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Czech Wedding Traditions and Customs

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Traditionally the bridesmaids make a wreath of rosemary for the bride to wear—it symbolizes the wish for wisdom, love, and loyalty. In the Czech Republic the tradition of wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue is strictly followed; however, the borrowed item must belong to a friend who is already married and the something old must be a family heirloom.

After the ceremony, friends of the groom would hang a rope decorated by flowers, ribbons, and empty bottles. The groom needed to pay his friends in order to pass through the rope and pay himself out of the sins of his youth. Throwing rice at the newlyweds was a way to ensure fertility.

To start off the reception, someone in the wedding party would break a plate at the feet of the bride and groom. The newlyweds would then proceed to sweep the chips together to insure happiness and show a willingness to work together. Another tradition to symbolize the couple’s willingness to work together occurs during the dinner when the bride and groom share their soup with one spoon.

Towards the middle of the party, the groomsmen will kidnap the bride and the groom must find her within a specific period of time, otherwise he must buy her back from his friends, to symbolize the fact that he has promised to care for and protect her. At the end of the reception, following the Czech wedding song, the bride’s veil and the groom’s shoes were carried around by the best man and maid of honor so that guests could put in some money for the honeymoon.

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