Armenian weddings are known for being joyous, festival, beautiful, and traditional. They are taken seriously, and make quite the party, with large groups moving from home to home and to venue to venue. When it comes to traditions, there are some Armenian wedding customs that are sweet, funny, and romantic. Here are a few of them.
The Khosk-Arnel Or Khosk-Kap
When the groom wants to ask permission to marry the bride, he is invited to her her home. He brings along his family and friends, as well as gifts for her family, such as chocolate and flowers. Tea is set out for everyone, and at this point, the oldest member of the groom’s family will ask the bride’s hand. If the bride’s oldest family members say yes, it’s official and the families drink the tea to cement and celebrate the decision.
The Night Before The Wedding
This is when the wedding celebration actually begins. The groom’s family brings things to the bride’s home that she may need for her wedding day, including perfume, jewelry, shoes, flowers, and her veil. They bring these in ornately-wrapped gift boxes or baskets—and they sing and dance while they bring them.
Bride’s And Groom’s House
During the actual wedding day, the wedding party is split into two groups. One group is at the bride’s home, and the other is at the groom’s home. The bride’s home is decorated extravagantly, and there are sweets. The women attend to the bride and help her get ready. The groom’s home will typically have music, food and drinks, and dancing. Sometimes traditional green and red ribbons are placed on the guests’ clothing. The groom and his party will join the bride’s party at her house,
God Family And Role Of The Godfather
In most Armenian wedding ceremonies, there is a couple that acts as witnesses to the marriage. This couple is usually the closest married couple known by the bride and groom. It is also expected of the God Family to bring the most expensive gift for the newlyweds, and make a pledge to accept responsibility for them. The Godfather is expected to present the bride, make the first toast, and handle other wedding responsibilities.
Crowning During The Ceremony
The couple receives crowns from their priest or parents. The crowns are placed on the couple’s heads during the ceremony to symbolize the fact that they now have their own little “kingdom”.
Break Some Plates!
It’s a tradition for some plates—at least one—to be broken by the couple. This custom is meant to take evil away from the home. When it comes to Armenian wedding customs, this one is one of the most fun and memorable.
This is very romantic! Armenians have a saying: “May you grow old on one pillow”, meaning well wishes for the couple to stay together forever. This saying is usually incorporated into the wedding somehow, whether it’s included on the wedding programs or written on wedding favors.
Shower The Couple With Money
During the reception, the newlyweds will typically dance as their loved ones shower them with bills and coins. This is to wish them financial luck throughout their marriage.
The Bride’s Shoes
At an Armenian wedding, at some point, the bride’s shoes will be stolen. When she needs them to get dressed, she will see that one, or both, are missing. Her shoes will only be returned when someone from the groom’s party pays for them to be (usually it’s the Godfather). Once the shoes are “paid for”, a member of the bride’s family will place them on her, usually with money inside for good luck. This is an old tradition that is still upheld today.
The bride may also uphold an old tradition in which she writes the names of her bridesmaids on the bottom of her shoe. As each bridesmaid gets married, her name will be crossed off of this list.
Sword And Money
Just when the groom is about to leave the bride’s home, a male relative of the bride (usually a brother) will prevent him from leaving by blocking the door with a sword. Nowadays, the sword is sometimes replaced with a gun. The groom is not allowed to leave until he pays the relative, and then he is allowed to go.
These Armenian wedding customs have stood the test of time, and are still meaningful for the couple and their loved ones. Speaking of Armenian loved ones, Armenian wedding receptions are usually large, anywhere from 200 to 500 wedding guests, and tend to be held in elegant banquet halls where enormous feasts of traditional Armenian food is served. If you’re planning your wedding and are looking for the perfect wedding venue in Los Angeles or a reception venue, check out Olivia Restaurant or Olivia Banquet Hall. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!