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How do wedding traditions differ throughout Europe?

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Guests throwing rice at a recently wed couple
In 2020, over 520,000 marriages took place in Germany and France (Source: Statista) | Photo: Victoria Priessnitz

Any wedding is a joyous occasion and an opportunity to bring family and friends together to partake in a day of festivities. Part of their charm lies in the fact that every wedding is different, and people across the world will celebrate their special day in their own way.

Whether you have some family heritage you want to acknowledge or perhaps simply celebrate another culture that’s important to you, finding inspiration from other countries’ wedding traditions is a great way to add some extra magic to your day.

Allow your European neighbours to influence your wedding by incorporating some of these long-standing traditions.

Considered bad luck in some cultures, in Sweden is not unusual for the groom to see the bride before the wedding for a photoshoot | Photo:  Pavel Danilyuk 

Sweden

There are lots of elements to a traditional Swedish wedding that are totally different from western customs. For example, the bride and groom typically aren’t expected to reserve their affections only for one another; it’s common for the guests to kiss the happy couple too. When the bride leaves the room, guests of the opposite sex will often line up to kiss her, and vice versa when the groom leaves her side.

If the idea of sharing your loved one’s affections hasn’t quite sold you on the idea of Swedish weddings, there are plenty of other Scandinavian conventions to consider. For example, when it comes to the speeches, you can expect as many as eight to 12 people to be handed the mic to say their piece, meaning weddings in this part of the world can be rather lengthy affairs. While you may not love the idea of having your guests sit through so many speeches, being a little more fluid with who gets to speak is a great way to break the mould and make your wedding breakfast that little bit more unique.

Logistics often trump sentiment in lots of aspects of Swedish weddings. For example, the formal photos will sometimes be taken before the ceremony (considered to be bad luck in lots of countries), and rather than having a designated best man and maid of honour, often the couple will choose just a handful of people and share the responsibilities between them.

Wedding celebrations in Greece can spill out into the week around the day itself | Photo: Jonathan Borba

Greece

Whether you’ve seen it on film or television, or have been privy to a traditional Greek celebration of any kind yourself, you’ll know that big life occasions are taken incredibly seriously in this part of the world. In fact, the festivities will often spill out into the week around the day itself, culminating in a memorable wedding reception filled with merriment and plenty of dancing.

Traditional Greek Orthodox ceremonies follow lots of strict rules and customs, but if you’re hosting a secular wedding, you might just want some inspiration for the evening celebration. Something any Greek wedding wouldn’t be complete without is some dancing. Tsamiko is a particularly popular folk dance often performed at weddings and is a great way to get all of your guests interacting with one another. Instruct your wedding band or musician to go a little off-piste from the traditional wedding playlist and perform some energetic Greek folk music to dance the night away to.

“S’il pleut le jour du mariage, les écus entreront dans le ménage,” popular French expressions means if it rains on the wedding day, money will enter the household | Photo: Dimitri Kuliuk

France

If you’re seeking inspiration from the French for any aspect of your wedding day, the catering is likely to be a top contender. On top of using high-quality ingredients and classic cooking techniques, France’s culinary scene is renowned for big, bold presentations, making it perfect for a grand event.

For a slight twist on the classic wedding cake, why not consider having a croquembouche as the centrepiece of your culinary offering? A popular choice at French weddings, this tasty conical treat is constructed using small parcels of choux pastry, drizzled with caramelised sugar and often filled with cream. There are lots of variations to the traditional recipe, so you can add your own twist to this decadent dessert.

What better way to wash down the croquembouche than with a glass or two of champagne? A staple of any French wedding, bubbly has become closely associated with big celebrations all over the world, and in the spirit of bold presentation, it’s commonly served in a champagne tower or Fontaine de Champagne.

A continental affair

When planning your special day, inspiration is all around you. With so many customs to choose from, don’t feel like you need to put all your eggs in one basket – cherry-pick your favourites from each country to create a truly unique wedding celebration.

Olivia Miller is a journalist and blogger regularly collaborating with media outlets and writing about entrepreneurship, brand authority and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

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How to talk about your university degree in an interview

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A degree student being interviewed by a university panel
Keeping your answers concise and framing them positively are key steps for a successful interview | Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

For lots of school leavers, the decision to go to university is based upon the professional prospects it can offer. Over this three or four-year period, students will acquire new (and hone existing) skills that’ll play a pivotal role in their success post-graduation.

Employers in a range of different industries value the importance of a university degree, so it’s a common line of questioning for lots of interviewers to venture down. As a job candidate, it’s important to be prepared for this.

Your education will stay on your CV throughout your career. However, the earlier on in your professional journey you are, the more value your uni experience will hold in an interview. This is because you’re unlikely to have the professional experience to draw upon to answer questions, so it’s important that you become comfortable talking confidently about this important chapter of your life. Here are some key things to remember whenever you’re asked about your university degree in an interview.

Be honest

At the heart of any conversation about your educational background, it’s important to be honest, since exaggerating your qualifications or experiences could end up working against you. For recruiters today, it’s easier than ever before to check up on candidates and the accuracy of their answers, and providing false information will work against your credibility in their eyes.

If you didn’t quite achieve the grades you were hoping for, being honest doesn’t mean you have to talk about your experience negatively. Instead, you might choose to focus on the positive aspects and how you think they have helped to shape you into a competitive candidate for whatever role you’re applying for.

Don’t neglect your soft skills

Gaining a university degree is primarily about learning the specific skills that will help you to be successful in the world of work. Even if your course isn’t necessarily a vocational one, you’ll constantly be developing hard skills that can be applied to a range of different jobs. While you won’t find them listed on the syllabus, you will also have the opportunity to develop a plethora of soft skills throughout your course, and these shouldn’t be forgotten.

