Wedding Traditions of Western Europe’s Lower Southwest Region

NicoleHawaii Photographer, maui bride and groom, Maui Photographer, Maui Photography, photographer, maui, photographers in maui, Photographers Maui

Wedding Traditions of Western Europe’s Lower Southwest Region

Wedding traditions vary throughout the world, but wedding traditions of Western Europe are filled with tradition of the old past and are renewed with modern tendencies. The lower southwest region of Western Europe, which includes France, Spain and Portugal, are no different.


A couple items of note in regards to a French wedding, is that the popularity of a white wedding dress being worn by the bride originated in France and was derived from the word “trousse,” which means bundle.

One custom that continues to be in use in the smaller villages of France is an age old tradition of the groom calling his future bride at home the morning of the wedding. He will then escort her to the wedding, while kids will stretch out across the road white ribbons, in which the bride would cut down.

An early French custom that symbolizes the bringing together of the two families is at the wedding reception when the couple lift two glasses of wine; one from one vineyard and the other from a different vineyard. The two will then pour the two glasses of wine into a third glass, in which the two will drink from.

Quite often, these drinks of wine are done using double handed goblets that have been specially engraved and are usually a family heirloom that has been passed on from different generations.

Sometimes, late into the night after the new couple have gone home, friends may show up banging pots and pans, while singing aloud. It is expected that the groom will invite them in for food and drinks.


Although Portugal has taken a more modern approach to their weddings, traditions are just as important to their culture as any other aspect. Past wedding traditions include:

– The groom would have a relative or friend ask the woman’s dad for permission for him to propose to the daughter. If the answer is yes, then the groom would officially seek the father’s permission.

– Pretending to be a cow, the bride would need to be recognized by the owner, the groom.

– The day after the wedding, the couple would go and visit each wedding guest and personally thank them for being part of the ceremony.

– There is also the custom of passing the bride’s shoe around during the reception. This allows guests to stuff the shoe with money, that will be used to help pay for the honeymoon and a new start together.

– A traditional bride may wear a white Chinese tunic that is covered in jewels. While the groom wears a dark suit and topped off with a top hat.

– At the end of the wedding ceremony, the couple joins hands and the priest places a stole over their joined hands.

– Much like the rice toss after the wedding, family and friends would toss flowers and candles.

– After the ceremony, the couple, along with any family member, friend or even strangers will walk together through the streets. This is a way of wishing happiness for their new life.

– Once the new couple has a moment alone, they may drink tea and partake of small cakes.

In a more modern Portugal, you will see these traditions:

– Religious ceremonies are now patterned after Western Europe and the United States. Therefore, you will still see some of the above older traditions, sans the cow impersonation, combined with newer and more modern methods.

– Like many other wedding ceremonies, a Portuguese reception is no different as it is filled with a lot of laughter, dancing and the sharing of stories. In addition, there is always plenty of wine to drink as this party continues for some time.


Items of note for the country of Spain are:

– For a woman getting married in Spain, often Orange Blossoms are a great choice. The orange tree blossoms and bears fruit at the same time; therefore its flowers symbolize fulfillment and happiness.

– Symbolizing his promise to care and support her, quite often the groom will give the bride prior to the wedding thirteen coins, which represent the memory of Christ and the twelve apostles.

– A Spanish bride may wear a black silk dress for her wedding with a specially designed black lace veil. The groom may wear a shirt that has been embroidered by the bride to be.

– A traditional dance, the “Seguidillas Manchegas” is often danced by guests. A Seguidillas is a form of Spanish songs along with dance.