Wedding Rituals & Traditions - Getting married in Belgium

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The European country Belgium has mainly Dutch, French and German speaking people. So the traditions, customs and rituals of these ethnic groups are reflected in the wedding traditions of this country. 

Though the couple choose their life partners themselves and go through dating and proposal, they make it a point to keep their families in the loop. So an engagement ceremony is held by the two families jointly to celebrate the occasion.

Like in Belarus, the couple needs to hold a civil ceremony, like in a local city hall, to get their union official recognition. The ceremony also includes ring exchange and wedding vows. You can't add your personal vows into the civil wedding. You need to say vows like each spouse will have the right to pursue a career without the permission of the other and the place of residence of the couple will be determined by mutual consent etc… Some couple also holds a traditional church wedding later.

A Belgian bride traditionally carries two single flowers with her on the wedding day. After walking up the aisle she would give one flower to her own mother and embrace her and after the ceremony the other flower will be presented to the new mother-in-law. This is a custom to show the new bride's acceptance into her husband's family.

The bride may also carry a handkerchief with her name embroidered on it. After the wedding, this handkerchief is framed and hung on the wall in her new home. This wedding handkerchief will be passed down from generation to generation.   

After the ceremony there will be a champagne reception, where every guest toast the new couple. Unlike in other cultures, a guest may not be invited to all the functions. Only some, like the immediate family and friends, may be invited to the wedding feast. 

After the cake cutting, the couple would sing a song Le Connemara, after which the guest would wave their handkerchiefs or napkins along with the couple.

Later they will organise a wedding reception where lot of singing and dancing may be involved. The invited guests will also take part in the wedding dinner.

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