Weddings from the World: Armenian Weddings

Continuing with our series about Weddings from the World, this week we have chosen to talk about Armenian marriages.  Armenian weddings are full of personality thanks to its wide variety of traditions, customs, dances and music which makes them exceptionally different to what we are accustomed to.

Before the wedding, the future husband’s family will house the future wife and ask her father for permission to let the relationship continue. Once they get permission, the future groom gives the future bride the engagement ring. To celebrate, they toast with Armenian cognac and they even hold an engagement party hosted by the girl’s parents.

Unlike other cultures, in Armenian, the family of the groom are the ones in charge of paying the wedding costs. The celebration will start will a lot of rituals the evening before the religious wedding, let’s go through them:

  • Late at night, the groom, family and friends will go to the bride’s house to deliver the veil she will wear during the wedding. They will play music, dance and bring gifts. While they are celebrating, they steal the shoes that the bride will wear on the wedding ceremony which symbolizes how the girl will be taken away from her family. To recover the shoes, the best man and maid of honor must pay a ransom.
  • The day of the wedding, the groom and his family will take the wedding dress to the bride and will ask the father permission for her to wear it.
  • The brother or the closest male to the bride, will put her shoes on and place money inside to wish her luck and fortune.
  • Before putting her veil on, the bride will pass it over the bridesmaids head to wish them luck in finding good husbands. Then, a happily married woman will put her the veil on to have good luck.
  • Since the bridesmaids are single, the wedding day they will write their names on the right sole of the bride’s shoe. Once the party is over, the bride will check her sole and that name which can still be read, will be the next to get married.
  • Green and red ribbons are placed by his mom on the groom’s jacket to symbolize happiness, promises, health and wellness.

The Religious Wedding

During the ceremony, the priest will bless the rings and then put the hands of the couple together to represent their union.  The couples make their vows and promise to support and commit to each other. The best man will lift a cross over their heads to legitimize their union. After that, the priest puts their forehands together to represent that even if they might have different opinions, they must agree based on trust, love and solidarity. Also, the couple gets crowned to symbolize their power and authority while taking the lead in their home. Finally, the priest will pray, they drink a glass of blessed wine and commit to live their lives as one.

  • When they leave the church, two doves are released to wish the, happiness and love. In the meantime, guests will throw flowers and petals to the couple.
  • Before celebrating, the couple will break decorated plates at the entrance of the venue. This ward off evil spirits as well as negative energies. They also do it before they enter their new home.
  • When they enter, the go under an arch made of flowers which symbolizes happiness and prosperity.
  • To welcome the couple, the guests will have colored scarves (usually red and green as the groom’s ribbons) and they will wave them while dancing.
  • Finally, we have the shabash which consist on throwing money and coins to the couple to wish them fortune, wealth and good luck.