Croatian weddings: traditions and customs

Croatian weddings have traditions that stretch back for hundreds of years. Every culture has its customs and while modern weddings are often deprived of traditional elements, adding some can give wedding a certain charm.

croatian weddings

In Croatia, there are many wedding customs and traditions, depending on the region the wedding takes place. In case you’re planning to get married in Croatia and you want to add some local customs to your wedding, we’re going to present you with the most popular ones.

ROSEMARY BRANCH

In Croatia, rosemary is considered as a welcome to wedding guests. Each guest receives a single branch of rosemary which is pinned to their left side as corsages. Often, the rosemary is decorated with a red-white-blue ribbon that symbolizes Croatian flag. It’s a tradition that guests leave some money as a “donation” in a basket after they receive the decoration.

FALSE BRIDE

False bride is one of the most amusing customs in Croatia. The groom arrives with his guests in front of the bride’s house and asks for his bride. A male family member opens the door, but they are not just giving the bride away yet. The bride’s family try to “cheat” the groom by giving him a false bride. This includes a rugged doll dressed in a wedding gown, or the bride’s grandmother or even male family members in one as well. After being fraud, the groom finally gets to see his bride and then both parties unite and leave for the church.

BARJAKTAR

Barjaktar is literally the „banner holder”, the person who leads the wedding party. It is a person who carries and waves the Croatian flag in front of the wedding procession on their way to Church, town hall, or a banquet hall. It is seen as a very important duty, given to people with a long history of being loud, funny and slightly crazy. They are often seen hanging out the window of the cars as the procession makes its way around town from one location to the next.

FAMILY PANTS

Family pants tradition is used to determine who will be the real leader of the house once the couple began living together. After the actual wedding, the two would try to step on each other’s feet. If the groom succeeded to do so before the bride, he would be the head of the house. On the other hand, if the bride managed to step on the groom’s foot, she would call the shots in marriage. In another version, the newly wedded pair would race to the church doors. The winner would run the house.

DANCE WITH THE BRIDE

Another Croatian wedding tradition, the dance with the bride usually starts at midnight. The guests have a chance to dance with the bride, but the trick is that you have to give some money instead. The maid of honor is holding the basket for the money, and when you throw it in, you get to dance with the bride. The length of your dance will depend on how large your donation was and it’s up to the maid-of-honor to judge that.  The more money you give, the longer you dance, also you can do it more than once.

Can you imagine any of these traditions as a part of your wedding in Croatia?

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