Back in 2011, just before I badgered my way into getting a job with Rock My Wedding, I had my very own multicultural wedding. That’s me up there. Allow me to indulge in the moment won’t you :). It was, up until that point (because I don’t want to offend my babies), the best day of my life. Having both of our family cultures combined through our decor ideas, sharing food that was reflective of both our heritages, dancing together to music from both our cultures. It was the best and I loved every second of it.
But I’m no expert on how to get the most out of your multicultural wedding. Enter Assumpta Vitcu, Founder and Lead Planner of Ave Creations, a multicultural wedding planning company based in London. She is most definitely the expert and I’m going to hand over to her so she can help you think about planning your multicultural wedding and how to get the most out of it to ensure your cultures are represented. Please check out her social and YouTube links at the bottom of the post too. You can find an IGTV from Assumpta related to this post here and you can click through to all the real weddings below to see how our couples have navigated their way through to having successful multicultural days.
With the increased mobility of the population, whether for work or leisure, more couples are crossing religious and cultural divides, which has led to a rise in interfaith and multicultural weddings.
Planning a multicultural wedding gives you a chance to share your heritage and traditions with all in attendance in a unique and fun manner. So, here are some ways to ensure that you are both represented at your multicultural wedding.
At the beginning of your wedding planning journey, write down all of the traditions, rituals and common practices associated with each of your cultures and then select your absolute must-haves. In case nobody else tells you, I will; you do not have to include everything! Not only would it be time-consuming and convoluted if you do, but it could get confusing for you and your guests.
If you think that your cultures contrast too greatly to be equally represented at your wedding, then a little give and take goes a long way. The ceremony could focus on one person’s heritage while your reception, rehearsal dinner or post-wedding brunch (if you have one) focuses on the other person’s. Be sure to discuss etiquette as well to avoid offending each other’s family.
One of the most noticeable ways to showcase yours or your partner’s culture is through your clothes. Whether you chose to wear Western outfits to begin with (such as a suit and traditional wedding dress) and then change into a saree, iro and bubba or Hanfu to name a few, fashion is a beautiful way to tell your unique love story.
If you’d prefer to simply give a nod to your heritage: you could opt for smaller finishing touches such as pocket squares or custom robes made from traditional [African] ankara fabric; or you could have Indian silk trailing from your bouquet and that of your bridesmaids. Research wedding day style from both of your backgrounds and see if anything resonates. Remember, other cultures’ attire is not fancy dress so be respectful while exploring and ask questions if you are confused.
Food is important at every wedding, no matter what your heritage. Multicultural weddings provide an opportunity to include dishes from both backgrounds should you wish. If your cuisine options are restricted due to your venue choice: then you can use desserts, your wedding cake, flavours or signature drinks, to give a tasty acknowledgment of one or both of your cultures. Edible favours using traditional flavours are another option and will give guests something familiar (or new) to feast on.
Approach your wedding aesthetics with an open yet editing eye. Subtlety and design simplicity are feasible when planning a multicultural wedding. You can still incorporate elaborate or vibrant décor but be selective about placement and frequency – particularly when fusing with naturally understated Western wedding styling.
For example, you can choose to integrate a single cultural design element into everything from your stationery to your cake, name place cards and centrepieces. Another option would be to choose a flower (or flowers) indigenous to the country you hail from. It is possible to give your guests a visual feast without going overboard.
The music you choose to play throughout your special day can audibly tell your love story as well as share who you are as individuals. Despite different cultures and religions having their own musical style, you can feature songs from both of your backgrounds, along with popular music as a way of fusing your cultures. Even if guests don’t understand all of the lyrics, if it’s a good beat, people will dance anyway.
In addition to a DJ, why not consider hiring entertainment who specialise in playing your cultural music such as Caribbean steel pan players, an acoustic Spanish guitar player or a Mexican mariachi band? Traditional dancers to accompany the live music are a fantastic way of animatedly keeping guests entertained during your cocktail hour or reception and livening the atmosphere.
I hope these points help you to plan a more considered and balanced multicultural wedding. Remember to communicate – with your partner, future-in-laws and your own family. Communication is particularly important when it comes to fusion weddings to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings as well as to ensure things are executed respectfully.
Ultimately, it is your day so make sure you infuse your personalities and celebrate your union in a way that honours and uplifts your love.
Thanks so much to Assumpta for her time and really useful tips on making sure that both your heritages are represented within your multicultural wedding. You can check out Assumpta’s work over on her website or you can follow her on socials here and here. She also has a fantastic YouTube channel full of all sorts of useful advice so please check that out too.