While many different religions and nationalities have their own well established
traditions, it is becoming increasingly common for couples of mixed ancestry to marry.
Inter-racial couples are marrying more and more often and with this increase in inter-racial marriages comes a
need for weddings that have a multi-cultural feel. With so many wonderful traditions that hold a great deal of
importance to many families it is important to plan a multi-cultural wedding that will celebrate the cultural
diversity rather than spotlight one of the cultures while neglecting the other.
Even if the couple themselves do not feel strongly about having their heritage represented, it is important to
consider the feelings of family members as well. While the wedding is for the couple and in general they should
plan it as they see fit, this should not be done at the risk of hurting the feelings of family members by
neglecting their culture in the ceremony and reception.
One of the easiest ways to handle a multi-cultural
wedding is to allow one culture to dominate the wedding ceremony while the other culture dominates
the wedding reception. At the ceremony care could be used to ensure that the attire, words, music, decorations
and procedures adhere to the culture of either the bride or the groom. If the culture of the bride dominates
the ceremony then you could allow the culture of the groom to dominate the reception. This could be done by
providing food, entertainment and toasts that reflect on the time-honored traditions of the groom’s cultural
background. While the preceding solution of having one culture control the ceremony and another culture
control the reception is one way to plan a multi-cultural wedding, many couple choose to
blend both of the components of the wedding instead. While this can be more difficult, it may be a better
solution because neither family feels left out of a party of the wedding.
There are countless variations for blending the traditions of two
cultures into the wedding ceremony. For example you might want to consider having both the bride and the groom
dressing in the traditional attire of the one of the families but having them enter the ceremony to
traditional music of the other family. Another variation on this idea is to have the bride dress according to
her cultural customs while the groom dresses according to his cultural customs. This would symbolize the
joining of the two cultures with the union of the individuals. You could even consider having the bride and
the groom dress according to each other’s cultural customs as a symbol of their being willing to embrace the
other culture in their union.
Multi-cultural weddings can also be blended at the reception in a number of ways. A simple
way to do this is to serve foods that relate to one culture and provide entertainment that relates to the other
culture. This separation may seem too harsh for some couples and they may want to blend their cultures in a more
subtle way. One way to do this is to serve a buffet style dinner that serves cultural favorites of both heritages.
Also, if you budget a significant amount of money for entertainment, you could consider hiring two bands so that
you can have one band that specializes in the cultural heritage of the bride and one to represent the groom’s
heritage. This could not only serve to unite the families but can also serve to ensure that the entertainment never
ceases. Many live bands play for only about 20 minutes at a time and then take a break. The two bands could
alternate playing their music so that there is never a dull moment at the reception.
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