Photo Credit: Day7 Photography
The answer: Use this moment to promote understanding and appreciation of another culture, heritage, religion, or race. Celebrate what is different, exotic, unique, beautiful; embrace family traditions, mix 'em up, and make them YOUR new family's traditions. This world is built on love; doesn't matter where we come from or what we look like or what food we eat; what matters is who you become together.
So with all that said, here are my Top Tips for a successful cultural wedding:
1. Invitations and Programs: Wedding invitations are the first clue as to the nature of the event. Remember to include some cultural reference in the invitation design; if the celebration spans a few days, a quick explanation of various events is appropriate. Use your programs to explain the meanings behind religious or ceremonial customs. Your guests will have far greater respect and appreciation for the moment when they understand it.
Photo Credit: Ceci Style
2. Music and Dance: Bust a move! Music and dance are the heartbeat of any culture so show it off and play it loud. Include important musical traditions - drumming, bagpipes, Samba, Mariachi - to introduce treasured heritage and get the party started. Traditional dance serves as exiting entertainment for guests, so hire a dance troupe or learn the steps to a traditional dance for your first whirl around the floor and then teach it to all your guests. Ask your DJ to help with instructions or if you are a crafty type, create a step by step dance tutorial card for each table.
Photo Credit: del Sol Photography
3. Food: YES! Food… a great mediator… plenty of food and drink! You know I am a huge advocate for serving cultural cuisine buffet style; let guests sample food and drink without being forced to sit down to a meal of unusual and interesting fare. Carefully vet caterers and have lots of tastings to make sure their dishes are up to par. And don't forget the drinks - we put together a Top Ten guide of the best cultural wedding cocktails - part 1 and part 2!
Photo via: Dex Knows Weddings
4. Attire: In many cultures, newlyweds change attire a number of times during the wedding celebration. Often, multicultural couples opt for a traditional white wedding in addition to a cultural ceremony with an entirely different wardrobe - a tea ceremony comes to mind. Traditional dress honors your heritage, carries on family traditions, and makes for some gorgeous, memorable photos.
Photo Credit: Heidi Dryer
5. Best tip of ALL: Create new tradition. This is your wedding! What do you like, what do you want, who are you - and go with that. Make this your own - why serve wedding cake if you hate wedding cake...serve a meat pie instead like this couple did. Create your own ceremony traditions - I heard of a bride who walked in to the Star Wars theme. Get married by a group of friends, sing your vows, how about some crowns, try handfasting, jump a broom, DO ANYTHING YOU LIKE, just make it memorable and do it together. THAT is how you successfully blend two "cultures."
Are you having a multicultural/faith/racial wedding? What are some of your biggest challenges and what would you add to this list? I want to hear from you so leave a comment below or shoot me an email with your ideas.
Make it Happy!