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 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.
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. If budget constraints do not allow hiring two separate bands you might want to consider hiring a band to play the music of one culture and consider hiring dancers to represent the other culture.
Multi-cultural weddings are on the rise. As the number of inter-racial couples increases, there is also an increased need for creative ways to blend two different cultures into a wedding ceremony and reception that will be enjoyed by all the guests. Careful considerations should be made to ensure that neither culture is offended by the festivities and that they are both prominently displayed and celebrated.