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You Don’t Need a Passport to Get Through Wedding Customs


Uncertain if you’ve to keep to certain cultural wedding traditions?

As much as you’d like to live in a fuss-couple bubble, a wedding usually involves close family and friends. But truth be told, there isn’t any wrong in that! After all, you’d want to share your special day with the ones dearest to you. I know of a couple who got married in the exact same church as the groom’s parents did thirty-seven years before! How cool is that?

Weddings typically involve a list of customs, traditions and superstitions that never seem to end. Customs that authenticate your heritage, ancient beliefs and traditions, maybe even superstitions that you have to be mindful about. Some are so deeply rooted that you just can’t get out of… or can you?

Parents are at their proudest when their children get married – it’s a well-known fact that weddings are as much as their day as it is yours. We will first explore the baffling mythologies behind certain traditions and give you an ExtraOrdinary interpretation as to whether one should keep it, or trash it!

Sharing the traditional ‘Tang Yuan’ or glutinous rice balls. Photo by Avenue 8. Wedding of Sisi and Ken.

Traditionally, tea ceremonies and religious solemnizations take centre-stage   in most weddings. In religious ceremonies, there are procedures, processes and structures that couples must adhere to so as to maintain order among relatives and friends. These set of rules and “regulations” are quintessentially necessary.

It’s more than just serving up tea in fancy china with tons of people watching intently as you get down on your knees and present a toast to your in-laws; it’s all about respect and honour, a demonstration of each family’s acceptance of the other spouse. This is also the official moment where you start calling them ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ instead of the usual ‘auntie’ and ‘uncle’. It also symbolises the amount of respect each individual has for each other’s family.

We say…
Keep it! The tea ceremony is exemplary in demonstrating the respect that is primary in the coming together of two families.

Different beliefs, ideals, values that stem from years of teaching have been instilled in the upbringing of each individual involved. What a religion does is to provide you with structure and alternatives and thus, we should be sensitive towards these different values. The following are some examples:

For Christian weddings, some churches prefer that the couple enter into a marriage preparation course before solemnizing their wedding in the presence of God. And this is important because it signifies a communion with God. During the ceremony, a unity candle is lit by the couple and their respective parents to signify the triangular relationship shared between God, their families and the couple. It is an extremely sacred portion of the wedding – an entire segment is dedicated to such a ceremony!

For Malay weddings, almost everyone will have the opportunity to dye their hands with henna during the Berinai Besar Ceremony. This acts as a silent reminder to remind the world of the newlyweds during their honey-moon period!

In some Indian communities, Aeki-Beki is a very fun-filled ritual among the Gujarati community. A pot of water is firstly mixed with milk and vermillion. A ring and a few coins are thrown into the mixture. The bride and groom are given seven chances to fish out the ring. The winner will be considered as the ruling party with a domineering personality and it is predicted (amidst much laughter), that he or she will be the one wearing the pants!

We say…
Keep it! We respect the fact that religion plays a central role in the lives of many. This is something that everyone has to be mindful about.


  • In the Philippines, some believe that dropping the wedding rings symbolises a breaking of unity that ties the couple together.
  • In some Asian countries, dollar bills are stuck onto the backs of the bride and groom so as to bring about prosperity, a belief that fortune would “creep” up on you unknowingly!
  • In India, wedding celebrations stretch over a duration of seven to eight days as the family extends festivities to all their friends and relatives over different days so as to prevent confusion.
  • The Chinese have age-old superstitions like ominous months that one cannot get married in (eg. the hungry ghost festival and odd months of the year), - this is because it is “unlucky” and disrespectful to hold weddings during months of mourning for the dead.
  • The use of red during wedding dinners is believed to bring good luck and prosperity.
  • Some believe in not choosing a married girlfriend as your maid-of-honour – this is because it might “jinx” the marriage unknowingly!
  • Many believe that it is bad luck to see each other before the wedding day as it disrupts such an auspicious time.
  • It is believed that the person who catches the bouquet thrown by the bride at the end of the ceremony would be next-in-line to get married!

We say…
Chuck it selectively! Most of these beliefs are not proven scientifically however if you believe in them, by all means go ahead! Just be mindful that these traditions should not get in the way of your wedding. Weddings are meant to be a celebration of love; it isn’t a day where you have to constantly look out for what is right and what isn’t.

What is ExtraOrdinary’s take on these traditions? We suggest that consider your personality and beliefs first - are you a regimental, sequence/routine-driven sort of a person? Do you think these customs are necessary?

Keep the traditions and customs that you believe in and respect. Squish superstitions which you feel are unnecessary because there just isn’t any proof that such consequences are a result of a choice you made at your wedding! So meet the bride a day before your wedding, wear purple if you like, have your best friend who is married be your maid-of-honour and give your groom the toughest time ever. You deserve it.

Next, explore your budget. Just how much more do you need to invest in order to keep these traditions, customs and superstitions in check? Are they all well worth it – this in place of the constant nagging and “see I told you so” or “We really should have…” phrases that you’ll be hearing for the next sixty years of your life. It really is your choice!

Related Images
Colour: White
Theme: Chinois, Do-It-Yourself
Keywords: Customs, Food and Drink, Wedding Planning

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