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Cure Salée (Festival of the Nomads)
Where: Ingal, Niger
When: Last two weeks September
This gathering of Tuareg and Wodaabe people in Niger is a chance to share news, trade and develop friendships but it’s also the time when courtship and marriage occur. In this festival the girls get to choose their potential partner and so the men stand in a line dancing and rolling their eyes with lots of makeup, a headdress and traditional costume while the girls deliberate. Parades of camel riders, music, races, songs, dances and storytelling take place over the three days but nomadic groups often remain in the area for weeks.

24-hour Marriage Marathon
Where: Empire State Building, New York City, New York State, USA
When: February 14, Valentines Day
Submit an application by January 1 stating why you want to get married on top of New York City’s highest building, and you could be one of the 55 couples to stand before a New York State Supreme Court Justice on Valentines Day to tie the knot. Surely it could only happen in America, and in this case 110 stories and 1377 feet from the ground. The romantic observation deck is kitted out with a specially constructed wedding chapel.

Wife-Carrying World Championships
Where: Sonkajärvi, Finland
When: July 7
Despite its humorous aspects, there is some history to this annual festival that dates to the 19th Century when it was common practice to steal women from villages. The main feature of the current event is a 100m sprint that includes a water obstacle with wife in tow. There’s also a team event when three men carry the wife in turns. World champions receive the equivalent of the wife’s weight in beer, a bag full of wife carrying products and a statue with wife carrying motif.

Galichnik Wedding Festival (Galička Svadba)

Where: Galichnik, Macedonia
When: St Peter’s Day (July 12)
At this festival a couple chosen from a competition that runs across Macedonia is selected to have a traditional "Galichka" style wedding. These weddings traditionally lasted for five days culminating on St Peter's Day, once the only time when people got married during the year. Of course things have changed but couples still vie for the traditional style of wedding, although it’s now just a two-day event.

Imilchil Marriage Festival
Where: Imilchil, Atlas Mountains, Morocco
When: Mid to Late September
Nomadic Berbers tending their flocks once had few opportunities to meet people of a marriageable age. And so this moussem (festival) began as a kind of shopping expedition to get engaged and married within a week. Today couples still tie the knot in Imilchil while the rest of the Berber tribes congregate to dance, perform musical concerts and enjoy the shopping in the impromptu market that springs up.

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