A truly Australian wedding ceremony: traditions and customs
What exactly is an Australian wedding?
Unlike the wonderfully iconic Indian wedding - with its elaborate rituals and multiple-day celebrations - or the Scottish wedding - where bagpipe music and traditional kilts steal the show - an Australian wedding is in many ways hard to define. Incorporating a blend of customs and traditions from various cultures across the world, an Australian wedding ceremony can vary in size, style and location.
Sure, we might have taken influences from our Greek populations, our British history or even our German roots, but in many ways, an Australian wedding ceremony shares similarities with those in countries across Europe, the US and the rest of the world.
However, there are certainly some things we can say about Australian weddings. For example, the typical Australian wedding ceremony often includes the exchange of vows and rings, officiated by a celebrant or religious figure. Couples may choose to have their ceremony in a church, garden, beach, or other meaningful locations. But in general, the following traits apply:
There's a bridal party
The couple may have a bridal party consisting of bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other close friends or family members who play special roles in the wedding.
There's a white dress and a suit
The bride typically wears a white wedding dress, while the groom wears a suit or tuxedo. However, modern couples may choose attire that reflects their personal style and preferences.
There's an exchange of vows
Australian weddings may incorporate rituals such as the exchange of vows and the signing of the marriage certificate.
There's a party
After the ceremony, a reception is held where guests gather to celebrate the newlyweds. This often includes a meal, speeches, toasts, and hopefully some dancing!
There's a cake
Cutting and sharing a wedding cake is a common tradition in Australian weddings. The cake is often elaborately decorated and serves as a centrepiece during the reception.
There's a nod to another culture
Due to Australia's multiculturalism, couples may incorporate elements from their own cultural backgrounds or those of their families. This can include traditional music, dances, or customs.
There's a recognition of First Nations peoples
Planning an Australian wedding ceremony -traditions and customs
So while there is no fixed concept of a 'traditional Australian wedding', there are certain symbols and rituals that hold significance and continue to be cherished by Aussies.
The real question is then, in what ways does Australia uniquely celebrate the sacred union of marriage? Allow us to share some of the Australian wedding ceremony and reception traditions and customs that you could embrace at your upcoming wedding!
1. A stone ceremony
2. A smoking ceremony
3. An inclusive walk down the isle
4. The unity bowl
5. Territorial acknowledgement
Everyone knows by now that the acknowledgement of country is important at any event or gathering in Australia. Showing recognition of the past, present, and future, a territorial acknowledgement is a positive and traditional Australian wedding custom you shouldn't forget.
6. A different kind of wedding cake
Forget the cake - if you're having an Australian wedding, why not bring in the lamingtons?
Every Australian knows what a Lamington is, with its vanilla sponge cake which is sliced into squares and coated in chocolate and coconut flakes. So if an Australian wedding is on the cards, you can tone up the Aussie by serving lamingtons on your big day.
7. Family heirloom
Mostly practiced in religious backgrounds in Australia, you'll find that if you go to a wedding in a church in Australia, the Bible is passed down to the next generations.
In religious families, the bible - representing a cherished family heirloom - is passed down, becoming the newly married couple's responsibility. In taking part in the tradition, they promise to read and take care of the Bible, until they pass it on to another pair of newlyweds (possibly their own children).
8. Nutbush City Limits
If you thought that everyone in the world heads to school to learn the Nutbush City Limits dance, then you're mistaken.
Australia stands out as the sole country globally where the Nutbush City Limits dance is exclusively performed. The lively line dance is taught in school gyms across the nation and has gained immense popularity, becoming a staple at Australian weddings. Isn't it crazy how things happen?
With its widespread familiarity, the dancefloor is always filled whenever the Nutbush is played, as everyone knows the iconic moves!
Australian wedding stationery by Peppermint Press
At Peppermint Press, we create timeless wedding stationery worthy of a place in your love story. With our ceremony booklets, seating charts, welcome signs and more, you'll make a impactful first impression and create a strong wedding brand.