Tips for Planning Your Multicultural Wedding Ceremony

Six points to help you go about planning a multicultural ceremony effectively.

Tips for Planning Your Multicultural Wedding Ceremony

Photo: Lin & Jirsa Photography

They say that a marriage ties together not only the couple in matrimony, but their families and their traditions as well. It’s quite a beautiful sentiment – especially if the pair shares different backgrounds. Unfortunately, this can be a cause for some conflict in some unions, namely when it comes to the customs expected in a wedding ceremony. This can be more difficult for some families than others; however, it’s entirely possible to create a multicultural celebration for you and your future spouse that satisfies both sides. Read up on our tips for how to host multicultural nuptials that make everyone happy!

-   Keep the lines of communication open. From the inception of your relationship, you’ve likely had to deal with a few inquisitive minds asking questions about your differences. While those kinds of inquiries are out of line, family members don’t always see it as overstepping their boundaries – they truly believe they are looking out for your best interest. Hopefully, there have already been open conversations about both sets of traditions – wedding or otherwise – and the engagement will simply mark a continuation of these discussions. Keep in mind that parents and other relatives might ask more than a few questions or even express concern, and the key is to keep them in the loop and answer them – within reason – while also keeping the focus on your love for one another. Let them know what customs you’re looking to incorporate from your culture and your partner’s culture, as well as what might be omitted from your special day.

-   Introduce cultural traditions gradually. On the subject of certain wedding practices, something that may make families more comfortable with foreign traditions is getting to experience them firsthand. If there is an aspect of your culture that you can share with your future in-laws – and vice versa – then it might be a lovely way to bring the families together. Perhaps there is a certain dance you can all learn or a cooking class that specializes in food from your background or that of your partner’s. Inviting both sides to these occasions can play double-duty in letting the two sets bond while also allowing them to learn more about another culture. The parents will appreciate the sweet gesture and you’ll get to spend quality time with your entire family!

-   Consider pre-marital counseling. Even if you don’t believe you need any, therapy can always be incredibly beneficial, even in the most stable of relationships. Not only will you learn how to communicate more effectively with one another, but you will be able to discuss your differences pragmatically and decide how to deal with them while making the process a positive one for the rest of your lives. You may also determine how to communicate with your families should problems arise during the planning process. It’s a win-win!

-   Find the balance. When coordinating your vow exchange, striking the right balance between your cultural background, your beloved’s, and your combined tastes and personalities is important – though the task can sometimes seem daunting. Enlisting the help of a wedding planner that specializes in multicultural events would surely be of great benefit to you: they may even advise you on how to broach the subject of cultural differences with your families as well. It many not be possible to include every wedding tradition from both sides – especially if you’d also like to personalize the ceremony and reception with modern trends – so it’s important to discuss what will be compromised for the sake of wedding-day flow. Keep in mind what customs are most important to you!

-   Explain the rituals to guests. If guests won’t be familiar with any day-of practices, it’s courtesy that you share their purpose in some way. Attendees that have never been to a wedding that incorporates your specific culture will likely want to understand what is happening. This is where a ceremony program might come in handy – writing up quick descriptions of the customs present in your vow exchange will involve your guests even further in your big day. This is also an opportunity to have open lines of communication with your bridal party and your guests: if you feel so inclined, providing descriptions or even links on your wedding website can serve the program’s purpose prior to your wedding.

-   Get excited. Not only are you about to embark on a wonderful journey with the love of your life, you’re about to have a beautiful event that marries your two backgrounds together in perfect harmony. It’s no easy feat, but the end result is something amazing – and your friends and family will enjoy every minute of the celebration of your love and commitment to one another!

Opening photo by Carasco Photography; Event Design by Kesh Designs