How to Blend Cultures on Your Wedding Day

Blending your culture with your lovers’ culture on your wedding day can be a challenging task.  With so many traditions old and new it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to blending your cultures and traditions on your wedding day!  With more and more people from various backgrounds and cultures getting married, there has also been an influx of hybrid celebrations and blended cultures throughout wedding celebrations!  This is such a cool thing to witness and I love every one of these wedding days that I get to be a part of.  With my experience as a wedding photographer I have had the pleasure of being a part of many wedding days with blended cultures throughout my career.  With this experience I have put together a list of my top tips for blending your cultures on your wedding day!

First things first, as you begin to make decisions for your wedding day, you need to know that there are no wrong answers when it comes to celebrating both sides of your families.  Much like how you and your partner came together, on your wedding day you, your partner, and all sides of your family will be coming together to celebrate you as one family unit.  Before talking with family, you and your partner will want to sit down together and go over the following things for planning your wedding day.

What to Talk About When Planning to Blend Your Cultures for Your Wedding Day

Your Vision

When you sit down with your partner you will want to think through your vision for your wedding day.  Sit down and day dream with your partner and write down everything you hope to see or do at your wedding.  These could be as simple as what you would like to wear, to things that are more detailed like the layout of your morning or what kinds of dances you would like to do at your reception.

Your Non-Negotiables

Most couples when they start talking about their wedding day will have at least one or two things that they feel strongly about when planning.  This could be who is on the guest list, how much money they want to spend, or what they want to wear.  When talking about your cultural traditions, you will want to think about traditions in your family that you always pictured yourself participating in on your wedding day.  Write down the traditions that you just cannot live without.

Your Family Traditions

Like many people, my family is extremely important to me.  I’m sure like many other couples, there are some family traditions, or cultural practices that might be extremely important to your loved ones that they might expect you to perform on your wedding day.  Have an open conversation with your partner about these traditions, their meanings, and how they are performed.  Make sure to talk about comfortability and logistics. Then talk about whether they are something you will want to incorporate into your wedding day.

How to Blend Your Cultures on Your Wedding Day 

When you start to think through your ceremony and your wedding day, you might not be able to start with the traditional points of who you want to be there, where you want to have your wedding day like how many other couples start their wedding plans.  You two will more than likely want to start with how you plan to celebrate your marriage.

Write down all the cultural, social and religious traditions you hope to include on your wedding day on a piece of paper.  Once you have all of these traditions and practices written out on a piece of paper, make an attempt to see if you can combine these traditions on one single or multi-day timeline.

Finding a Middle Ground

You may find there are traditions that can’t be blended. For example, you will not be able to get married in a Hindu temple, with a catholic priest performing a ceremony or vis versa.  In cases like this you can try and find a middle ground.  Perhaps you get married in a Hindu temple, but have the family pastor bless your dinner.  It’s important to keep an open mind when blending cultures on your wedding day, and know that it isn’t wrong to pick and choose your traditions if this is how you choose to celebrate your wedding day.

You Can Have Multiple Wedding Days

If you and your partner would like to practice both sets of traditions without picking and choosing the parts you would like to include, opt for two wedding celebrations!  This route may be on the more expensive side, but being able to immerse yourselves into each others cultures on your wedding day will definitely be worth all of the planning!

Planning Your Wedding Day with Blended Cultures

Getting Ready

Look to your partner and decide what traditions, if any you would like to have while getting ready.  There are SO many amazing traditions that different cultures have to celebrate getting ready for your wedding day.  Ask each other questions about what you each would like to wear.  Are there any traditional accessories that you would like to have be a part of your wedding day?  Are there any pre wedding day traditions or celebrations that your culture has that you would like to plan into your wedding day or week?  Do you want to get ready for your wedding day together or separate?  Last but not least, remember that you can wear two (or more!) different outfits on your wedding day!  

Do You Want a First Look?

Next, you and your partner will need to decide if you want to see one another before your wedding ceremony.  Think through the layout of your wedding day(s) and how much time you will be able to spend with one another.  If you layout a rough timeline and realize you’re only spending a couple of hours with one another and want to change that, I recommend setting up a first time to see one another on your wedding day!

Planning a Ceremony with Blended Cultures

If you are planning to blend your cultures and religious traditions for your wedding ceremony into one, this is how I recommend you proceed.  

  1. Write out your masses or ceremonies on two separate pieces of paper.  Try to write out all of the steps in order chronologically in how they might happen traditionally.
  2. Think through where you are planning to have your ceremony, and what practices will be able to be held at that location.  
  3. Highlight or mark the traditions you would like to keep in your wedding day ceremony that will work at your location
  4. Decide who will perform your ceremony both culturally and legally if not the same person.
  5. Put together a rough outline of your ceremony in chronological order.  Figure out who you will need, if anyone, to participate in your ceremony.
  6. Last but not least, reach out to your family members, loved ones, and any vendors you will need to participate in your wedding ceremony.  There are a number of officiant sites that have officiants from all over.  Many of these officiants perform different types of mostly secular ceremonies.

Here are two websites where you can find more information on wedding officiants in your area!  Wedding Wire, and Officiant Directory.

Planning Your Reception with Blended Cultures

Much like your wedding ceremony, you’re going to want to write out everything you hope to incorporate into your wedding reception on two pieces of paper.  You will want to check with your venue to find out how much time you will have for your wedding reception, as well as when food has to be served.  Once you know these details you will be able to fill in the blank areas with traditions from both of your cultures that you hope to include on your wedding day.

Talking with your families

One of the last things you will want to do after you decide how to blend your cultures on your wedding day is talk to your friends and family about how you plan to celebrate your day!  If you have family that might be resistant to these ideas, enter the conversation with excitement!  Emphasize how important both of your cultures are to you and how you want to celebrate both of your cultures and backgrounds equally.  Talk them through both sides of traditions, the traditional meanings behind them and the meanings these traditions have to you and your partner.

Clue in Your Guests!

If you have friends and family on both sides that will be unfamiliar with your cultures, have someone there to translate or explain what is happening, and the traditions that you are practicing.  You can also put an outline of the traditions and their histories in wedding day brochures or booklets so your friends and family can participate in the blending of your cultures on your wedding day.

Last but not least, it’s important to remember that yes, traditions and culture can be important to you if you want them to be.  But at the end of the day, you and your partner are celebrating your marriage, your devotion to one another, and any other aspect of your lives you would like to include.  Whatever decisions you make when blending your cultures on your wedding day, be sure that they are empowered decisions and that you are happy to incorporate them on the first day of the rest of your life together. If you’re looking for a wedding photographer with a background in multicultural weddings and documenting the traditions that come with them, I’m you’re girl!  Head to my inquiry page to fill out my form and we can start planning out your wedding day!

January 27, 2023

Sreeja Ankam

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