One last German custom is to kidnap the bride and hide her, usually in a bar, the groom and his cronies then have to go find her and of course, have a drink along the way. This ritual has been known to end very badly.
Moving to India, weddings there are usually held over several days and the idea is to make the bride feel like a princess. One wacky custom is to steal the groom’s shoes – when he enters the venue with the altar, he must remove his shoes but the bride’s family is under a duty to steal his shoes while his family is supposed to protect them. This can and is taken to great lengths and results in numerous fraternity-style situations and even worse, if the bride’s family are successful at stealing the shoes, the groom must pay whatever price they ask to get them back!
The fun-loving Swedes have the weird custom of kissing the bride, which doesn’t sound very weird but it is when you understand the circumstances. If the bride goes to the restroom, the guests can steal a kiss from her by lining up outside the restroom doors and when she emerges she has to give the line-up a kiss each!
The French have a custom known as “Chiverie”; during the evening the guests try to startle and surprise the couple by banging pots and pans together and generally making loud noises, often using brass band instruments. The idea is that bride and groom are to emerge from whatever love nest they have arranged for themselves, fully dressed and serve the guests with refreshments. It’s amazing they manage to breed at all.