We love the San Francisco Bay Area’s diversity. More and
more couples today are multicultural – one in
10 married couples are now interracial, an increase of nearly 30% since 2000!
|Courtesy of Tim Sohn Studios|
A cross cultural wedding requires more planning and finesse
than a single-culture wedding. Not only is it important to blend customs and
traditions – it also requires a deeper understanding of cultural nuances such
as family dynamics and what is considered appropriate (and inappropriate)
behavior at weddings.
Here are our top 10 tips!
this is your wedding. Be confident in your decisions! You may not be
able to make everyone 100% happy, but your families will appreciate your
efforts and intentions. At the end of the day, they’ll be thrilled when they
see you walking down the aisle!
each other and your families on important cultural traditions,
customs and what is considered appropriate behavior at weddings. Discuss
expectations; communicate openly, respectfully and often. You may even want to
consider pre-marital counseling to help you dive into this important area of
Make a short-list
of customs and traditions that are meaningful to you, or that you think
your family and guests would enjoy. Once this is done, it’s easier to think
about how and when to incorporate them into your wedding.
Don’t try to incorporate too much at once.
You don’t need to include every
tradition from all the cultures in your family. If the cultures you’re combining
are drastically different, consider incorporating one or the other into
different parts of your wedding. To honor both South Asian and Hispanic
cultures, for example, you could host a mehndi party after your rehearsal
dinner and incorporate the lasso tradition in your ceremony.
|Courtesy of Capturing the Light|
honoring both ethnic and religious customs in your ceremony. Some
officiants and religious leaders are open to conducting joint ceremonies. They
can also work with you to incorporate ethnic customs. To honor Korean culture
in a Catholic ceremony, for example, you could discuss incorporating elements
of a kunbere, like sipping wine poured by the mother of the bride, with your
in incorporating culture into your attire and food as these are two of the
strongest sensory elements your guests will experience. To incorporate Japanese
and Italian cultures, for example, a bride or groom may choose to wear a
traditional wedding kimono during the ceremony and serve a family style Italian
meal of their favorite dishes at the reception.
a modern twist on old traditions to make it truly yours. A Chinese tea
pouring ceremony is traditionally held at the home of the bride and groom’s parents
prior to the ceremony. However, if it’s important for your guests to experience
this tradition, why not incorporate it into your reception as an extension of
your cake cutting?
venues that will allow for the customs you’ve chosen to honor. You’ll want
to ensure your venue can accommodate structures like a mandap or huppah if
required for your ceremony. And if a traditional Greek Kalamatianos dance is a
must at your reception, you’ll want to ensure the venue allows amplified music.
Don’t forget that religious centers may even have specific rules and/or
cultural traditions to your guests. If you’re having a multicultural
wedding, chances are you’ll have guests who are familiar with one culture, but
not the other, and guests who are not familiar with either culture. Consider
explaining the significance of traditions in your programs, on your menus, or
by asking your MC to make an announcement. Your guests will appreciate it and
feel more involved.
Be yourself. Cultural traditions and
customs are important, but don’t forget to let your personalities shine
through. Wedding location, colors, specific food dishes, song selection and
stationery are just a few of the simple ways you can personalize your wedding.
It’s your big day so make sure it reflects you!
Hannah & Tria / Honey & Twine