Wedding traditions can be a part of your wedding ceremony. They can come from any culture or heritage. Different traditions can make your wedding quite unique. You can draw from your own culture or heritage. Or you can be inspired by other wedding traditions. Together we can craft them to suit you, who you are and what you want your wedding day to feel like.
A real wedding
Mateja and Jason approached me with a delightful and unique wedding tradition from her cultural background. Coming from Croatia, Mateja knew that there was some fun to be had. She wanted to gently integrate a Croatian family wedding tradition into her Australian wedding. We discussed how to help the guests feel included. She wanted to create some fun and acknowledge her cultural heritage at the same time.
The Bridal Switch
The Bride Switch is one of the most amusing customs in Croatia. Traditionally the groom arrives with his guests in front of the bride’s house and asks for his bride. A male family member from the bride’s family opens the door. However the family are not giving the bride away so easily. They want to make sure the groom really wants her.
The bride’s family try to “cheat” the groom and his best man by giving him a false bride. This can include all kinds of tricks. They offer a doll dressed in a veil, a baby clothed in white, a little girl with flowers. They try to give the groom a straw broom dressed in lace, a bloke in a frock, or the grandmother veiled and smiling, or even one of the young bridesmaids.
After being jokingly hoodwinked a few times, the groom finally gets to see his bride and then both parties unite and leave for the church.
How did it work
In honour of Mateja’s cultural background, on her wedding day at The Rocks by the Maroochy River, we embraced this Croatian Wedding tradition. I sent Jason away for a moment to explain it to the guests. They smiled as they detected some fun to be had. I enlisted their help to call out and object each time a false bride was offered. They were encouraged to shout hints, heckle and advise the groom not to accept someone less than his gorgeous bride.
Jason’s best man, John, helped us out on behalf of the bride’s family. As we waited for the bride, I asked John to go and see if she was ready. He returned with a doll dressed in a long white wedding veil.
There were wild calls of wrong choice and Jason blankly refused to be duped. He said he wanted a real person to marry.So John tried again and returned with a sweet boy dressed in white.
Again the guests loudly objected on Jason’s behalf. And he just stood shaking his head… with a smile on his face. He said, no my bride is a beautiful woman.
John tried one more time, returning with the beautiful bridesmaid, Beatriz, escorting her down the aisle. Surely the groom would be happy with what he had asked for?
Jason told him firmly that he is very close, but insists that Mateja is his bride no other will be acceptable.
The music started and Mateja appeared at the top of the stairs, elegantly walking down the aisle on the arm of her Dad, Mladen.
And so the wedding began, honouring a fun and engaging Croation wedding tradition, and establishing the mood of the day… absolute fun.
Congratulations and thank you for sharing your wedding tradition with your guests. Here’s what Mateja and Jason had to say.
Thanks to brother Sam for the amazing photographs capturing the fun of the day, and to Michelle and the amazing team at The Rocks Yandina for the wonderful support, and sublime decor in yellow and white.