Feature photo by Ginnerbot
When two people from very different cultures fall in love and decide to get married, they basically have three options. They can have two separate weddings, with each dedicated solely to one of their backgrounds. In this economy, though, who can even afford one wedding? Or, they can completely ignore the traditions of both backgrounds and plan a wedding that doesn’t incorporate the traditions of the bride or the groom’s family. Let’s call that the generic option. Their third option, and probably the most difficult to plan, is a combination of the two cultures in one wedding — a multicultural medley of matrimony, if you will.
Blending traditions can be a touchy subject in some families, so its important to let your families know what you’re planning ahead of time. This will help reduce any shock or possible hurt feelings on the big day, when you’ve omitted your family’s longstanding tradition of throwing cake at the bride. Cultural traditions are near and dear to the heart, so it’s important to help your families understand that just because you may be leaving something out, doesn’t mean that it is insignificant or unworthy of including in your wedding. Some families may be very persistent in what they feel your wedding should be like (you know, something like the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding) but remind them that this day belongs to you and your spouse, and it’s important to you that your two cultures come together as one.
It’s also important to keep in mind there are no wedding rules out there that say you must have this, or cannot have that at your wedding. It should be solely up to the bride and groom to pick which traditions mean the most to them, and which they will include. Don’t worry, the marriage police will not come take your wedding rings away if you decide to have a mariachi band at your ceremony and a polka band at your reception.
Whatever you choose to incorporate into your nupitals, be sure to let the guests in on the meaning of these traditions. For example, if you are including the lazo and arras in your ceremony, give a brief explanation of this predominately Latino Catholic tradition in your wedding program. If you are doing a traditional Assyrian dance at the reception, make a short announcement before the dance begins. You can even get the bridal party involved by showing them the steps of the dance beforehand and have them show other guests to encourage more people to get out on the dance floor.
In the end, what’s most important is that you and your future spouse incorporate the traditions that mean the most to the two of you, since this event marks the beginning of a lifetime of blending your lives and cultures together.