One Wedding - Two Cultures: How to Blend Cultures on Your Wedding Day
When it comes to blending two (or more) cultures together for a wedding, you and your groom might be the real-life version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which either excites you or has you dreaming of running away and eloping.
Planning a wedding can certainly be stressful, but incorporating your individual traditions shouldn’t be, especially when you consider that brides and grooms are spending small fortunes personalizing their weddings. Luckily, you don’t have to spend any kind of fortune at all to do that very thing (unless your family tradition is spending fortunes on weddings!)
There are some simple ways to bring your cultures together and having your wedding day reflect you and your love.
Every bride should to look and feel her best on her wedding day, so you should always wear what you feel beautiful in. If brides from your culture wear a specific color or special kimono, sari, or gown, and that’s what you’ve always dreamed of wearing, go for it! If you can’t make up your mind between traditional cultural dress and the long, white gown, remember that some brides wear two dresses: one during the ceremony and another for the reception. There are other ways to use wedding clothing to give a cultural nod; for example, if you want to highlight a Scottish heritage, you can add a tartan sash to your dress or your bridesmaids’ dresses, have the groom and his men wear kilts (or full-blown traditional dress) or even order special ties in that specific plaid pattern for the groom and his men.
Some couples include a unity candle lighting in their ceremonies, but some cultures don't. Couples from the Jewish faith marry under a canopy, sign papers, and break glass, and Catholic weddings come in the form of a mass complete with Scripture readings and communion. The wedding ceremony is the formal, official part of your wedding day, and one that usually takes place in front of a person of the cloth (whatever that cloth may be). It can be a tricky one to plan if you and your groom come from different faiths.
One way to represent both sides: consider having two officiants working side by side, sharing the duties of performing the ceremony. Another idea is to select just one or two traditions from each of your backgrounds (such as the the canopy and some Old Testament readings) and keep the rest of the ceremony simple. If you or your partner comes from a different native background, arrange to have someone perform the ceremony in both of your primary languages, and get someone to be an interpreter to translate for the audience or give them a booklet with the translations.
The reception is the time to party, and there’s nothing more fun than having a room filled with people celebrating, throwing down, and having the time of their lives. This is the part of your day that you can really relax with regarding cultural differences—the only thing blocking you from including tons of traditions from both sides is how long you’ve booked the reception hall.
You could consider serving foods from both sides on a buffet—designated stations are a great, easy way to do this. During the cocktail hour ask your caterer to serve appetizers and hors d’oeuvres that represent different cultures. Ask your DJ or band to play traditional music so you can do whatever customary dance is appropriate to your culture.
Remember, your wedding is a day to celebrate the joining of two lives, and there’s plenty of room to show just how beautifully those two backgrounds can live together harmoniously on your wedding day!