The old saying of ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in her shoe’ is still prevalent in many parts of Australia, and trendy brides take great care in planning their weddings around their chosen themes and colors.
Let us shed some light on Australian wedding traditions and customs.
Native Australians used to have a ceremonial fire at wedding ceremonies. Many modern couples still prefer having this ceremony. It involves burning of healing plants and fertility plants or tying them together and lighting them on fire as smudge sticks while gently smoking the newly married couple. As the bride and groom inhale the smoke of these plants, it is believed that they will have a long life and many healthy children. A priest waves the smoke from the plants around the couple till it envelops them completely.
Another indigenous custom, the stone ceremony is as old as the native Australian population. Early settlers to the country could not spend a lot of money on their wedding and jewelry so the married couple would throw a stone each into a flowing river. This tradition would represent the newlyweds staying together through all the ups and downs as life flowed around them. While many modern couples choose not to have this custom in their wedding, plenty more opt to keep this beautiful tradition alive at their marriages because of the poignant symbolism.
Return to the Land:
Australians believe their land to be the most sacred during times of unrest. Wars have been fought on their soil, and their land has seen it all. During joyous occasions like weddings, modern Australians hold a small ceremony where they thank and acknowledge the Earth and the people who came before them. This beautiful tradition is said to bring good fortune to the couple and helps them start their new life together with countless blessings from the past.
Unity bowl ceremony:
The unity bowl ceremony is another age-old Australian wedding tradition. Guests from the bride and grooms side fill a bowl with small, colorful natural stones during the ceremony. The rocks should be of different colors and sizes to represent the various qualities of the bride and groom, their attributes, and people. Once the wedding ceremony is over, the newly married couple receives the stones as a gift to commemorate the support and love of friends and family members.
The family bible:
As with many cultures and traditions around the world, Australians also pass the Bible to the next generation. During weddings, the groom’s family gifts the newly married couple a unique bible that has been passed on through generations. It is then the responsibility of the newlyweds to care for, read from, and ultimately give this bible to someone in the family. Till such time that the bible is passed to another set of newly married couples in the family, the special Bible will remain.
Walking down the aisle:
In many countries, the father of the bride walks the bride down the aisle. In Australia, however, it is quite common for the father and the mother to walk the bride down the aisle. Australians believe that a bride should be represented by both sides of her family – her mother’s side and her father’s side during the wedding. Many times, mothers and fathers also walk their sons down the aisle as a show of faith.
While some couples enjoy having a live band or a DJ playing at their wedding reception, Australians also opt for the didgeridoo to be played at their weddings. The didgeridoo is an Australian musical instrument shaped like a long thick pipe roughly 3 to 4 feet in length that produces smooth and low bass notes. These sounds are pleasing to the ears and form a beautiful harmony of Australian traditional and Aboriginal songs.
No matter the custom or tradition of a country, the joy, and love at weddings remain the same. Australians are a warm, friendly people who enjoy good food and great music. Their passion shines through in everything they do, and weddings and traditions are a part of their inherent happiness and joy.