Wedding Drinking Traditions from Around the World (Slideshow)

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Learn about other cultures’ drinking-related nuptial traditions

Germany

In Germany, the night before the wedding, groomsmen will abduct the bride-to-be and take her to a local bar. In order to get his bride back, the groom first has to find her and, of course, buy the group a round of drinks. At the actual wedding, some couples may choose to drink a toast from a traditional Nuernberg Bridal Cup. 

China

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It is customary at some weddings in China for a red string (representing good fortune) to be tied around a goblet, which is then filled with wine (and sometimes honey). Then again, if you hear Ganbei (which means “empty cup”), you and the rest of the wedding guests may be expected to down whatever’s in your glass. 

The Netherlands

The popular Dutch drink Bruidstranen (“Tears of the Bride”) originally called for gold leaf to be mixed into the liquid to mimic the bride’s tears. These days you can skip the gold leaf, but making the concoction still involves steeping fruits and spices in a wine and milk mixture for at least 24 hours. 

Nigeria

In Nigeria, palm wine is served at many celebrations, including weddings. It is customary for the father of the bride to fill a glass for the bride to carry to her groom. After the groom drinks the wine, he hands the glass back to his wife-to-be. Once she has taken a sip, they’re considered married. 

Ireland

Centuries ago, Bunratty Meade was served at weddings to promote virility. Many contemporary Irish couples swap the mead for champagne, but some may still throw in a traditional Irish toast to accompany the drink. 

Japan

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Sharing sake is considered one of the most important Japanese wedding traditions. During the wedding, the groom and the bride take three sips of the rice wine, and then both sets of parents drink, forming a new bond.

Peru

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Many Peruvian weddings feature the national drink of Peru, a Pisco Sour, consisting of Pisco (a grape brandy) mixed with egg white, simple syrup, and lime. 

The Ukraine

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In the Ukraine, unless brides keep their feet firmly planted on the ground, they risk having their shoes stolen. Once the shoe is stolen, many guests will toss it around the room and even drink vodka or wine from it. 

Mexico

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Some Mexican weddings involve a Callejoneada or “walking serenade.” During this pre-wedding festivity, the couple will walk alongside a donkey carrying bottles of wine or champagne to ensure there are always plenty of drinks flowing. 

France

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After some wedding ceremonies finish up in France, friends of the bride and groom deposit leftover food and drink in a toilet bowl, which they then force the bride and groom to drink from in a tradition called La Soupe. Although these days the trash is often swapped for chocolate and champagne, many French newlyweds who search for enduring love still end up drinking from a toilet.