Especially if you haven’t yet gained much professional experience and had the opportunity to demonstrate these skills in the workplace, talking about your time at university is a good way to show you possess the soft skills necessary to succeed in the role. For example, think back to any presentations you had to do as part of a module, where you had the opportunity to work on communication and teamwork skills. Or, think about a term when you had to balance deadlines in different modules, speaking to your time management skills.

Look beyond the lecture hall

Everyone who goes to university will have spent lots of time in the classroom with their tutors, and while it is important to talk about what you did in that setting, you also want your account of uni life to be a little different from other candidates.

What could set you apart from another interviewee when reflecting on your experiences is the stuff that goes on outside the classroom. As part of your interview prep, you should equip yourself with anecdotes and experiences that played an integral role in your university journey, beyond the standard curriculum. This could be a term that you spent studying or in industry abroad, or maybe a way in which you contributed to the institution beyond your academic merits. This could be through sporting efforts or perhaps your involvement with a society that was important to you.

Common interview questions

There are lots of different ways your degree could be brought up in an interview. Understanding the types of questions that might come up will help you to focus your preparations. Often, interviewers will use open-ended questions, leaving you to call upon the most important aspects: “Tell me about your educational background”. Others might direct you to a more specific answer about a particular element of your experiences: “What skills did you learn at university that’ll help you succeed in this role?”. It’s important to remember that your answers can be applied to different questions, so come prepared with a bank of key points to call upon.

Even if they don’t explicitly frame a question through the prism of your educational experiences, you can always call upon them to answer common situational questions. For example, you could be asked about a time you had to overcome adversity, and it’s perfectly acceptable to draw upon your time at university to answer this.

Preparation is key

As we’ve alluded to, reflecting on your time in higher education should be a key part of your interview prep. Don’t rely on recalling odd memories from this period as and when a question comes up – note down a few examples of challenges you overcame and skills you developed during this period that could be adapted to answer different types of situational questions. As with any other question, keep your answers concise, and make sure to frame them positively.

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‘Influencer’ among UK children’s top 10 dream jobs 

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A female influencer filming content indoors.
5 billion people use social media, around two-thirds of the global population

‘When I grow up, I want to be insta-famous’. Young Brits look to social media for their dream job, new research by pocket money card and app nimbl can reveal.

The role of influencer, someone able to monetise followings on websites and apps like Instagram and YouTube, was the sixth-most popular career choice among UK children aged 6 to 171.

About 1 in 20 chose it as their top occupation, hoping to follow in the footsteps of homegrown internet celebrities like gamer- entrepreneur KSI, and lifestyle guru Zoe Sugg.

While teacher was the favourite profession in the study amongst over 1,500 children interviewed – followed by doctor and vet – influencer elbowed out traditional careers including nurse, police officer and musician.

Influencers make money through sponsored content, negotiating with brands to offer paid endorsements or earning share of advertising revenue. The amount they earn can depend on popularity, with Instagram users typically able to monetise content once they have gained a few thousand followers.    

According to YouGov, Joe Wicks is the UK’s most famous influencer, with four in five Brits recognising the fitness coach. About 5 billion people use social media, around two-thirds of the global population.

“Social media has driven expansion of our digital lives, providing connection and transforming entertainment and news. It’s also providing jobs – and the most high-profile influencers are inspiring young Brits careers. “Although long-standing occupations still dominate dream jobs, it’s clear influencers are having an impact, and school careers advisers will need to brush up on their hashtags,” says Alana Parsons, Chief Executive of nimbl.

“For concerned parents it’s important to recognise that – behind the social media sheen – the biggest online stars have built their platforms through hard work, drive and perseverance, qualities that younger generations can learn from.”

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Samsung’s ‘Newfound Equilibrium’ design exhibition closes today

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Samsung’s ‘Newfound Equilibrium’ design exhibition closes today
“Newfound Equilibrium" is showcasing the brand’s user-centered design philosophy

Samsung Electronics today announced that it will hold its design exhibit at Milan Design Week’s Fuorisalone 2024 from April 16 to 21.

A design exhibition located at Le Cavallerizze, in the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, Italy, will come to an end this evening.

Samsung’s Corporate Design Center’s exhibition, “Newfound Equilibrium,” is showcasing the brand’s user-centered design philosophy, “Samsung Design Identity 5.0: Essential∙Innovative∙Harmonious.

“Design must fully take the human experience into consideration, and Samsung’s design principles achieve this,” says TM Roh, President and Head of Corporate Design Center at Samsung Electronics. “With our human-centered design philosophy, we aim to create a future that harmonizes with the lives of our customers through innovation with purpose.”

The multi-sensory experience, featuring immersive installations, guides visitors through five spaces that express Samsung’s design identity. The spaces are titled “Essence,” “Innovation,” “Harmony,” “Infinite Dream” and “New Dawning.” As visitors approach the screens in the spaces, translucent elements change into specific shapes and textures, and the shapes beyond the window appear as if they are approaching onlookers, allowing them to immerse themselves in the dream of an infinite future drawing nearer.

Through collaborations with the human craftsmanship of ceramic masters MUTINA, and wood veneer wizards ALPI, the Bespoke Refrigerator and AirDresser have also been reimagined considering the co-existence of people and technology.

Samsung’s “Newfound Equilibrium” exhibition is located at Via Olona, 6 bis, Milan and offers free entry until 6 PM today.

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