ARMENIAN WEDDING TRADITIONS - INTRO

The series below include a variety of Armenian and Western wedding traditions that are often practiced in Armenian weddings held in the United States today. We hope that this list will help future brides and grooms during their wedding planning process and also provide knowledgeable insight of our traditions to our community of non-Armenian family and friends.

We are always looking to add more traditions to our collection, so we encourage you to contact us if you have any additional insight. With your help we hope to create the most comprehensive list of past and present Armenian wedding traditions.

- Part 1: Pre-Wedding Traditions
- Part 2: Wedding Day Traditions
- Part 3: Sample Armenian Wedding Itinerary

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ARMENIAN TRADITIONS - PART 1: PRE-WEDDING TRADITIONS

The Proposal:

Traditionally, the groom must ask the bride’s family for the bride’s hand in marriage, but everyone knows that this tradition has lost its popularity. Yet, it’s safe to say that most grooms communicate their intentions to propose to his bride-to be’s immediate family one way or another. The traditional “Khosk-Arnel” (asking for permission) method is being replaced with a “Khosk-Kap” following the groom’s proposal.

"Khosk-Arnel"

The groom’s immediate family is invited to the bride’s house for coffee/tea or dinner. The groom’s family arrives with floral arrangements and a box of chocolates. The groom asks his soon to be father-in-law for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Khosk-Arnel is less formal than a Khosk-Kap and is limited to the couple’s immediate family.

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ARMENIAN TRADITIONS - PART 2: WEDDING DAY TRADITIONS

The Bride's Shoes:

Once the bride is dressed in her wedding gown, the closest male member of her family enters her dressing room to help the bride wear her wedding shoes. This member of her family can be a brother, cousin, or even a close family friend.

It is also part of Armenian tradition for a member of the bride's wedding party to hold one of the bride’s shoes for ransom until they are paid by the groom or member of his wedding party. This can be fun for about 5 minutes, just as long as the bride’s family members don’t drag it out for a long time and send the bride into a panic!

In addition, every single female present during the bride’s dressing process writes their name on the bottom of the bride’s shoes for good luck. As each single female gets married, the bride crosses off the girl’s name from her shoes.

 

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ARMENIAN TRADITIONS - PART 3: SAMPLE WEDDING DAY ITINERARY

Traditionally on the morning of the wedding, the wedding party is split into two groups which begin the festivities from two separate locations. The groom, his family members, the groom’s men and the best man gather at the groom’s parent’s house. Meanwhile, the bride, her family members, the bride’s maids, the maid of honor, and the bride’s family and close friends gather at the bride’s parent’s house. The day begins fairly early depending on the time of the wedding service. Here’s an example of how a typical Armenian wedding day might be scheduled.

At Groom's Parent's House:

10:00am: Everyone meets at the groom’s parent’s house, where appetizers are served. A Sazandar, which is a traditional Armenian band consisting of percussion and wind instruments and occasionally an accordion, is present at the groom’s house. The Sazandar band begins to play once the Best Man arrives at the groom’s house.

10:30am: The photographer takes photos of the groom wearing his coat with assistance from the best man (or any other close male relative or friend). They photograph and videotape such events as the pinning of the traditional red and green ribbons.

11:00am: The groom’s family makes several toasts and dances to traditional Armenian music.

11:45am: The groom’s family leaves the house and heads to the bride’s parent’s house.

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ARMENIAN WEDDING TRADITIONS: THE RED AND GREEN RIBBON CEREMONY

Armenian weddings have many traditions. The red and green ribbon ceremony is one such tradition. This ceremony is said to be an old Armenian tradition that has been passed down and kept mainly by Armenians in specific areas of Iran, such as Isfahan. As most traditions, there might be slight variations of its’ origins. 

In the old times, the crown that was placed on the bride and groom’s heads during the wedding ceremony was made of white, green and red threads. These colors signified peace, life, and sacrifice. The red and green ribbons are related to this tradition. Accordingly, green signifies life and red signifies sacrifice.

red and green ribbon ceremony

Photo by Vic Studios

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