Early African American: Jumping the Broom. In the times of slavery in this country, African American couples were not allowed to formally marry and live together. To make a public declaration of their love and commitment, a man and woman jumped over a broom into matrimony, to the beat of drums. The broom has long held significant meaning for the various Africans, symbolizing, the start of home - making for the newlywed couple. In Southern Africa, the day after the wedding, the bride assisted the other women in the family in sweeping the courtyard, indicating her dutiful willing ness to help her in-laws with housework till the newlyweds could move to their new home. Some African-American couples today are choosing to include this symbolic rite in their wedding ceremony.
Armenia: Two white doves may be released to signify love and happiness. The bride may dress in red silk and may wear cardboard wings with feathers on her head. Small coins may be thrown at her.
Bermuda: Islanders top their tiered wedding cakes with a tiny sapling. The newlyweds plant the tree at their home, where they can watch it grow, as their marriage grows.
Bohemia: The groom gives the bride a rosary, a prayer book, a girdle with three keys to guard her virtue, a fur cap, and a silver wedding ring. The bride gives the groom a shirt sewn with gold thread blended with colored silks and a wedding ring. Before the ceremony, the groomsman wraps the groom in the bride's cloak to keep evil spirits from creeping in and dividing their two hearts.
Caribbean: A rich black cake baked with dried fruits and rum is especially popular on the islands of Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia. The recipe, handed down from mother to daughter. It is considered a "pound" cake with the recipe calling for a pound each of flour, dark brown sugar, butter, cherries, raisins, plus a dozen eggs and flavorings. The dried fruits are soaked in rum and kept in a crock anywhere from two weeks to six months.
Czech: Friends would sneak into the bride's yard to plant a tree, then decorate it with ribbons and painted eggshells. Legend said she would live as long as the tree. Brides in the countryside carry on the very old custom of wearing a wreath of rosemary, which symbolizes remembrance. The wreath is woven for each bride on her wedding eve by her friends as a wish for wisdom, love, and loyalty.
Egypt: Families, rather than grooms, propose to the bride. In Egypt, many marriages are arranged. The zaffa, or wedding march, is a musical procession of drums, bagpipes, horns, belly dancers, and men carrying flaming swords. It announces that the marriage is about to begin.
England: Traditionally, the village bride and her wedding party always walk together to the church. Leading the procession: a small girl strewing, blossoms along the road, so the bride's path through life will always be happy and laden with flowers.