Connecting with all five senses in the Andes Mountains of Peru
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“Traditional Andean weddings take place outdoors, and are meant to elicit the natural world. At each ceremony, a small offering is given to Pachamama—a Mother Earth goddess, revered in Andean culture,” explains global wedding experts, Alex Pelling and Lisa Gant, whom have gotten married 71 times, in 65 countries, during the last five years, including in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The Pellings’ Andean wedding was illustrative of local customs. The bride and groom entered a garden from opposite sides, to represent the coming together of people from different villages. A shaman awaited their arrival, while chanting a blessing. There was also intense, rhythmic music playing. “There was a scent of burning herbs, and the shaman poured oil down the backs of our necks, to elicit physical sensation. Everything that occurs at an Andean wedding ceremony is designed to overwhelm the senses—sight, hearing, touch, scent, all of it. The ceremony is not just someone talking to you, about your union,” he explains. The Pellings gave offerings to each other, and buried a joint offering to Pachamama, which is meant to be there waiting for her, underground, until the end of time.
Searching for Ms. Right in Germany
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In some small villages in Germany, grooms aren’t guaranteed that their brides will make it to the altar on time—or at all. Kidnapping the bride is an old custom, beloved by pranksters, and friends of the betrothed. After the bride’s friends kidnap her, the groom is tasked with looking for his one true love. The best hunting grounds (of course) are pubs. There, the locals might provide clues, provided they are invited to the wedding. If the invite isn’t forthcoming, custom demands that the brideless groom pick up the bar tab—for the entire pub. (Brides used to be routinely kidnapped, around the world. Seriously!)
Showing them the money in Cuba
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Since it is still a communist country, weddings in Cuba are nonreligious, civil ceremonies. Even so, they can be extravagant affairs, earmarked by interesting customs, such as the money dance. Meant to help fill the newlywed’s coffers, this interactive tradition is also tons of fun for guests. After the formal ceremony’s pomp and circumstance has been completed, men who wish to dance with the bride must first pin money to her dress. This (highly profitable) custom is also common in parts of the southern United States, Poland, and Greece. Here’s advice for a happy marriage that couples around the world could use.