Some couples may opt for culture-specific traditions on their big day. Here’s how to honor different cultures respectfully.
Wedding planning can often feel like a balancing act. You have to figure out how to address the couple’s wants, along with budget and vendor considerations. When you add culture-specific traditions to the mix, the planning process becomes much more intricate. Not only are we working to create what the couple wants, but we also have to consider the families’ wishes and cultural traditions. I love working with couples who want to incorporate their culture into their wedding day. Having an international background, I get why it’s so important for couples to have their culture represented. Here are a few considerations when incorporating a couple’s culture into a wedding.
Most of the time as a wedding planner, I work primarily with the bride and groom. They’re the ones who are making final decisions and signing off on elements of their big day. For some cultures, we need to open these decisions up to more people. So, it’s my job to talk with the couple and members of their family, such as parents and grandparents, to understand their culture and their wishes for the wedding.
In some cultures, wedding decisions are made based on the wishes of the extended family, but I still want all of my couples to know that they are unique, and their wedding day should be a reflection of that. We may defer to the parents’ wishes on certain decisions, but we make sure that the wedding truly belongs to the couple.
Focusing on the Couple
I want my couples to understand that there’s no rulebook about what their wedding should look like. It’s important they stay true to themselves while still honoring their culture and their family’s wishes.
There are several ways I help my couples make their day uniquely their own while still incorporating important elements of their culture. For example, for many couples, it’s important to them to have ethnic food at their reception, and that is one of the main ways we incorporate their culture. For other couples, the idea of a first look is foreign to them, so we don’t do one! This day is all about the couple and their wishes, not doing what is popular or expected.
The Planning Timeline
It may take more time to plan a cultural wedding celebration than it would take for a traditional Western wedding. Wedding planners should always come with an open mind and be ready to listen to the multitude of voices that will have a say in the process.
Some couples may require an additional ceremony, or even an entirely separate day for one ceremony. That means the planning process becomes even more complex. It’s important to factor in the time it will take to plan these additional details. Also consider the time it will take to ship materials if ordering fabrics or other decorative pieces from a couple’s home country.
The Wedding Day
In traditional Western celebrations, couples have a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. But this can look different for some cultures. Couples have a choice when it comes to infusing their culture throughout their wedding celebrations. They can choose to have two separate ceremonies: a traditional event and another more Western version. They can also choose to have one ceremony that blends both traditional and Western elements.
Some of my couples choose to spread their wedding celebrations out across two days when their budget allows, while others fit everything into one day. Fitting everything into one day can make for a long but rewarding day.
Another way for brides to honor their culture while still having only one ceremony is to change into traditional cultural dress for the reception. This is a great way to honor their heritage while still having the wedding look that they want. We also love to include other cultural elements into the reception, such as specific dances that are held in some traditional celebrations.
About the Author
Sese Cadmus, owner of Elevated Style Events, has been in the event planning industry for the past five years. Elevated Style Events is a full-service event planning agency that caters to both local and out-of-town clients. Sese is proud to call Minnesota home. She loves having the opportunity to make clients’ dreams come true with each and every event, and the challenge of balancing all that is involved with event planning. Outside of Elevated Style Events, Sese volunteers her time by giving back to her community through her work at a local food shelf in Minnesota.
First appeared at tcbmag.com