Getting married has regained some popularity in Switzerland in recent years, especially amongst couples who want to start a family or already have children. In 2016, the most couples to marry in Switzerland did so in the largest Swiss canton of Zurich. Traditionally, women take on the surname of their spouse. On average, the Swiss spend about 20,000 CHF on a wedding. Most couples have a wedding ceremony in addition to the ceremony at the marriage registration office. Here, most newlyweds prefer an outdoor wedding instead of a traditional ceremony in a church.
Typical traditions, either carried on through family or typical of a particular country, are a cornerstone of any wedding. Many wedding traditions reach beyond borders and are popular throughout the world. Traditions such as the cooperative sawing of a log and tossing the bridal bouquet are some of the most well known wedding rituals. An old custom in Switzerland is the giving of so-called “firestones” (sweet bonbons in colourful paper) to the guests by the bridal pair. Sometimes the bridal pair will throw the bonbons into the crowd, where they are usually quickly snatched up by eager children. Nowadays, this tradition is sometimes reversed and the guests will shower the bridal pair with the colourful “Zältlis.” To symbolise the concept of “what’s mine is yours” at Swiss weddings, the bride and groom share a piece of bread and water after getting married at the wedding venue. This is supposed to symbolically emphasise the couple’s wedding vows. At the end of a wedding celebration, it’s also customary in Switzerland for the bride and groom to be carried out by their closest friends. This ritual symbolically represents that good friendships will endure even after the wedding. There is also a lovely tradition carried out in Switzerland on the morning after the wedding: the Morgengabe. Here, the bride and groom exchange small gifts with personal value. Should the husband secretly hide his present under the bride’s pillow in the night, this should ensure that the newlyweds will have an especially happy and harmonious marriage.
Giving guests small presents for coming or for all their help with the preparations for the wedding is a common practice in many countries. The most important aspects here are the personal value and small attentions to detail. In some countries, including several parts of Switzerland, wedding almonds are a traditional gift for guests. For the classical variation of this tradition, each guest is given five sugar-coated almonds in attractive wrapping. Here, the almonds serve as a symbol for life and the number represents the five wishes for the wedding: health, a long life, happiness, fertility, and prosperity.