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8 WTF marriage rituals from around the world

Do crazy mother-in-laws, exhausting dress fittings and tacky traditions have you stressed out while planning your wedding? Well, these eight weird wedding rituals from around the world will make you thankful that the worst thing you have to endure is watching your parents do the bunny hop.

Northern Borneo

Honeymoons are supposed to be full of hanky panky time, but we doubt there’s much of that going on with members of the Tidong community in Northern Borneo. That’s because for three days and three nights after their wedding, married couples are not allowed to use the bathroom, according to Allen Smith, author of Watching Grandma Circle the Drain. That’s right, no number one or number two! To ensure they adhere to the rules, family members guard their bathroom ’round the clock. This is said to be done as a protective measure so that the couple will live a long and happy life with lots of children, which kind of makes sense. If you can get through 72 hours of pure torture together, you can get through anything.

Wedding custom Northern Borneo


Talk about being pessimistic! Already anticipating the possibility of a messy divorce in the future, extremely traditional Ukrainian couples take premature revenge on their matchmaker by burning an effigy of him or her at their ceremony, according to Sarah Choron’s book Planet Wedding: A Nuptual-pedia.

Wedding custom Ukraine - Burning effigy


Planning the bachelorette party, giving sound advice and holding the train of your dress are all part of a bridesmaid’s duties. But in Scotland, the more dedicated your wedding party is, the more trash you’ll be covered in. Before the wedding, brides are attacked and doused in curdled milk, dead fish, spoiled food, tar and feathers (basically anything you could find in a dirty dumpster) and then taken out for a night of drinking. According to, the gist of this centuries old tradition, called “blackening the bride,” is to prepare the bride for any humiliation or problems she’ll come across during her marriage.

Photo credit: duncan via Flickr

Wedding custom Scotland - Blackening the bride

Marquesas Islands

Planning a destination wedding to Tahiti? Just make sure you don’t bring stilettos! On the Marquesas Islands, it is tradition at the end of a wedding reception for the bride and groom to walk all over their friends and family. Seriously, everyone lies down and creates a “human carpet” that the couple has to tread through to get to the door and be sent off on their honeymoon. This is according to the book Planet Wedding: A Nuptual-pedia, and no explanation behind the meaning of this could be found.

Wedding custom Marquesas Islands

South Africa

Now this is actually a ritual a lot of families probably wish they could adopt. According to the book Planet Wedding: A Nuptual-pedia, in South Africa, hostility is a good ol’ family tradition. During the wedding ceremony, the groom’s side and the bride’s side chant insults back and forth at one another, each time getting more hurtful.

Wedding custom South Africa


Are you the type of person who always cries at weddings? Well, in China every woman is that type, according to In a bizarre tradition, the bride must voluntarily turn on the water works one month before her wedding. Over the course of the month, her mother, grandmother, aunts and sisters join in on the cry fest. Delving further into crazy land, on her wedding day the bride must sing a “crying marriage song” and is judged by the congregation by how beautifully she can accomplish this. We don’t know about you, but we’ve never been able to make crying look good!

Wedding custom China - crying marriage song


We admit, the Paranormal Activity movies totally made us believers in the supernatural, but marrying a goat to stop ghosts from inciting a tiger to attack you just sounds insane to us. In India, some believe that a girl born with a tooth that has already broken the gums is cursed and will encounter very bad luck. She can only ward off this bad omen by marrying an animal (usually a dog or a goat), according to the book Planet Wedding: A Nuptual-pedia.

Wedding custom India - Girl marrying dog/goat to ward off ghosts


Hitting the gym with a personal trainer for some pre-wedding workouts is pretty much tradition in the U.S. In Northwest Africa though, the bigger the bride, the better. According to Marie Claire, in order for a man to flaunt his prominent status, he needs a fat wife. Stomach rolls, stretch marks and overlapping thighs are all indications that he is wealthy enough to keep his wife satisfied. In a ritual called Leblouh, girls from the ages of five to 15 are sent to “fat farms” and force-fed thousands of calories (around four times the amount of calories an adult male bodybuilder takes in each day!) in order for them to gain weight rapidly, thus preparing them to be declared fit for marriage. But don’t assume it’s all ice cream pints and girl talk; the ritual is serious. Women are often beaten when they refuse food and many develop health problems that stem from obesity.

Wedding custom Mauritania - Leblouh, Bride fat camp

Mauritania: Fat or fiction

Big is often regarded as beautiful in Mauritania, but the controversial act of force-feeding is still practiced in some parts of the country.

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