You think of your wedding as one of the most important days of your life. Naturally, you want it to to be a dream, filled with radiance and happiness. When you and your partner are of different cultures, planning a wedding becomes an even more thrilling task due to the range of possibilities. How will you produce a ceremony that honors both backgrounds? Which cuisines should you incorporate? And of course, you can't forget the music.
All these aspects comprise crucial parts of a ceremony. You may wonder how to combine your cultures in ways that are respectful, relevant and aesthetically pleasing. Luckily, you can approach this task from many angles. Keep reading for a list of ten decorative ideas that'll make your multicultural wedding unforgettable.
1. Choose a Combined Theme
Keeping your traditions visible and included is a significant concern. However, you should also maintain your natural sense of style when it comes to wedding planning. Avoid drowning out your design ideas by adhering to styles that don't suit your taste. Have tailors create traditional garments out of your favorite fabrics and colors and create a menu that blends your favorite dishes with cultural fare.
2. Send Invitations
If you plan a big wedding, you'll need to send out invitations well in advance to ensure both families can attend. Include combined cultural elements in your letters to give people a sneak-peek of how diverse the ceremony will be.
For a Japanese-Mongolian wedding, use Japanese paper cranes as a background print and include Mongolia's national flower — the Scabiosa Butterfly Blue — for a wax seal symbol. Or, add the dried flower itself within each invitation for extra decoration.
3. Design Programs
Hand out programs to detail the steps of your ceremony. This idea proves helpful if you include rituals that your family members aren't familiar with. You don't want anyone to feel left out during your ceremony, so ensure you guide your guests through it. Though some newlyweds procure a speaker to explain each part, you may want to avoid interrupting the service by creating an outline of events on your program.
4. Plan Out Ceremonial Aspects
Decide what the ceremony itself will entail. Will you have more than one officiant? Are there rituals you plan to do before or after? Some weddings have two officiants to honor both religions — you may have a Christian pastor and a Hindu pandit at one wedding. If you have a Jewish service, you'll need a rabbi to preside.
Many Jewish weddings include the Kabbalah teachings, which consist of concepts like wisdom, understanding and beauty. The ideals of the Kabbalah exist within the core of many world religions, making them relatable no matter what faith you are. If you go this route, create a ketubah — or a marriage contract — that merges your ethnic groups languages, such as Mandarin and Swahili.
5. Create Welcome Gifts for Guests
Welcome guests to your reception by creating specialty baskets containing treats from each culture. These baskets can contain anything you like, but some typical items include snacks, mini wine bottles and toiletries. A welcome basket from a Spanish-Moroccan wedding may consist of Catholic votive candles and mini Moroccan lanterns, along with snack bags from each culture.
6. Incorporate Attractive Decorations
Choose wedding decorations that add splashes of color and symbolize the best aspects of your ethnic group. A Zambian wedding may use bougainvilleas, which is the nations symbolic flower. Arrange a bouquet of these pink blossoms or create centerpieces with them. If you don't love pink, the flower blooms in white, red and orange as well. A gold-and-white Greek color scheme can fit well with these flowers, offering a neutral background to emphasize the color.
7. Wear Traditional Attire
Many ethnic groups have distinct clothing colors and styles, but these don't have to clash. Differences can bring people together, and you can execute this idea by choosing outfits that complement each other. Wear an Indian sari while your partner dons a Japanese kimono. If you're Nigerian, you can incorporate customary Nigerian colors into wedding attire of another cultural style. Both partners wear traditional hanboks in Korean weddings, which makes coordinating simpler.
8. Host a Multicultural Menu
The best thing about a multicultural wedding is that guests get to try new flavor profiles they've never experienced before. A Spanish-Russian reception may offer sangria for cocktail hour and churros alongside wedding cake. Serve popular Russian meals such as beef stroganoff, solyanka or pelmeni for entrees.
9. Mesh Music and Dance
A ceremony isn't complete without the first dance, so choose music that suits your tastes. You don't have to include boring hymns — contemporary beats fit well too. Your music and choreography should complement the mood, so don't be afraid to choose modern tunes. Move to the Hora or get everyone on their feet for a Zimbabwe line dance.
10. Give Thank You Notes
Like your invitations, your thank you notes should contain references to both backgrounds. Choose creative ideas —creativity is the heart of the world, and it showcases your dedication to hosting a loving wedding. You can stay with your invitation design to keep consistency, a smart trick that saves money on printing costs. Mail these notes after the ceremony or include them within the welcome baskets as a preemptive thanks.
Combine Your Cultures in a Memorable Way
Use your new knowledge to create the celebration of the century. It doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive as long as you acknowledge and respect everyone's roots. This alone will make your ceremony memorable for years to come.
About the author
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more!
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