10 Tips For Planning a Successful MultiCultural Wedding
Blending wedding traditions, customs and religions into a multicultural or interfaith wedding can be a little tricky, but the results can be truly unique. With a little research and big picture planning in the beginning, you can create a truly unique and personalized wedding ceremony and celebration that highlights your individuality as a couple. In this post you'll find 10 Tips to assist in planning your wedding.
It hasn't been that long ago when it was hard to find information about combining different religious and cultural backgrounds into ceremony and reception. When we began planning Jewish Interfaith weddings back in 2003, we were one of the few planner / officiant who specialized in this type of wedding.
Since that time, new studies have shown over 37% of today’s weddings are interfaith/ and the numbers are growing. Close to 50% of all American Jewish weddings are currently interfaith or intercultural. Blending faiths and cultures in wedding ceremonies is a relatively new concept. There wasn't a lot of information readily available and many couples felt overwhelmed not knowing where to begin.
Over the years, we began to see a trend with the couples we helped plan their wedding. Most revolved around the ceremony. Many couples tried to ignore the elephant in the room and just skip including their heritage and traditions to find that it caused more problems, especially amongst their immediate family. Planning an interfaith ceremony—trying to honor both our families’ different religious traditions without offending either one, yet still creating a ceremony that felt authentically yours—can be an huge challenge.
Five Challenges when planning multicultural & mixed religions:
- Combining two sets of traditions into a balanced and inclusive ceremony
- Identifying the best location to host your ceremony that honors both sides
- Finding the right officiant and knowing the questions to ask them before choosing
- Creating a ceremony script that reflects both of your backgrounds and individuality
- Getting everyone on the same page and for the couple not to lose their voice in the process
Weddings are about two individuals coming together to create a new unit, a new family. One choice is to secularize your wedding. As many of our couples found, leaving out their ancestries denies a meaningful, spiritual, and uniquely authentic wedding. Finding a way to inject both cultural and/or religious backgrounds into the ceremony in a way that would be more inclusive of our respective families, while still keeping true to our desires is the way to go, even though it is more work upfront.
Basic decisions on how you would move forward into your marriage becames a decision that needs to be discussed upfront BEFORE you start getting into the nitty gritty of basic planning decisions like officiant, ceremony location, planner and other major wedding planning decisions..
If your marriage is about “both,” then your wedding may want to reflect a mixing and matching without offending wedding planning motto.
Our Planning motto: Acknowledge Similarities and Celebrate Your Differences.
Today the wedding rules and attitudes are different than 10 or more years ago. There are many options open to you, and that can be a little overwhelming too.
The following 10 tips are designed to offer you a place to begin planning on the right path to a well orchestrated inclusive ceremony.
Tip #1 Start early and take time to plan your ceremony
One of the most important tips when planning an interfaith wedding is allow
enough time to plan your wedding, A long engagement gives you time to work out some of the sensitive family dynamics that may occur, 9 months to a year is ideal. Interfaith friendly clergy are in the minority and book early. Some clergy require at least 6 months for classes, counseling and church permissions. Popular venues book up early. Your ceremony is extremely important, as it sets the tone for your entire wedding day. The key ingredient here is thoughtful planning. And that takes time and know- how.
Tip # 2 - Embrace Your New Families Heritage
Marriage is a merging of two families into one larger family. Paying homage to each other’s heritage by incorporating traditions during your ceremony can be beautiful, meaningful and a great teaching moment. Take time to learn about each other’s background by spending quality time with each other’s parents and families, especially during holidays and special occasions.
Tip # 3 Encourage open communication
Talk openly with your parents and partner. The couples we work with receive an optional questionnaire that help the officiant, designer and couple better understand what is important for them in the ceremony. We then suggest that after talking amongst themselves, they talk with both sets of parents and allow them to express their views and opinions.
flexibility and open communication is a major key to successful relationships.
Tip # 4 Be kind, patient and respectful
Show affection, not rejection. Be respectful of your partners family and background; especially, if it is meaningful to them. Older generations may not be as accepting of diversity. Parents from the homeland may still be very traditional in their lifestyle approach. Give them time to adjust. Be compassionate and allow each other to respectfully disagree. There is no right or wrong way to view these issues.
Tip # 5 Be flexible, open, and inclusive
The goal is to create a ceremony that everyone leaves feeling enriched and included. You want to make everyone feel appreciated and comfortable. Culture and religious traditions are part of what makes each of you unique. Expressing this with sensitivity and careful planning, can create an amazing experience for everyone.
Tip # 6 Your ceremony deserves a high priority during wedding planning. -
It’s so easy to get lost in planning your wedding and forget about the ceremony. As an interfaith couple, your ceremony is extremely important. It is your time to showcase how you plan to incorporate your differences into your new relationship. We suggest you start planning for your ceremony in the very beginning, before you pick a venue or officiant. Learn about your ceremony options. Consult an interfaith specialist, if you feel stuck or overwhelmed.
Tip #7 Personalize and Customize your ceremony
Interfaith Ceremonies just take more time and careful planning!
You don’t want to inadvertently make your future family feel left out
or uncomfortable, and, this is easy to do. This is why it’s so important to personalize and customize.
Begin with your dreams, hopes and vision and customize your ceremony into reality.A
Every element should be considered, every moment should be accounted for. Creating a photogenic setting allows the photographer to get the best possible pictures to remember your wedding, as well as, create an unforgettable experience for everyone; Arriving at the ceremony with beautiful music playing. romantic lighting, a timely service. Building energy throughout the ceremony and moving from one environment into another, so there’s a sense of flow.
It should feel so special that no one wants to leave. You want your guests to feel inspired and moved by the ceremony so that it creates a buzz during cocktails, reliving the special ceremonial moments and have it referred to during speeches after dinner.
# 8 Location Matters: Find a neutral setting for your ceremony
Before you choose a ceremony location, you want to have a working ceremony plan. In most instances where you are not making a choice of either one tradition or another, a neutral location works best and choosing a natural setting works extremely well for interfaith ceremonies.
Tip #9 Find the right officiant for you
Choose an officiant who is sensitive to interfaith issues. Your officiant should be warm and welcoming A good sense of humor is most important. It is never a good idea to try to convince an officiant to marry you. There are plenty who are more than willing to work with you. Take time to check out your different options.
successful wedding depends on two things: personalization and orchestration of the entire experience.
Tip #10 Relax and Focus on Your Wedding Day
When it comes to your wedding you get one shot to do it and do it well. On the day of your wedding, relax and let an experienced ceremony designer and wedding consultant orchestrate your wedding, while you relax and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.
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