Armenian Wedding Traditions: The Morning Before the Wedding
As Armenians, we’re well aware that the Armenian wedding process is no small feat; it is, in fact, from start to finish, quite the lavish affair. From the proposal, to the engagement party, to everything that leads up to the wedding and, of course, the wedding itself, copious amounts of flowers, food, drink, music and family are constantly present. At Harsanik, we like to celebrate these traditions, so we’re taking you through a series of blog posts, each highlighting an event that leads up to the most important day of our lives.
According to Eastern Armenian, or Hyastanci tradition, as well as Persian-Armenian customs, the morning-of ceremonies begin at the groom’s home. The groom’s party and his family assemble at the house. Appetizers are served, and music begins to play as soon as the best man arrives.
Toasts are made, wishing the groom good luck and happiness.
The groom and his party arrive at bride's home around noon. With them, they bring baskets or trays containing the bride’s shoes, garter, purse, jewelry, chocolate, cognac and, of course, flowers.
After the bride is dressed, the closest male member of her family, usually her brother or close cousin, puts on her shoes. Whoever puts on the bride’s shoes can have some fun by holding a shoe for ransom, which the groom’s family pays.
The bride’s shoes are the focal point of several of these wedding traditions. Another prominent custom is for the bride to write the names of all the unmarried women in her family and bridal party on the bottom of her shoes, then cross them off over time as each gets married.
The veil is another important object for these unmarried women. One by one, the bride circles over all of their heads with her veil for good luck. It is also essential that the veil be put on the bride’s head by a woman who has been married for many years.
When the bride is fully dressed, members of both families drink toasts, usually cognac, to both the bride and groom. Pictures are taken, and it’s off to the church for the ceremony.
The Lebanese-Armenian, or Beirutsi traditions differ only slightly. According to Beirutsi custom, the groom doesn’t see the bride on the day of the wedding until the actual ceremony. The dressing of the bride, circling heads of unmarried women with the bridal veil, and writing these women’s names on the bride’s shoes are all performed accordingly, but with only the bride’s family and party present. The groom’s family travels to the bride’s house the night before the wedding with their gifts and bridal accessories. Once again, food and cognac are served, toasts are spoken, and dancing ensues.
There are many ceremonies that lead up to an Armenian wedding, and they can vary depending on the region the couple is from. They do, however, all have one thing in common: good food, good drink, good music, and great company.
For more traditions, visit our Armenian Wedding Traditions Guide filled with past and modern traditions that you can choose to incorporate into your wedding.