Lots of couples who choose to have a destination wedding decide to incorporate references to their chosen wedding location in their wedding day.
You want your wedding to be personal and unique so adding some traditions from your chosen country is a great way to give your wedding something extra special.
There are lots of Croatian wedding traditions that differ from region to region. Here in Istria, we have our own wedding traditions that reflect our local area.
Croatian weddings are jovial celebrations with lots of food, wine and dancing so you’ll find many Croatian wedding traditions are humorous, entertaining customs, perfect for adding more fun memories to your special day.

Croatian wedding traditions

Croatian weddings are structured in a slightly different way to weddings in the UK, US and some parts of Europe. In Croatia, guests of the groom gather at his house for drinks and dancing first.
Next it is on to the bride’s house, in a raucous procession headed by a rousing flag bearer whooping and cheering.
On arriving at the bride’s house, the groom must coax and woo the bride out. Once successful, everyone spends about an hour at the bride’s house drinking and dancing before heading to the church in an even bigger procession.
You probably won’t want to restructure the beginning of your wedding day or have a noisy procession through the streets of Istria but there are many smaller Croatian traditions you can incorporate into your wedding day.
From food to wine, wedding favours, dancing and animals, let’s take a look at 5 top Istrian wedding traditions you may want to incorporate into your wedding in Istria plus a few nationwide customs you’ll love.

5 Top Istrian Wedding Traditions


Istrian food

Istria is known as a foodie destination. With its long history as a place where Italians like to holiday and reside as well as its favourable proximity along the Adriatic coast, Istria is overflowing with delicious foods and wines.
Think Italian gourmet food and you’ll get a good picture of what’s in store. From cured meats to cheeses, wild asparagus, aged ham, fresh olive oil, seafood, olives and lots more, food in Istria is absolutely delicious.
Cuisine of this type can be easily incorporated into the wedding menu to give a nod to your chosen destination. Local cheeses, cured meats, regional delicacies, olives, pastries, desserts and seafood fresh from the Adriatic will all make a welcome addition to any wedding menu.
For something extra special, you might want to think about using truffles.
One of the most surprising things about Istrian cuisine is the abundance of white and black truffles found in the region and used generously in all sorts of dishes.
You could include truffle oil or truffles somewhere in your wedding menu. However, truffles are a bit like Marmite, people either love them or hate them - so beware of how you add them to your wedding food!


Istrian wine

It’s not just food, Istria also produces lots of sumptuous wines as well as a regional grappa - a grape based brandy.Local wines are of course, easy to include amongst your wedding drinks and wine-tasting tours before the wedding day can be easily arranged so you can select the perfect wine to accompany your wedding meal.


Istrian wedding favours

Wedding favours are always a great way to add a personal touch to your wedding and with a little creativity it is easy to give them a local slant.
Mini bottles of Istrian wine, olive oil, grappa, honey and other regional foods or drink can be readily given away as wedding favours.
Alternatively, local botanicals plentiful throughout the region, such as lavender or rosemary, can be given a nod through the gifting of lavender or rosemary infused candles, soaps and other scented products.


Using the natural environment

Istria’s spectacular landscape and breathtaking vistas will have positively influenced your decision to get married in Istria. When thinking about how to incorporate Istria into your wedding, why not consider how you can use the natural environment within your wedding day?
You could use local plants and flowers, such as olive leaves, lavender or wild florals, within your wedding decor or use the colours of local flowers or the landscape as inspiration for your wedding colours or theme.
Allowing your colours, theme and decor to complement your location will give the added touch of sophistication and style you want.
Don’t forget to ensure your wedding photography makes excellent use of your beautiful location and we would be more than happy to let you know about all the great places to take your wedding photographs in Istria.


Local animals

Who doesn’t love a wedding photo that includes a furry friend.?
Contemporary weddings are so diverse, it is becoming increasingly popular to have animals feature somewhere in your wedding.
If you are getting married in Istria and love animals, why not see if it is possible for some cute local animals to feature somewhere in your wedding photography? Who could resist a sweet wedding shot with an Istrian goat or donkey between the two of you?

Top Croatian Wedding Traditions

Beyond the raucous processions through the streets, on foot or by car, there are some other Croatian wedding traditions you might like to include in your wedding.

Wedding dance: When the clock strikes 12 midnight, it is a Croatian tradition that each guest has an opportunity to dance with the bride but they must hand over some money to the chief bridesmaid first.
The chief bridesmaid decides how long the guest is allowed to dance with the bride, according to the amount of money the wedding guest handed over before commencing the dance.

Rosemary: Rosemary can be found growing all over Istria and it is a Croatian tradition to gift the wedding guests a small branch of rosemary or a rosemary bracelet as they arrive, to signal how welcome their presence is.
Wedding guests pin their rosemary branch on the left side of their chest and can leave a small donation if they wish. In recent years, couples have swapped the branches for rosemary bracelets so there is no need to place a pin into luxe fabrics and expensive clothing.

Who’s the boss: From a race to the church doors after the ceremony to games at the reception or even seeing who steps on each other’s foot first, traditionally the bride and groom must compete to determine who will be in charge in their new home!

For advice on incorporating Istrian traditions into your wedding or expert wedding planning for your wedding in Istria, get in touch with us today.

We are a highly experienced team of Istria wedding planners, wedding photographers, wedding videographers and wedding designers. Based in Istria, we deliver exceptional, luxury wedding planning services to couples from the UK, US, Italy, Austria, Croatia and all over the globe. We love to turn couple’s ideas, dreams and wishes into stylish, luxurious, fun and unforgettable weddings in Istria.
Get in touch with us today at or on +385 95 9122041.