Falling in love with someone of another ethnicity, culture, or religion is not hard to do, especially, living in a melting pot like America. In the last 20 years the landscape of our country has changed so much and the evidence is in 21st century marriages. What was once considered unacceptable for many people is now beautiful and celebratory — as it should be for LOVE is the ultimate goal.
It is no surprise though that some couples have a difficult time “blending” when it comes to wedding planning. Nowadays the courtship is between the couple and there is little involvement with immediate and extended families in the beginning of the relationship. However, after engagement and the planning journey begins the couple finds that it is not as easy as falling in love. Each family has their own religious practices, rituals, customs, and decorum to uphold in order to feel like they have married their children in the proper way. In a situation like this, no one is wrong and everyone is right. So, where do you go from here?
To avoid arguing and stress induced conversations with each other and the families it is best to hire a wedding planner who understands cultural and fusion weddings. A planner will provide suggestions on how to handle the ceremony, which, for most couples is the part of the wedding that is most contrasting in comparison to the reception. If the religious practices have little to no common ground then it may be best to hold two separate ceremonies so that each family is honored and all traditions are upheld. Another option is to hire two officiates that represent each religion and are willing to combine rituals and sacred scriptures during the ceremony. A poetry reading or a musical performance is a creative addition to the marriage celebration and provides an opportunity to include each other’s heritage.
It is likely that at a cultural wedding the guests attending will also be diverse so it is important to provide a program that explains the different meanings behind the various rituals. The people in the audience want to be engaged in what is taking place so an emcee or translator is helpful when multiple languages are spoken.
Discover similarities in each other’s cultures and highlight them in the reception. Whether food, beverages, music, dances, or décor there are plenty of opportunities to mix and meld customs to create a rich and authentic celebration. For a more neutral approach, solely incorporate the couple’s favorite things from the present that have little to do with cultural background. As important as it is to cherish family tradition it is just as vital for husband and wife to create new traditions and to remain true to their love story. After all, it is for this reason their cultures are joined together.
Photo Credit – Mike Stog Photography