Bosnia is an interesting country regarding the wedding traditions. You can find a mix of Slavic traditional rituals, classic Western-style customs, and Muslim, Christian, and other religious traditions in Bosnia. Most couples have both a religious and a civil wedding ceremony, celebrating for two days. By the way, it can be hard to understand for some people but in Bosnia, the bride’s family traditionally doesn’t come to the wedding reception because it’s believed that they would be sad, crying because of losing their daughter to a new family, and spoiling everyone’s mood.
Breakfast at groom’s house, lunch at bride’s
On the morning of the wedding, all the men in the groom’s family eat breakfast at his house. They talk, laugh, exchange pieces of advice, share funny stories, etc. It’s a male bonding and support before one of the most important moments for the groom. At about noon, they leave for the bride’s house to take her and her family to the wedding ceremony. But at first, they have lunch at the bride’s place. Her mother welcomes her future son-in-law by serving him delicious homemade food. Meanwhile, the bride and her female friends and relatives prepare for the wedding.
Ransom for the bride
After lunch, the wedding guests leave the bride’s house. Only she and one of her closest male relatives (a brother or cousin) remain inside. This brother takes her out of the house and asks the groom to pay a “ransom” before he unites with his future wife. The negotiation about this symbolic ransom is between the best man and the bride’s brother. It can be money or alcohol or even some stuff just for fun – every case is unique and depends on how generous or inventive and cunning the best man is. After the payment is done, the groom gets his bride and drives her to his parents’ house. Her own parent stay at home this time. The groom’s mother greets the bride with a candy or some honey for her marriage to be sweet and happy.
Little boy on bride’s lap
When the bride arrives to her in-laws’ house, she is seated and a little boy is placed on her lap. This is a traditional Bosnian wedding ritual for the couple to have sons in the future. Sons are important for Bosnians because they transfer the family name to the next generation.
At a Bosnian wedding, when the church ceremony is performed, the couple must be crowned. The priest takes 2 crowns, makes the bride and the groom kiss the crown before placing it on his or her heads. And then, he continues the wedding ceremony while the couple has crowns on. It symbolizes that the bride and groom are now monarchs of their future family.
No bride’s parents at wedding reception
It’s rather unusual but in Bosnia, the bride’s parents don’t attend the wedding reception. It’s believed that they would be sad, crying because of losing their daughter to a new family, and spoiling everyone’s mood. So, they’re not invited.
Don’t let your shoes be stolen
During the reception, the wedding guests try to steal the bride’s shoes, especially kids. But she needs her shoes to dance, so if little thieves manage to get a shoe or both, the best man is supposed to buy it back. This is a great way for small siblings, nephews, nieces, or other kids at the wedding to earn some pocket money.
Money as wedding gift are welcome, but…
In many cultures, giving money as a wedding present is frowned upon, but not in Bosnia. Here, it’s welcomed. Although, you have to be careful to not overstep the bride’s father. He is supposed to give her the biggest sum. If someone among the wedding guests gives her more, it’s considered disrespectful.