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It's a Small World: Multi-Cultural Weddings

Jun 24, 2008
Marriage is the union of two people, their families, and their cultures. Paying tribute to your cultural heritage is a way to make your wedding feel more meaningful. However, it can pose a challenge when the bride and groom come from very different ethnic backgrounds. With a little creativity and an open mind, it is possible to blend two contrasting cultures into one fabulous multi-cultural wedding.

Figuring out where to start your wedding planning can be overwhelming. Often couples having a multi-cultural wedding will decide to hire a wedding coordinator to help them seamlessly blend the bride and groom's cultures. The tricky part is to pair diverse customs without looking like you are having two separate events. In other words, the heritage of each person must be made to co-exist, not compete.

Two of the defining aspects of cultures are the food and the attire. An excellent way to present a variety of foods is with individual stations. For instance, if the bride's family is from India, and the groom's background is Scottish, they could have serving stations offering up the local delicacies of each country. This way, Tandoori chicken and haggis can both be offered side by side. (It is much better to allow guests to choose their own meal than to serve a plated dinner with strange or unappetizing food pairings.) It would also be nice to include some more typical American wedding favorites for less adventurous guests. Serving stations highlighting the best of each culture's food are a great way for the bride and groom's families to learn a little about the other one's heritage.

Clothing is one of the strongest cultural associations. Our Indian bride and Scottish groom could do something like this: for the ceremony, the groom would wear the traditional kilt in his family's tartan. His father would likely wear a kilt, as well, but certainly you wouldn't ask the bride's male relations to don such unfamiliar garb. For the ceremony, the bride could wear a classic white American bridal gown worn with the traditional wedding jewelry that is so important in Indian weddings.

When it comes time for the reception, the bride might want to change into a beautiful sari. (Also capitalizing on the hot trend of brides wearing a second dress for the reception.) The groom could stay in his kilt (most men are not interested in a second outfit!). Since the wedding is typically more about the bride than the groom, anyway, I would probably use more of the Indian inspired touches to decorate the reception venue. Tables could be draped with shimmering layers of silks embroidered with gold thread. Groupings of pillar candles with an abundance of flowers would be wonderful on the tables. For the music, play the bride and groom's favorite tunes, but sprinkle in a couple of Scottish or Indian tunes during the night.

Another great way to use cultural accents in with wedding favors and bridesmaid gifts. For instance, our Indian bride could gather a collection of little purses made from the gorgeous embroidered fabrics for which India is known. To make it personal, give each attendant a bag in her favorite color. Then in keeping with an American bridesmaid gift tradition, slip a pretty pair of pearl earrings into each girl's purse. Your bridesmaids can wear the earrings and carry the purses at your wedding, and they will love the individuality of this gift.

Strong marriages are built on compromise and acceptance of differences between the husband and wife. Your wedding is the ideal time to start building this foundation. Instead of favoring the heritage of one person over another, with a little planning, it is possible to combine the cultures of both the bride and groom into one fantastic multi-cultural wedding.
About the Author
Bridget's articles provide advice on weddings and fashion for http://www.silverlandjewelry.com SilverlandJewelry is the place to shop for bridesmaid gifts as well as custom wedding jewelry .
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