Couple in traditional Lao dress
Culture & tradition,  Themed galleries,  Words of Wisdom

Gallery: wedding couples around the world

So don’t hurt each other, don’t change each other, don’t analyse and don’t expect more than each other can give. Smile when your beloved makes you happy, let them know when they make you mad, and miss them when they’re not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect people don’t exist, but there’s always one person that is perfect for you.

Bob Marley (attributed)

The above is an extract from the reading my sister gave at her son’s wedding last weekend. It struck a chord with me, as it probably did with most of the ‘coupled-up’ people in the church. And as it probably would with any newly-wed.

Words of Wisdom is a new monthly challenge run by Paula, of Lost in Translation. She asks us to ‘write a quote either by someone famous, or your own, and illustrate it in images taken by you’. As it happens I have quite a few photos of weddings and wedding couples. These aren’t of weddings I’ve attended, but weddings and wedding photo-shoots I’ve stumbled across in different parts of the world and gate-crashed!

People in traditional Japanese dress

A wedding procession at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo


Couple in traditional Japanese dress
Couple in traditional Japanese dress

Another wedding couple at the Meiji Shrine


Young woman in yellow dress and gold tiara

The bride at a traditional Cambodian wedding we stumbled across near Siem Reap


Group of young people in colourful traditional dress

Bridesmaids and attendants at the same Cambodian wedding


Couple in traditional Lao dress
Couple in traditional Lao dress

Couples posing at Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang


Bridal couple and autumn leaves
Bridal couple with the Eiffel Tower in the background

Outside the Grand Palais in Paris


Sepia photo of a bride and groom

By the church of San Stefano in Bologna (an evening shot so rather noisy unfortunately)


Bridal couple and man playing bagpipes

We came across what appeared to be an actual wedding on the North Shore of Holy Island, Northumberland. Looking back I think it must have been a blessing rather than a wedding ceremony, as in those days there were more restrictions on where you could legally marry. Today, marrying here would probably be possible.


Large stone sculpture of a couple with a bunch of flowers in front

We were just too late to photograph a wedding couple at the Earthquake Memorial in Tashkent, but I did get a shot of the bouquet left by the bride


Bouquet on a car bonnet

This bouquet was on a wedding car I spotted outside the town hall in Leipzig, Germany


Women in traditional Korean dress and men in uniform

And finally, we saw lots of couples laying bouquets at Mansudae Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea, and paying their respects to the Dear Leaders

49 Comments

  • grandmisadventures

    What a gift to catch these glimpses of so many weddings around the world. Each so different yet so moving. I attended a wedding in Tahiti and thought it was the greatest celebration I’ve ever seen.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Ooh, that must have been marvellous! We’ve been to two in Austria and even that was far enough from home for many of the customs to be a bit different from ours. But Taiwan?! That would be REALLY interesting 🙂

  • rosalieann37

    I have a lot of photos of weddings too but most of them are the marriages of my children and grandchildren and my sister – that’s 10 right there. Sometimes when I go to a wedding of a friend’s child, I take a lot of candid photos and then give them to the couple.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I like to do that too. I have photos from my nephew’s wedding, and from a friend’s wedding in Austria a few years ago, but I decided against sharing them here.

      • rosalieann37

        In 1950 my dad took movies of a Dutch wedding in Marken or Volendam (I don’t know which) and I’ve posted all the movies that he took in the Netherlands in 1950 on u-tube.

    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter

      And I thought British weddings had got very fancy these days! So colourful. My favourite photo is the Luang Prabang couple in the header, who appear again later. Beautiful outfits. They look very young and very solemn. We’ve occasionally come across weddings on our travels, but we see them here nearly every weekend. The Botanic Gardens near us is very popular for photographs, especially as there are two big wedding venues just opposite. We always joke “another good woman bites the dust” because apparently I said this when John’s sister got married. We had just met at the time, so obviously I changed my mind! So did his sister who is now onto husband number 3.

      • Sarah Wilkie

        I actually realised (rather too late to include them) that I’d stumbled across a wedding photo shoot in a London park too – a Muslim couple in Holland Park, looking very glamourous in traditional outfits. I had to smile at your last sentence 😆

        And don’t worry about the comment box, it happens all the time. I think it may in part due to my theme and/or settings, but I like the theme too much to change it and can’t work out if it might be a settings thing!

  • Marsha

    Like your other readers, I am astounded how you stumble onto weddings. I photographed one in Balboa park, but I don’t often stumble onto weddings, and when I do, I’m not prepared. The brides in all of those weddings were unbelievably gorgeous. The headdresses were so foreign to what we see here in the United States, too. Great post, and I’d give the quote 10/10, too. 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I hadn’t realised how surprised people would be that I’ve come across this many weddings and wedding shoots 😆 I guess travelling a lot, and always with a camera, helps, but I’m certainly not the only person to do that!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      There were many such groups there – it’s expected of them to want to share their happiness with the Leaders. The same with birthdays etc. too.

  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    So very interesting. I love how you capture the people in the places you visit. Do you simply ask them if they mind being photographed or do you give them a gift? How does this work? I can’t imagine doing this in the US.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      All of these are candid shots, taken with a zoom lens. In many cases the subjects were aware I was photographing them but didn’t mind, in other cases they may not even have realised. I do sometimes ask people if I can take their photo but I wouldn’t have done so on any of these occasions as the couples were presumably paying their professional photographer and wouldn’t have wanted to break off from the session to pose for me! I also tend to prefer candid shots – often when you ask for a shot the person freezes and becomes rather stiff, whereas I’d rather get a more natural photo of them if I can.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much Jo. This seems a fun new challenge and I quite like the fact that it’s monthly rather than weekly, so I’m sure I’ll be joining in again 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Haha 😂 Some are pure luck (Paris, Bologna, Holy Island) but others are a result of going to the sort of places that wedding couples frequent for photoshoots (like that temple in Luang Prabang) or for weddings themselves (Meiji Shrine). Incidentally I would suggest that it would be hard to find dunes more remote than those ones on the north shore of Holy Island, which made coming across that ceremony all the more surprising. We followed the sound of the bagpipes!

  • wetanddustyroads

    I just love weddings. And you have been fortunate to take photo’s of so many “international” wedding couples – wow! They all look lovely (some happier than others) … but surely a celebration of love!
    PS: And 10/10 for that beautiful quote at the beginning of your post 💕.

  • katieshevlin62gmailcom

    I loved your photo’s Sarah! I also like it when I stumble across a wedding or a ceremony of some kind on my travels. Also, when I lived abroad in several countries, I’ve also attended a few funerals. The cultural contrast of funerals can be immense!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I can imagine it would be Katie. I’ve not been to any funerals abroad, but I’ve been to a couple of weddings, in addition to these ‘accidental ones’. I thought about including them but decided to focus on these serendipitous moments.

  • Oh, the Places We See

    How fortunate for you to be in the right places at the right times! I love seeing how people are married in various countries, but it’s only accidental that I do so. Lovely shots from all over!

    • Annie Berger

      Loved you quote read by your sister at her son’s wedding. Certainly wouldn’t have attributed it to Bob Marley. Gorgeous photos especially the ones in Japan. Will add that site to our Japan itinerary on the hope we can travel there after our stop was cancelled in 2020.as I’m always a sucker for weddings!

      • Sarah Wilkie

        I think there’s some debate about whether Marley really said it, but most sources seem to attribute it to him. As for Japan, I do hope you get to go there! It’s one of my favourite countries that I’ve visited and the culture seems to me to be completely unique. If you’re in Tokyo for any length of time do make a side trip to Nikko (ideally overnight at least) – it’s amazing!

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