(Deep breath…) Ideas. What you need are ideas. And here are some that will inspire you. Read on and then get thinking about how to incorporate individual touches from both your lives and cultures in your one-of-a-kind wedding.
Play up your heritage’s traditional wedding attire — or honor your groom by wearing something symbolic of his culture at your wedding. Wear a Western wedding gown for your ceremony and then change into an Indian sari or Japanese kimono or red Vietnamese ao dai for your reception, dinner and dance. Is your heart set on wearing your dream wedding gown all day? Bring in elements of your and your fiance’s culture with touches of African kente cloth, a red sash for Asian-style luck or a Scandinavian wedding crown.
Provide a feast of delicious, ethnic food guests will love! Set up food stations for dinner where guests can help themselves to the cuisine you and your fiancé grew up with: an Italian antipasto spread, Asian sushi and stir fry, Southern fried chicken and grits, foie gras and French cheeses, Jamaican jerk.
Perform a Chinese tea ceremony, jump the broom in an African American tradition, enter the ceremony on a horse as common in Indian weddings, host a mendhi party as Indian brides do, base your ceremony on a Celtic hand fasting. Also incorporate traditional music into your ceremony and reception, like bagpipes, sitar, Chinese flute. These customs can be included in the framework of a Western wedding ceremony, or you can add them in before or after “I do” in a nod to where you came from.
A symbol of your heritage and culture can become like the “logo” of your wedding — used on invitations, programs, favors, napkins and more. Think Asian double happiness symbol, Celtic knot symbolizing eternal love, peacock symbolizing love and life in Indian cultures…
If you’re blending cultures, it’s guaranteed that not everyone will speak the same language. So make sure everyone feels included by printing your invitations and wedding programs in two languages. Also have prayers spoken in both languages during the ceremony for a beautiful way to honor your background.
Most of all, remember that here are no hard-and-fast rules for how to create a multi-cultural wedding that’s still personal and the way you want it to be. Let your hearts be your guide, respect your families’ wishes and create something totally unique and totally yours!