Wedding Traditions of Western Europe’s North-Central Region

NicoleMaui Photography

Wedding Traditions of Western Europe’s North-Central Region

Wedding traditions in Western Europe are steeped in tradition, with many going back several centuries. However, like much of the world, these traditions have also taken on modern roles and found a way to combine the new with the old.

As you will see, some of these wedding traditions can be very meaningful, glamorous and take on religious overtones. At the same time some of these can also be silly, odd and all out bizarre.


Many of Austria’s traditions all stem from what is considered to bring good luck and thwart off bad luck, such as:

– Wind and cloudy skies is meant the marriage will be stormy.

– Although it is good luck for the bride to look into the mirror before leaving for her wedding, it is bad luck if she looks at it a second time.

– Red and white flowers symbolizes blood and bandages. Therefore, this floral arraignment is avoided.

– The bride is not to make her own wedding dress.

– The bride is not to wear the entire wedding dress ensemble prior to her actual wedding.

– It considered tempting fate if the bride-to-be practices writing her new name before her wedding day.

– It is unlucky to marry a man with the same first letter of the surname.

– For some good luck, seeing a chimney sweep on the way to the church.

– In addition, seeing rainbows, black cats and spiders on the way to the church is also a good omen.

– Although ugly skies are of concern, rain itself is considered good luck and snow means wealth and fertility.

One other note about an Austrian wedding, an old tradition is whichever partner buys the other a new gift first is considered the dominant person in the relationship. Brides are usually the wiser and often plan ahead as they buy a small item from a bridesmaid directly after the wedding ceremony.


Like many of the European countries, Belgium is no different. A Belgium wedding can be done either as a religious ceremony or it can be done in a civil ceremony fashion.

Many of the Belgium’s new and old traditions include:

– Wedding invitations being printed on two pieces of paper. One sheet is from the bride’s family, while the other is from the groom’s. These sheets represent the bringing together of the two families.

– During the ceremony, the bride will stop during her walk up the aisle and hand her mother a single flower and embrace. The same will be done during the recessional, with both the bride and groom to the groom’s mother, as symbolizes the new bride accepting her new mother.

– During the ceremony, the bride and groom are considered the King and Queen for the day. Therefore they will sit in two large chairs that is located near the front alter.

– The kiss that takes place at the end of the ceremony is a sign of breathing a portion of themselves into their new partner’s soul.

– For the ceremony, the bride will carry with her an embroidered handkerchief. The bride’s name is embroidered on it and after the ceremony it is hung on their wall in a frame. Later, it will be handed down to another bride and the tradition will continue.

– At the ceremony, the bridesmaids will go and collect coins from the guests and as the new couple exit from the church, the coins are then tossed to the poor waiting outside the church. Giving money as gifts symbolizes prosperity for the new couple.


With its rich traditions, Germany is no different than any other Western European country filled old and modern traditions, such as:

– After the wedding date is announced, trees that were planted the day the bride was born, are sold off to help pay for the dowry.

– It is also customary for a wedding newspaper to be created by family and friends that contains stories and photos of the newly engaged couple.

– A German wedding can last up to three days. Day one is a civil ceremony for family and close friends. Day two is the big ceremony for all to attend. Day three is a religious ceremony.

– Wedding guests bring, and then break, dishes thus leaving them to be swept up by the new couple. Sweeping up the mess as a couple means nothing will be broken in their new house.

– While leaving the church from the ceremony, coins are tossed to watching children.

– After the third ceremony, the best man will take the bride from the reception to a local pub. While there, they will drink champagne together until they are found by the groom. Once the groom finds them, he is to pay the bar bill.