Armenian Wedding Traditions and Customs
The Armenian wedding celebration begins the night before the ceremony when the groom’s family brings beautifully wrapped gift boxes to the bride’s family. These contain the veil, her shoes, chocolate, Armenian cognac, perfume, and flowers.
The bride’s parents’ house is decorated and food, desserts and family photos fill the tables. Before the ceremony, the bride’s brother will place money in her shoe for good luck and he will place the bride’s shoes on her feet. Another fun shoe tradition is that the bride’s single female friends write their names on the sole of her shoe—as they get married, the bride crosses off their names.
Before the bride’s veil is placed on her head, she circles the veil over the heads of the single women in her dressing room to bring them luck in finding a husband. Then a happily married woman will place the veil on the bride’s head to bring her marriage luck.
"May you grow old on one pillow" is one popular toast that can also be used as the theme of the wedding. Print the phrase on invitations, programs or engrave on a silver keepsake wedding favor for guests.
A traditional Armenian bride will wear a red silk gown and a cardboard headpiece that is shaped like wings and covered with feathers. During the ceremony, the god-parents who must be an exemplary married couple act as witnesses. The godfather must bring the most expensive gift and he takes the bride to the altar. At this point, the godparents must accept responsibility for the couple.
After the ceremony, the bridesmaids and groomsmen line up and hold flowers up in the air forming an arch through which the bride and groom may enter the reception. A pair of doves, which symbolizes love and happiness, is released and the guests throw coins at the newlyweds. During the reception, traditional food such as dolmas, hummus, babaghanoush, bourek or kabobs is served.