Weddings are a spectacular thing – not only are two people pledging their love and commitment to one another, but oftentimes, the ceremony represents the blending of two families. It’s a lovely concept, but it can also cause some conflict, depending on the desires, needs, and beliefs of each member. If you are marrying someone outside of your own culture, this process can be especially tricky, even if both sides are nothing but loving and supportive of your union. For those brides and grooms, we have listed five helpful tips on successfully navigating the coordination of an intercultural event!
1. Get ready to compromise. List out the kinds of wedding traditions prevalent on both sides, then sit down together to pick and choose which customs you’d like to include. Keep an open mind; some aspects may seem strange or unnecessary to you, but listen to your love’s reasoning for the addition before you disagree. In the end, the idea is to design a day that honors both families/cultures while staying true to who you both are as individuals as well as a couple.
2. Don’t close off to continued discussion. As time goes on, minds may change and suggestions may arise. Your family or their family may ask for a certain custom to be integrated – it’s important to listen and consider their thoughts. Your willingness to learning about another culture will likely go a long way with your in-laws. Of course, every decision should truly be made by you and your future spouse, but keep the lines of communication open.
3. Go through the necessary prerequisites together. There may be some premarital tasks you and your beloved need to complete according to one or both of your cultures. Some religions require a form of couple’s counseling before the big day, while others have set events in the days before the vows. Garner what is important to your significant other – as well as yourself – and learn all you can about these particular customs to be able to go through them as a unit.
4. Select accommodating vendors. Everyone from your caterer to your venue proprietor to your invitation calligrapher should be aware of the blended traditions of your event. You may need to do a little extra research to ensure that each one is capable of the kind of wedding you want: a caterer who is skilled in the preparation of different types of cuisine, as well as a venue with the space you need and the willingness to allow certain cultural props, dances, etc. We recommend hiring a wedding planner that specializes in blending cultures, if possible. If you can, get references from people you trust!
5. Don’t forget to personalize. While this day is a mixing of two families, it is first and foremost your wedding day. You and your sweetheart should be excited for the details of your nuptials, not simply going through the motions of their cultural background. Design a day that will be memorable for you and your guests. It’s important to love what you’ve created!
Opening photo by Rad Photographer