Planning A Cultural Fusion Wedding: 9 Ways To Reflect Both Your Cultures
One of the most magical things about weddings is that it’s the coming together of two worlds. Of course, the union between the two of you is the whole cause for celebration in the first place, but it’s also a joining of your family and friends. That’s why weddings are so unique: because all of your loved ones are together, in the same place! This is especially true if you and your fiancé(e) have different cultural backgrounds, and are planning to celebrate with a cultural fusion wedding. It’s so important to honour both cultures on your wedding day, as it’s a perfect reflection of the two of you.
As someone who studied foreign languages and has lived in 4 countries (including my own), nothing makes my heart sing more than a wedding that brings together two different cultures. On top of that, I actually had a cultural fusion wedding myself (my husband is British!). So, with both my professional eye and my personal experience, here are a few tips on how to include both cultures in your wedding planning:
How to honour traditions and rituals
This is a major – and perhaps the most obvious – part of planning a cultural fusion wedding. Every culture has its own wealth of history and tradition, especially when rituals such as weddings are involved – but how do you pick?
At the start of your wedding planning, sit down with your partner and talk through the traditional elements of the ceremonies in each of your cultures. Then, together, work out which bits of each you’d like to keep, and which you’re willing to compromise on. (If your cultural traditions are heavily entwined with religion, it’s worth checking with your local leader what they allow, too.) This way, you can start to build a ceremony and reception that’s symbolic for both of you.
Choosing the location...
This is another key thing to ponder when you’re planning a cultural fusion wedding: where will your wedding be? One of your home countries? Or perhaps in the country that you live in now, if that’s somewhere different?
Wherever you choose, the chances are some guests will be travelling from further away, so choosing a venue with easy transport links is a real plus.
And though hopefully, travel restrictions will soon be a thing of the past, you may nevertheless still have some guests who are unable to attend in person. If this is the case, consider having people in attendance virtually, over a Livestream or Zoom.
...and finding the venue
Once you’ve decided whereabouts in the world you want your wedding to take place, it’s time to venue hunt. When you’ve found somewhere you like the look of, make a checklist of requirements you need from them and ask upfront if they can accommodate them. For example, do they have the capacity for the big guest list that is standard for many African and Asian weddings? Do they allow naked flames, which are necessary for some religious ceremonies? It’s best to ask these upfront.
Designing your flowers and decoration
Your flowers and decor are another brilliant place where you can blend both of your cultures. For example, does your culture, religion or country have a symbolic flower? You could ask your florist to include these in your bouquets and arrangements on the day.
Finding cultural fusion wedding favours
Wedding favours are another excellent way of introducing a bit of cultural flair to the day. Are there any particular delicacies that you’d love to share with your guests, for example? Or some token that is emblematic of why you’re so proud of your culture? Gifting your guests these at your wedding can be a real act of love.
Picking the food
Being Italian, this of course had to be my favourite! Food is so closely connected to cultural identity, so it’s a great area to focus on for your cultural fusion wedding. Investigate local caterers who specialise in your national cuisine, and will make it just like your Nonna (ok, almost as well as!)
Alternatively, you could celebrate your culture with your cake. Instead of the classic flavours, why not ask your baker to make the tiers dark rum cake or a kek lapis? Or maybe you’re thinking of getting rid of the layer cake idea altogether and will substitute it for something more reflective of your cultures, like a millefoglie or a Kransekake. These are all brilliant ways of paying homage to your culture, whilst also introducing your new family members and friends to just how good it is!
The perfect outfit(s) for your cultural fusion wedding
Clothing is a major way we express ourselves and our identity. Not one but two of my previous brides designed their wedding gowns to be a mix of the two cultures: this is a major plus point of going bespoke because it means you have complete control! I’ve also seen newlyweds who’ve changed into a different outfit for their evening celebration, either to represent another element of their culture or to honour their partner’s culture.
Music and dance!
There are some languages that everyone speaks, and dance is one of them. If you’re DIYing your music, then creating a playlist can be a fun pre-wedding date-night activity! Or, if you’re hiring professionals, then speak to them about ways you can incorporate your cultures on the dancefloor. You could also hire traditional musicians for different elements of the day, too.
How to get over a language barrier at a multicultural fusion wedding
You might be thinking so far, so good – but wait! There may be a language barrier! If so, don’t worry. There are a couple of simple solutions to this which ensure everyone feels welcomed and included – and I know from experience.
For our wedding, we had a friend translating into English as we went, and also provided bilingual booklets for the guests so they could follow along in real-time. I have also seen couples do part of the ceremony in one language, and another part in another, which can be really emotive and effective too.
We also translated our menu and printed stationery, so that everyone could enjoy it equally. And speaking of food, another tip is to think about native languages when arranging your seating plan: make sure everyone is sitting with someone they can communicate with.
Are you planning a cultural fusion wedding, and looking for someone to capture the magic? If so I’d love to chat – as you can probably see, I’d love to be a part of it!