New Report Looks at Wedding Traditions Around the World

04 May, 2019

A wedding in India can have 500 or more, while in Colombia a wedding is much smaller. "It's actually a pretty big honor to be invited to a Colombian wedding," a spokesperson said.

When are the most popular months to get married? Do couples ask for their parents' approval first? How many people attend the wedding?

These are some of the questions answered in a new report about marriage traditions around the world. It was released this week by the wedding websites, and the Spanish-language

Researchers surveyed 20,000 newly married couples in 14 countries about their weddings. They found that in much of Europe and North America, September and October are the most popular months to get married.

In the United States, more than two-thirds of couples still want their parents' approval before getting married. But less than 10 percent of couples in Italy and Spain do. In Colombia, the average wedding has 91 guests. In India, the average is 524.

"One of the similarities that we saw across many countries was the strong desire to (personalize) a wedding," said Lauren Goodson. She is one of the senior directors of The Knot Worldwide, the company that did the study.

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra and her husband singer Nick Jonas arrive for a photo opportunity at their wedding reception in New Delhi, India December 4, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra and her husband singer Nick Jonas arrive for a photo opportunity at their wedding reception in New Delhi, India December 4, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

But, for the most part, wedding traditions are different, even in the same country. In India, for example, Hindu couples prefer to get married on days that are believed to bring good luck.

The amount of time spent planning a wedding can also be different. Colombian couples had the shortest wedding planning period at seven months. That was followed by India and Chile at eight months. Goodson said countries where couples are less likely to live together before marriage usually have the shortest planning periods.

As for the bride's dress, women in the Americas and Europe continue to wear white dresses. But the style of the dress is often non-traditional, Goodson added. In the U.K., 22 percent of brides wore a tiara, just like Meghan Markle, she said

Then there is the cost of the wedding. In Mexico it is traditional to name a "padrinos" or sponsor for the couple. It is a way to honor a relative or friend, but the padrinos must help with the cost of the wedding.

In Latin America overall, Goodson said, couples pay most of the cost. In Spain, parents often pay a large part of the cost. In Peru, Chile and Colombia, couples pay about 55 percent of wedding costs. A large number of them borrow money to cover it. In Italy, parents usually pay about 60 percent, the study said.

Nearly everywhere, music keeps the party going until late into the night. In Chile and Peru, a Latin American tradition of la hora loca, or "crazy hour," is popular.

At one recent wedding in Santiago, Chile, a couple had lighted robots blow confetti in the air while guests danced under bright lights, according to the report. Another couple dressed like Super Mario Bros to surprise their guests.

I'm Susan Shand.

The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

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Words in This Story

wedding – n. a ceremony in which two people get married

couple – n. two people who are married or who have a romantic or sexual relationship

guest – n. someone who is invited to attend an event or visit a home

bride – n. a woman who has just married or is about to be married

tiara – n. a small crown that is decorated with jewels and that is worn by women or girls on special occasions

sponsor – n. someone who takes the responsibility for someone or something

confetti – n. small pieces of brightly colored paper that people often throw at celebrations