Around the world in 9 strange wedding gifts

26th June 2012thomas Share:FacebookTwitterShare

Giving gifts at weddings is a long-standing tradition all over the world. Here are 9 of our favourite traditional (and slightly weird) global wedding present institutions.

Image source: kuleczka

1. Sweden

Wedding gifts are usually given as tokens of good fortune, to wish the couple a happy and prosperous marriage. Traditionally in Sweden the bride’s mother would put a gold coin in the bride’s right shoe, and her father would put a silver coin in her left, to ensure that she would always be provided for.


2. China

In China it is traditional for guests to give the bride and groom gifts of money in red envelopes: the envelopes in the picture have the characters for ‘double happiness’ embossed on them. The numbers 6 and 8 are believed to be auspicious, so giving amounts that are combinations of these numbers is seen as particularly lucky.


3. Malaysia

Malaysian wedding guests will also give money to the happy couple, but they will fold it into origami flowers and cranes. There is also the tradition of bunga telur: eggs decorated with flowers and often presented in boxes. They are a symbol for fertility and a hope that the couple will have many children.


4. Tibet

In Tibet traditional clothing is combined with present-giving. White scarves known as khata represent purity and goodwill in Tibetan culture, and are used in many special ceremonies. During weddings the guests drape the scarves around the couple’s necks as a positive symbol for the marriage, sometimes until they appear to be buried in scarves!


5. Vietnam

Traditionally some wedding gifts are made as offerings to the bride’s family, in return for the bride leaving her family. Traditional Vietnamese weddings involve the groom’s family taking presents to the bride’s house. They will take betel nuts - symbols of love and marriage - and pink chalk that represents happiness. After this has happened the wedding ceremony can take place.


6. Fiji

In Fiji the groom’s family also goes to the bride’s house with gifts, as part of the custom of asking for the bride’s hand in marriage. A traditional gift is the tabua - a polished sperm whale tooth - which is not sold, but traded in many major Fijian ceremonies, and is an essential part of the proposal. The bride’s family may refuse the offer by giving the groom a tabua in return.


7. Thailand

In Thailand, as well as receiving gifts, the bride and groom also give them. Many Thai weddings, both religious and secular, are also attended by Buddhist monks. The couple will prepare food for the monks in return for a blessing for their future happiness.


8. Puerto Rico

Wedding favours are given to guests all over the world. In Puerto Rico it is done a little differently, using a ‘bride doll’. A doll, dressed similarly to the bride, is covered in charms called capias. These charms are usually folded ribbons, imprinted with the couple’s names and the date of the wedding, and the bride gives them to each guest as she greets them. 


9. Germany

An unusual custom in Germany is to give the groom the gift of … the bride! The groom’s friends will pose a mock kidnapping, usually taking the bride to a bar. The groom must perform tasks, like singing, dancing or buying a round of drinks to get her back. This is seen as a way of making the groom prove his love before the wedding.

Wherever in the world you’re from, you can find some great gifts for your special day in our wedding department. DotComGiftShop have everything from hen party presents, to wedding gifts and gifts for the best man, so you’ll have plenty of ideas for the big day!