The beauty and emotion tied up in a wedding is the same the world over. Yet, as with most major events in life, each country or culture has traditions that mark these events. The same is true in Australian weddings. While there are many similarities between Western weddings and Australian ones, there are also a few unique characteristics.
For instance, both parents walk the bride down the aisle, instead of just the father. In fact, sons may also be walked down the aisle by both parents as well. Therefore, families give their children away, versus just a father giving away his daughter. The ceremony is also more likely to be held outside, as church weddings have become rarer.
Another unique facet of these weddings is the unity bowl. This tradition involves the guests, who fill a bowl with very colorful stones, representing the various qualities, attributes, and people that are part of the couple’s life. At the end of the ceremony, the bowl is received by the couple, serving to remind them of the support from their family and friends as they embark on their journey together.
Depending on the religious background of the couple, they may also receive a keepsake Bible from a family member. It may be a Bible with family connections, which has been passed down through the generations.
Another option for the couple is the stone ceremony, which requires a body of water. The bride and the groom each throw a rock into the water, which symbolizes their commitment to stay together through the ups and downs of life. It started back when early settlers could not afford rings, so the rocks were meant to symbolize how they would stay together as life ebbed and flowed around them.
There are also couples that may choose to participate in the indigenous smoking ceremony, where plants that are thought to have healing powers are burnt and then waved over the couple. Another indigenous Australian custom is the playing of the didgeridoo, a wind instrument that produces a low, smooth sound. While the music may not play throughout the entire event, it may play during portions of the ceremony.
Weddings in Western nations may have rehearsal dinners or even a formal sit-down dinner or meal as part of the event. In Australia, however, rehearsal dinners are not common. It is favorable for the reception meal to have hearty appetizers and drinks versus the sit-down dinner.
While many weddings include a wedding cake, Australian weddings may also include a Lamington, which is a confection made with sponge cake coated in chocolate and rolled in coconut flakes. It provides another unique dessert that marks an Australian wedding.
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