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Wedding Traditions Around The World

Nikon has been exploring different wedding traditions around the world through photography.

| Nikon D850 in Interchangeable Lenses

Nikon has launched the European Wedding Collective, following photographers from all over Europe and looking at their different takes on wedding photography. 

As part of their explorations, using the Nikon D850 DSLR, these photographers from the UK, Italy, France and the Czech Republic have also been exploring wedding traditions in these countries. Here, we take a look at the special traditions that different places observe:


Wedding Traditions Around The World: Wedding

Louise and Gian (UK) cut their wedding cake. Image taken by professional wedding photographer, Ross Harvey, using the D850 and AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens.

The wedding cake

Wedding cakes have been a tradition in England since medieval times. Traditionally made of fruit cake, Icing was added to symbolise money and social importance in Victorian times. The couple cut the cake together to symbolise their union and prospering together. 

First dance

The first dance is an opportunity for the couple to start the festivities of the night. It's also a chance for the groom to show off his new bride. Traditionally a waltz, couples today often choose a favourite and meaningful song to dance to. 


Funny, embarrassing and touching, speeches are an opportunity for the best man, groom and father of the bride to share memories and thank guests for joining them on the special day. It's traditional to pay compliments to the bride and bridesmaids and thank everyone involved in the planning for their hard work. 



Wedding Traditions Around The World: Nadia Meli

Kotey and Mickaela (Italy) share the tradition of the groom gifting the bride her wedding bouquet. Image taken by professional wedding photographer, Nadia Meli, using the D850 and AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED lens.

The gift of a bouquet 

The most common tradition in Italy is that the groom should provide the bouquet to the bride. She can choose the colours and style, but it's traditional for him to pick up the bill and have it delivered to her. In some parts of Italy, the groom delivers the bouquet himself on the morning of the wedding, waiting for her outside the church (it's bad luck to see her before the wedding).

In southern Italy, it's the groom's mother who gives the bouquet to welcome his bride into the family. 


The bride and the mirror

You're probably aware of the fact that it's considered bad luck for the bride to see the groom on the morning of the wedding. This is taken very seriously in Italy and sometimes the couple chooses not to see each other in the days before the wedding. 

In certain regions of Italy, it's even bad luck for the bride to see herself in the mirror. Brides here avoid mirrors like the plague but if they must take a peek, they need to remove an accessory - this is why you often see brides checking themselves in the mirror without shoes or jewellery on. 



Wedding Traditions Around The World: Wedding collective

Marie and Nicolas (France) perform La Danse de la Brioche. Image taken by professional wedding photographer, Chloé Lapeyssonnie, using the D850 and AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G lens.


Lavender is said to bring joy and luck to newlyweds. It's increasingly being used as confetti as a natural alternative. A bouquet of lavender is placed under the mattress of the newlyweds to bring them luck and passion. Some brides incorporate it into their headdress and offering a bouquet to the bride is said to bring infinite happiness.

Ensuring good weather 

A popular tradition in Northern France is for the wedding couple to offer eggs to St. Claire. eggs are a symbol of life and fertility and the eggs, or monetary offerings of 'paper eggs' are given at a convent for St Claire, who is the protector of peace in marriage. The sisters of the convent will pray for good weather for the couple in return for the donations. 

The dance of the brioche

A huge brioche (sweet bread) is gifted to the groom by a godparent. He carries the brioche around the room in a dance that requires rhythm, balance and strength. All the men dance with the brioche before it's passed to the women. When everyone has danced with it, everyone enjoys a piece. 


Czech Republic

Wedding Traditions Around The World: Simona

Lukas (Czech Republic) wears a horse collar around his neck after the ceremony to symbolise the binding of their marriage. Image taken by professional wedding photographers, Simona Smrčková and Kamil Saliba, using the D850 and AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens.

Horse collar 

At the reception, friends of the groom place a decorated horse collar around his neck. Symbolising the binding of the marriage and the difficulties faced. The bride is also given a whip of ribbons to demonstrate who is holding the reigns. 


Breaking the plates

During the toasts, it's tradition that a member of catering staff drops a plate. The newlyweds must work together to pick up the shards. The porcelain shards symbolise happiness and the noise of breaking them casts off evil spirits. Newlyweds work together and keep a shard for good luck.


Water or vodka

Catering staff put 2 identical glasses on a tray - one with vodka and one with water. It's said that the half of the couple that gets the water will stay home in the evenings, while the one who drinks the vodka will go to the pub more often!


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Photographs taken using the Nikon D850

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