Weddings are all about uniting two people and their families. While some of these individuals come from similar backgrounds, cultures, and religions, that’s not always the case. Love is beautiful, and we never know who we’ll end up with. When the two of you come from different ethnic or religious backgrounds, you’ll want to follow a wider variety of traditions when you tie the knot. Get the best advice on the dos and don’ts in this guide to planning a multicultural wedding!
A multicultural wedding is a wonderful way of celebrating two different cultures as you and your partner begin your life together. As you start planning for this exciting day, some things you should do include:
- Have a clear vision
- Work with a planner
- Talk to your family
- Offer a variety of food
Noting these items helps you plan your wedding and include the best details for your ideal outcome. Our culture is important to our identity, and both parties should feel respected.
Have a Clear Vision
Planning a wedding is a lot of work, and when you want to pay respect to two different cultures, you may have to do a bit more planning. First, sit down with your partner and decide which traditions from your heritage you most want to incorporate into the wedding. This gives you a better idea of the timeline you’ll establish, the venue you’ll need, how you’ll decorate it, and more.
Work With a Planner
Contact a wedding planner if you struggle to think of how you’ll organize the ceremony, decorations, entertainment, and more. These experts can help you fit all those details into the day without feeling stressed. As you search, aim to hire a wedding planner focusing on multicultural weddings as these are a bit different than “traditional” weddings—you want to give both cultures equal respect.
Talk to Your Family
Contact your parents and other relatives to ask about cultural traditions as you gather more information on one another’s backgrounds. You may even want to host a small gathering with your immediate family to dive briefly into your cultures. This gives both of you firsthand experience before the big day and helps as you inject those details into the wedding.
Talking with your family is also a great way to battle pre-wedding anxiety. They may have ideas about how you can add in specific traditions. Your parents can also help calm those normal pre-wedding nerves.
Offer a Variety of Food
The cuisine is a major aspect of culture, and what better way to allow guests to explore these things than by enjoying something delicious? If you’d prefer a basic dish like chicken for the main course, offer cultural foods at cocktail hour or when dessert comes out!
When the cake comes out, consider also offering guests a variety of treats from both cultures. This can include cookies, candies, pastries, and other sweets. Again, provide bite-sized options so they can try various flavors from both backgrounds.
Now that we’ve covered the dos of planning a multicultural wedding, let’s talk about the don’ts so you know what to avoid doing. Planning any wedding is hard work, and when it comes to your multicultural wedding, you shouldn’t:
- Feel limited to one ceremony
- Neglect sharing cultural importance
- Overlook the entertainment
When you give attention to every detail, your guests have an easier time engaging with both cultures at this celebratory event. Below, we’ve further detailed what you should avoid so you can plan your wedding accordingly.
Feel Limited to One Ceremony
One culture shouldn’t outshine the other since both are incredibly important and show aspects of you and your partner. Sometimes, blending those details into one wedding is hard, and you don’t want things to feel crammed in. Every culture and religion celebrates marriage differently. None is more important than the other.
The problem with cramming everything into a single day is that you have time constraints, and things shouldn’t feel rushed or last minute—traditions may not get the respect they deserve. When in doubt, have two ceremonies so both cultures get the attention they deserve as you celebrate your beautiful marriage.
When you have two weddings, you can dedicate each to celebrating a specific culture. This allows you and your partner to share this important part of yourselves. And if you’re worried about price, things don’t have to go over budget. You can hold separate ceremonies but one reception where you bring everything together as you celebrate, which is a perfect way to symbolize your new union.
Neglect Sharing Cultural Importance
If you and your partner come from two very different cultures, half your guests will understand some traditions while the other half won’t, and vice versa. Consider explaining all cultural traditions you decide to incorporate into the wedding on your:
- Wedding program
- Wedding website
Keeping all your guests informed makes it easier for everyone to feel included as they learn about your backgrounds.
Invitations and Wedding Programs
Consider putting a brief explanation of different cultural traditions and why they’re important on the wedding program so guests have it with them on the wedding day. Likewise, you could jot these items down and send them on a separate card along with the wedding invitation so curious guests can do some research or ask questions. This allows everyone to feel informed on the big day.
Many also add information about their heritage and traditions to expect at the wedding on their websites. Typically, couples put essential information on wedding websites that could not fit on an invitation. This may include information like members of the wedding party, activities to do in the area, how you and your partner met, etc. If you’re having a multicultural wedding, this is the perfect place to add details about specific traditions and their histories.
Consider adding two tabs on your wedding website so you can dedicate each one to each of the two cultures you’ll celebrate. You could even add a third tab where you explain new traditions you two created to blend your families!
Overlook the Entertainment
Just like food, dancing and music are vital parts of culture, they are fun ways to add extra bits of your heritage. Consider playing cultural music at your reception or doing a dance. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different details. After all, you’re combining two separate cultures—things should appear original!
Closing Note: Keep Things Personalized
A wedding is about joining two families, so it can be easy for parents to get caught up in all the excitement and inject their ideas into things. Remember, this is your day, and while their ideas are welcome, you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing anything. There may be some cultural traditions that aren’t as important to you, and you may not care to include them in the wedding.
Sit with your partner and determine which traditions you most want to include in the wedding. If this results in a long list and requires two ceremonies, that’s okay! Your wedding is one day about you, so you two get to decide on everything you’ll include to make the celebration fit your definition of perfection.