Two families from different cultures coming together for a celebration of love is truly a beautiful thing. A friend of mine recently got married to the man of her dreams, she’s American and he’s Indian. I was so grateful that I got to witness not only one but two wonderful weddings. Being a part of it, I get to experience not only a union of two love birds but a fete of cultures. Although the planning stage will surely involve a lot of stress and pressure, not to mention a great deal of compromises, the weddings are surely worth it.
Multicultural weddings involve more than just choosing the perfect bridesmaid dresses that all your bridesmaids will love or creating the guest list. Take out the stress in planning the multicultural wedding(s) of your dreams with these helpful tips!
- Take time to choose the traditions to include in the wedding.
The first thing the couple did was to research on each of their religious and cultural wedding traditions and choose the important ones they want to include. Half of the couple is an American Christian, most of their traditions are fairly varied and flexible. However, the blessing and exchange of wedding bands and wedding vows are considered as their most important traditions and thus, my friend and her fiance chose to have it included in their wedding.
For the other half who is Hindu with a lot of colorful wedding traditions, their most important wedding ritual is the seven steps and vows in the presence of fire which is called the ‘Saptapadi’ wherein the bride and groom will exchange their seven oaths to each other and after which will walk towards a fire with their garments tied together.
- Hire a highly experienced multicultural wedding planner.
After agreeing on the important wedding traditions to include in each wedding, they decided to have two wedding celebrations. They hired a highly experienced multicultural wedding planner who made sure that every plan and every detail of their weddings will be executed perfectly.
- Personalize the wedding ceremony.
As it is a union of love and different cultures, each wedding ceremony was personalized to honor both of their traditions. The wedding not only featured the couple’s religion and background but also their personalities.
- Inform the guests of the special wedding rituals.
Prior to the weddings, the couple took time to create an educational video that served as the invitation to the wedding. The video features the couple’s wedding traditions that will be honored in the weddings. It’s a great idea because we knew what to expect and what to prepare to avoid unwanted confusion.
- Choose the perfect wedding venue.
Having one wedding is expensive, how much more if you are having two? To minimize expenses, the bride and groom opted to have a back-to-back wedding in one venue. Having an experienced wedding planner, the room was easily transformed from a classical Christian wedding to a colorful Indian one overnight!
- Feature the music and dances that will highlight both cultures.
The weddings were held back to back and both parties were able to feature music and dances from the couple’s background. As guests, we were able to have fun and learn about Indian music and dances. An Indian wedding is really a vibrant one, the celebration involved a lot of singing especially from the groom’s side. We especially enjoyed the Bollywood dances wearing traditional saris.
- Select traditional wedding costumes.
On the first wedding day, the bride wore a simple yet elegant ivory white wedding gown while the groom wore a smart tuxedo. Guests were asked to wear cocktail dresses and suits in the color of our choice to fit the occasion. Traditional dances such as the heart-warming first dance of the bride with her father really moved some guests into tears which was followed by the newlywed’s first dance.
On the second day, everyone is kindly asked to wear traditional Indian costumes for the Hindu wedding celebration, bright saris for the ladies and embroidered sherwanis and silk kurtas for guys. The couple provided a henna tattoo booth for the guests which brought together the Indian wedding fashion look. The bride, of course, wore a bright and colorful Indian wedding dress.
- Design a fusion menu.
The wedding celebrations will not be complete without the delicious food. As guests, we were lucky to try a fusion of different cuisines for two days! The caterer was able to deliver a buffet, cocktail menu, dessert menu, and of course two gorgeous wedding cakes! Find a caterer that can provide and serve everything, from the appetizers to desserts as it will save you a lot of time and of course, money!
A multicultural wedding union need not be two separate occasions. Blending cultural and religious traditions on one occasion is possible as long as there is compromise not only between the bride and groom but also with their families. What I’ve learned from witnessing a union of two persons with entirely different backgrounds is the power of communication.