Monday, January 30, 2012

12 Tips for Planning Your Multi-Cultural Wedding

Planning a wedding is stressful; planning a wedding to incorporate different cultures, languages, perhaps even ethnicities or religions is like super double stressful. Making sure that all parties are respectfully acknowledged and honored - as they should be - on top of figuring our how to make this day about you is one heck of a feat....and honestly, totally worth it.

With that in mind, here are twelve great tips for planning a multicultural wedding, originally posted over at Here Comes the Guide. We've just spiced it up a little!

1. Family Chat - Communicate openly with both sides of the family early in the process to discuss which traditions they would like to incorporate.

2. Your Day - Make it clear that this is your wedding but that you also want to make your families’ customs a part of your day. If they’re not 100% happy with your choices, don’t sweat it. It is hard when money becomes involved but it you remember Tip #1, then Tip #2 should be no problem.

3. Appropriate Location - Pick a ceremony site that will accommodate your wedding, and know their rules. If you want to get married in a religious center like a church or synagogue, you may need to take classes or follow special guidelines before you can marry there. If you want to sure special decorations or lighting, remember to ask before putting down a deposit.

Photo Credit: Here Comes for Guide

4. Third Party - Consider getting pre-marital counseling. It may be the differences that first attracted you to each other, but for a multicultural marriage to stand the test of time important topics like faith, finances, and childrearing should be discussed in detail before you walk down the aisle. Talking over the big stuff with counselors can clarify expectations and help you avoid trouble down the line.

5. Cultural Education - Educate each of your families on what would be considered inapropriate behavior in the other’s social world. A wedding is not the place for cultural faux pas.

Photo Credit: Favor Ideas
6. Create Other Options - Don’t feel you have to put all your cultural eggs in one basket. If your backgrounds present too sharp a contrast to be equally represented during the ceremony, there are other opportunities to give each family its due. For example, reserve the ceremony for the bride’s heritage and turn the rehearsal dinner into a celebration of the groom’s. It’s the perfect occasion to explore the African custom of “Tasting the Spices,” or introduce guests to o-shaku, the Japanese sake pouring ritual that reaffirms the bond between friends. If you or your groom is South Asian, why not host a mehndi party for your bachelorette gathering? All the female relatives will enjoy expressing their inner artist through decorative henna designs.

7. Personalize Your Ceremony - Some officiants of differing religions are open to conducting the ceremony jointly and can help you design one that honors both ethnic and religious traditions. Just make sure the ceremony doesn’t try to incorporate too much and run too long.

Photo Credit: Sedona Bride
8. Provide Helpful Hints - Help your guests understand any special wedding rituals. If you’re including unusual elements in your wedding, such as the Mexican custom of wrapping the couple in a lasso, provide brief explanations of their significance in your wedding program so that your guests can appreciate their symbolism. Alternatively, your officiant can clue everyone in to the tradition as well.

9. Double-Duty - Take advantage of ethnic traditions that do double-duty. Did you know that the breaking of a wine glass after the “I dos” is not only a Jewish custom, but an Italian one as well? And the canopy covering an Indian ceremony, called a mandap, looks just like a souped-up Jewish chuppa!

10. Festive Food - Get inventive with the food. Fusion cuisine is super popular nowadays, so make a cutting-edge gourmet statement while demonstrating how well two cultures can blend.

Photo Credit: Here Comes the Guide

11. Two Steppin' - Schedule dance classes for family members before the big day. Not only is this a fun ice-breaker, but teaching both sides of the family a few key steps will make them more likely to enjoy participating.

                                                     Photo Credit: Twin Lens Images

12. It's ALL You - Honoring your families’ cultures is great, but don’t forget to showcase your own personalities. Play your favorite songs and teach Cousin Habib and Tia Elena how to rock the house. Or personalize the wedding favors—chocolates from Ghirardelli Square where you had your first date.

Most important, have fun and enjoy the process. Make it a de Lovely affair!


  1. Thank you Melissa for the colorful and fun collection of Multi-cultural weddings!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the post! We have lots of great ideas for multicultural and international weddings! Hope you take a look around.


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