Marriage is not only about bringing two people together, but also joining their families. When the newlyweds come from different backgrounds, the wedding can also be a chance to blend two (or more!) cultures together. While this is meant to be a beautiful representation of the couple joining together as one unit, one or both of the families may resent that their child’s spouse didn’t conform and assimilate to their culture, or feel that their customs got the short end of the stick during the celebration. To help everything go as smoothly as possible, here are some tips for planning a multicultural wedding.
- Talk to your families. Be upfront with both sides so they understand the big day will feature different traditions.
- Know the priorities. In a sense, a multicultural wedding is a compromise, and like all compromises it means both sides won’t get everything they want. When combining the customs of two heritages into one event, the odds are that not every single tradition will be used. Determine which aspects of each culture are the most important ones to include.
- Find the right officiant. You will need to find someone who is willing to perform an interfaith ceremony, if applicable, and ideally the officiant will also be familiar with both cultural backgrounds (and both languages, in some cases).
- Provide information to guests. Often programs are easy to skip while wedding planning, but not in this case. Including an explanation of the various traditions incorporated will be appreciated by those in attendance who are not a part of one or both of the cultures represented in the nuptials.
- Consider two services. If your two backgrounds just feel too different or your families aren’t handling the idea of a blended ceremony well, you may be better off hosting two separate ceremonies instead. This can be a part of the same wedding weekend or separated by weeks and months for those whose families live faraway.
- Don’t forget about the reception. Understandably, the ceremony tends to be the focus of cultural traditions, but there are plenty of ways to showcase your heritage in the reception too – most notably through food, music, and dance.
- Remember your own style. It’s still your wedding day after all! Make sure the two of you are still able to personalize the event, rather than solely focusing on cultural touches.
For more ideas, learn what you need to do to have a friend officiate your wedding and discover eight ways to honor your mom on the big day.