Planning a Multicultural Wedding? Great! Here Are 10 Things to Think About…

Planning a Multicultural Wedding…

If you’re a couple planning a fusion or multicultural wedding, you may be worried about the unique challenges that can come along with blending cultural, religious, and family traditions. But don’t you worry! Today the lovely Assumpta from AVE Creations – a bespoke multicultural wedding planner based in London – shares with us her top ten things to consider when starting your wedding journey…

Assumpta from AVE Creations

The mere mention of planning a wedding fills numerous couples with equal amounts of glee and dread. Now add multi-cultural customs, different religions and perhaps dissimilar languages and you have an added level of complexity.

Fear not, the task at hand is not insurmountable. Whether you hail from neighboring countries with similar traditions or opposite sides of the globe, here are 10 things for you to think about to help you plan the wedding day of your dreams.

Get on The Same Page…

Yay, you’re engaged! Congratulations! Once the euphoria settles and you get into full planning mode, the reality of fusing different cultures into one wedding will set in. This process, like your relationship, requires communication, compromise, patience and unity. With that said, as soon as possible, ensure that you are both on the same page with what you want for your wedding, before including your families and key decision-makers.

Educate Each Other…

To avoid an uncomfortable faux pas, educate one another about your heritage and specific wedding traditions. If you do not know them or are unsure of some, ask your family members, and also check with them that your preferred wedding date doesn’t clash with special cultural days.

Choose Cultural Must-Haves…

Make a list of all of the elements you would each like to include from your cultures and decide your non-negotiables versus what you can do without. Remember to compromise – not everything on your list will make it and that’s OK. Ensure you take your must-haves list with you when viewing venues and ask if they have any restrictions. For example, you may need to ask a venue whether they allow loud hand drums, or if this will this violate sound restrictions? At one of my couple’s weddings, they incorporated a traditional Eritrean entrance, as a nod to the groom’s heritage and that included drummers accompanying them into their reception. To showcase the bride’s heritage, they opted for predominantly Caribbean cuisine as her family hailed from Jamaica, but there were also some Eritrean dishes for guests to try.

Know the Rules…

As the Dalai Lama said, “know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” With that said, if you want to have a religious ceremony and you are both from different faiths, you need to check if this is possible. Do you need to take any classes and are there special procedures that you need to adhere to? For my own multicultural wedding, we got married in a Catholic Church (my family are Catholic) but my husband was raised in Romanian Orthodox church. We had to seek permission and attend marriage counselling as a prerequisite. Find this information out early on so you have enough time to fit everything in or find another plan.

Multilingual Wedding…

My in-laws live in Romania and only a few of them speak English fluently. As a result, my husband and I explained what would be going on ahead of the day and hired a Nigerian person (my family are Nigerian) who happened to speak Romanian to serve as an interpreter. We had Romanian menus for non-English speakers too. At one of my couple’s wedding that took place in Paris, they had one English speaking and one French speaking MC which surprised and delighted all in attendance. Ensuring that your guests feel included is important and improves their overall experience.

Try to Achieve Balance…

The operative word here is “try”. Conversely, do not overwhelm yourselves trying to make every aspect of your wedding balanced. One of you may be more excited about the planning process and have closer ties to your heritage, but it is nice to represent both of your cultures if possible. One of my previous couples (Irish bride and Nigerian groom) chose a British menu to represent where they met. However, their table names were important cities to them around the world and their DJ played English, Irish and Nigerian music.

Music and Dance are Universal…

Like smiles, great music and dancing are universal. Irrespective of your cultural background, if the atmosphere is jovial, people are friendly and there’s a great beat, your guests will join in and dance, even if they do not understand the lyrics. If there are specific music genres or dances that are synonymous with your culture and you would like to include them, then do! You may even be able to teach guests the dances if they are simple enough. If you have fun doing them, the chances are, your guests will too.

Assumpta and her husband at her own wedding – photos by Tino Antoniou

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Consider Pre-Marital Counselling…

I mentioned before that my husband and I had counselling as a pre-requisite for our Catholic wedding ceremony. Even if it wasn’t, we probably would have had some sessions with a professional to clarify expectations and prepare us to stand the test of time. In depth discussions about culture, faith, finances and parenting are perfectly fine between the two of you but a professional third party can be of use.

Set a Clear Budget…

Multicultural weddings often comprise of multi-day events. You may be choosing to celebrate your wedding on one day or opt to have a number of celebrations on various days but bear in mind that costs can quickly spiral. Be clear from the onset about how much you can spend and keep this in mind throughout your planning process to avoid undue stress.

Be Yourself…

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, be yourselves! It’s YOUR wedding after all. While you want to make family and friends happy as well as to showcase and honour your heritage, don’t forget to infuse your personalities into the day. Personalise your ceremony/vows if you can, customise your wedding favours and share your favourite songs. Ultimately, it is your day, so have it your way.

For more information on AVE Creation Wedding planning services, you can view her listing HERE or pop over to her website HERE

Thank you Parrot and Pineapple Photography and Tino Antoniou for the photos for this article

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