A cross cultural wedding requires a more in-depth planning than a single-culture union. It is not just about weaving together two different traditions -- it requires a deeper and broader understanding of these traditions and fitting together what is appropriate and what is not for both parties.
What do we need to consider when planning cross cultural wedding? See below for some tips.
Make sure the religious customs of both parties are honored. List down important tradition, religious beliefs, and customs of both parties. Check if there are practices that would appear to be clashing. Make sure to include meaningful traditions that are harmless for both families involved. For example, if the bride or the groom is of Chinese descent, it'll be fun to include the traditional "Tea Ceremony". Traditionally, after the couple exchanged vows, they would serve tea to the groom's family. This would mean that they show respect to the family. As a modern twist, many couples can choose to honor both the families by having tea ceremonies for both parents.
Make sure guests are well aware of the two traditions. A fun way to tell the guests about the two cultures is to explain their significance through a program booklet with a layout that is fun and easy to read. The MC can also explain cultural traditions that are part of the wedding during the program. This way, the guests will feel more involved.
It is ok to hire 2 officiants. Modern, multicultural couples who want to add traditions to their wedding often do this and yes, it's ok as long as customs are discussed to both sides. But they can also choose to have an officiant with a non-religious background. The officiant can then include a simple explanation of the importance of tradition and include some simple elements of culture from both sides during the ceremony itself.
Make the mood festive. Add fun games so that friends and family members from two different cultures can get to know each other more and interact.
Share the culture through food. It is important to keep in mind during the planning and preparations the palette of the guests. One side may enjoy spicy food, the others won't. Serve food that can satisfy guests from different side. In sharing the culture through food, the couple along with the planner opt to offer two different selections of food to be enjoyed by all their guests.
Add modern elements. For cross cultural weddings, a lot of guests would be familiar with one culture and the others would not. Adding modern elements that are practiced by all should be included. It can be the bridal bouquet toss or the bridal waltz.
We've witnessed a lot of cross cultural weddings in the Bay Area and when the bride and the groom come from different parts of the world and practice two different cultures, we can always expect a fusion of fun, colorful, and meaningful celebration that is carefully planned.