Although love is universal, each country around the world celebrates it with a unique, local twist. This is most apparent when looking at wedding traditions and customs from different cultures.
The Irish infuse many ancient Gaelic traditions into their weddings, incorporating the country’s storied legends of the past. One iconic emblem of Irish marriage ceremonies is the Claddagh ring. This ring is handed down from mother to daughter, and is used as both an engagement and a wedding ring. The Claddagh’s sport a distinctive design–clasped hands adorning a crowned heart–that symbolizes eternal love, friendship, and loyalty. The ring has roots in the 17th century and is typically cast in silver or gold.
Romanians are sentimental, and romantic at heart. One unique wedding custom involves kidnapping the bride before the wedding, and forcing the groom to provide ransom–in the form of gifts, dance, and silly tasks–to save the bride. Romanians typically exchange gold diamond rings for marriage, and have another special ceremony for their 25th wedding anniversary. At this time, the wife and husband present each other with silver rings to celebrate their long-lasting marriage, and the beauty of commitment.
The Spaniards are a modern bunch, and prefer to skip the engagement process in favor of a lavish wedding. A married woman does not adopt her husband’s last name, and children receive both their mother and father’s last names. The Spanish also treat wedding jewelry with the same impartiality; both the bride and groom receive a matching set of simple wedding bands that is worn on the third finger of the right hand.