5 Tips for Planning a Multicultural or Interfaith Wedding

5 Tips for Planning a Multicultural or Interfaith Wedding by Terence Joseph Photography

As if organising a wedding wasn’t already potentially laden with ways to inadvertently offend your parents or other family members, planning a wedding that involves several cultures or faiths can be a nightmare, however is possible to happily merge faiths and families in a wedding that will keep everyone happy.

Set Expectations

Start by talking to your parents, or the parties you know will want certain things to be done a specific way, about their expectations. You don’t have to commit to doing anything at this point but it is helpful to find out whether there is any aspect of the service or day which is particularly important to them. Though your wedding day is about the pair of you it can avoid future conflict or grumblings at family gatherings if you make some concessions to honour your family’s wishes too.

Talk about your own expectations as well. If one of you is Jewish and can’t imagine exchanging vows anywhere but under a chuppah, let them know.

Find the right Officiant

You need to find the person, or people, who will sensitively appreciate that your union entails different beliefs and traditions. Find out about the other’s culture or religion to increase your own awareness and appreciation for why your in-laws may expect things to be done a certain way. If you are religious, have pre-marital counselling to identify and discuss you may potentially face in future.

Separate Ceremonies

In the case of extremely diverse beliefs or traditions consider having two ceremonies, or a civil ceremony with two religious or cultural blessings. If this isn’t an option, incorporate your differences in your choice of music or outfits, including something familiar for all your guests. A buffet with a variety of foods that will appeal to both sides is another way of demonstrating your mixed union. Include an explanation of specific cultural or religious traditions in your wedding programme so that your extended family of in-laws understand the significance.

Personalise Your Ceremony

An interfaith wedding is not about splitting your ceremony in half, but incorporating aspects from both your backgrounds as well as including features which represent your relationship and your personalities. Readings and music are two ways of doing this, as is what you wear. Incorporate some fun aspects like getting your MC to teach your guests how to say “congratulations” in your respective languages. You could also arrange a dance lesson before your wedding ceremony (if dance is a big part of the celebrations) so everyone can get involved in the fun.

Hopefully your wedding planning will go a smoothly as falling in love but don’t despair if you hit a few speed bumps in planning your interfaith or multicultural wedding. Remember that compromise is a key element of a happy marriage, so planning your wedding will give you lots of practice.

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