There is always something unique and memorable with multicultural weddings because of the blend of two cultures. Friends and family from both sides are present to share the same passion, beliefs, and traditions that remind them of home.
But first, let us define: What is a multicultural wedding?
A multicultural wedding, also known as a fusion wedding is a marriage between two people from different cultures, ethnicity, or faith backgrounds.
Because of the nature of fusion weddings, it is not always easy to plan the wedding ceremony and reception. The wedding planning process takes on a more careful path to honor the two cultures that will blend in the event. If you are set on having a multicultural wedding for you and your soon-to-be spouse, here are some tips on how to combine your cultures together.
Seek the help of a multicultural wedding planner
A wedding planner that specializes in fusion weddings is a huge help in navigating the whole planning process – taking into account the cultural sensitives from both parties, the type of wedding venues that can accommodate such an event, more ideas on design and decor, and all other necessities that need to be considered when planning for a multicultural wedding.
While couples may do this on their own, hiring a multicultural wedding planner will definitely save one’s time, effort, and money as you are provided with expert guidance in planning your culture-infused wedding.
Consult with both families to understand customs and expectations
To put everyone on the same page, it is wise to consult with both families on expectations regarding customs, traditions, attire, even the menu in the reception so as to honor your cultural backgrounds. After all, this is the heart of multicultural weddings. This is also a good time to discuss budgets and guestlists.
Having this information on hand, it will be easier to educate friends and families about your customs, as well as your religious institutions.
Select the right ceremony and reception venues for a cultural wedding event
A touch of culture and tradition in both ceremony and reception is expected. Factor in the program of events, guest list size, vicinity to airports and hotels where your relatives may arrive from, and other specific logistical requirements to mount your multicultural wedding event. Again, the help of a specialized wedding planner is ideal in this stage of the planning process.
Other factors to consider in choosing a wedding venue are:
- Capacity (size) – Just like with any event, the venue capacity is important. Indian weddings usually last multiple(2-3) days. The number of invited guests and the rooms needed for different ceremonies/rituals at each wedding event can vary, so choosing a venue with the right capacity to accommodate guests is extremely important.
- Catering – Cultural and multicultural groups love the option to get catering service from their favorite or preferred restaurants or chefs. For this reason, selecting a venue that allows for outside catering or has Indian chefs is highly recommended.
- Flexibility on load-in and load-out times – It’s important that there is leeway in terms of this because larger cultural weddings with intricate designs may need more days than just the typical 3-4 hours to set up.
- Easy and accessible doors and elevators for vendors to load in – It’s important to choose a venue with ease of access because lavish fusion weddings usually require assembly of heavy equipment on site. In some cases like in Indian weddings, the need for a horse or elephant to make an entrance during the Baraat calls for such access.
- Parking for guests
- Accommodations – Pick a wedding venue that is near the hotel/s of your choice ( if the venue is not a hotel). Much better if the venue already offers accommodation. Be ready to give room for guests’ preferences.
- Proximity to airports – This is also a way of showing that you care about your guests and the quality of their time. If you are unable to secure your dream venue near an airport, consider providing transportation services to your guests.
- Time – Cultural weddings tend to start either earlier than normal and end later than usual too. Having a wedding venue that can be flexible with start and end times is ideal.
- Bar/Beverage – Check if the venue has the option to bring liquor.
Be specific about which part of the ceremony, decor, program, and food will incorporate culture.
Modern couples of today opt for more streamlined, minimalist weddings. They are usually certain of what they like to see: clean architectural designs, neutral colors, with just the right hint of culture to represent them. Now, not everyone may know exactly what they want in their multicultural wedding, so sitting down with your wedding planner to voice out your vision is recommended. Your planner can then lay out the touches of culture and tradition that must be present in specific parts of the wedding – from the ceremony to the reception program, decor, menu, etc.
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Discuss interfaith marriage customs with your religious affiliations.
Some religions are okay with interfaith wedding ceremonies. Some, however, are mutually exclusive. Better to check with your religious officiants to know what is expected. Securing a date with your church is a wise idea to ensure your wedding date does not coincide with specific religious dates and seasons. Match this with wedding venue availabilities before making a deposit.
Educate your guests about what they can expect.
The last thing you want is for your guests to feel awkward about all these cultural matters. Setting up a website, and including details in the invitation about the information on attire expectations, food, customs, activities, etc. are necessary.
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Mimi Ebichi is a seasoned wedding planner with a specialization in multicultural weddings. Our team of planners, vendors, and coordinators will ensure the heavy work is off your hands from planning to celebration so you can actually sit down and enjoy your most special day. Contact Mimi for a free consultation.