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4 Ways To Blend Traditions To A Multicultural Wedding Ceremony

4 Ways To Blend Traditions To A Multicultural Wedding Ceremony

The world becomes more of a cultural melting pot every day. As the distances between us seem to lessen, more and more couples have roots in different and distinct cultures. The bride and groom may want to create a ceremony that blends their heritages together, allowing each to pay respect to where they came from while starting their new life as one.

But it can be tricky to find suitable ways to pay reverence to their unique backgrounds and throw the multicultural wedding of your dreams. With that in mind, here are some tips to get you started.

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1. Identify Aspects of Importance

Weddings are composed of a range of smaller traditions, and the bride and groom may feel strongly about including specific parts while others may not feel as critical. Before you begin planning the wedding, couples should sit down and discuss any aspects that they feel must be included in the ceremony. This allows each person to focus on the traditions that matter most and can help provide a framework upon which you can plan the rest of the ceremony.

Some traditions are easy to integrate into any ceremony regardless of the other elements in place. For example, the jumping the broom ceremony can be added to almost any wedding or reception with ease. Even if family members or friends in attendance aren’t familiar with the tradition, it is also easy to explain its symbolic meaning to help each side of the family understand one another’s culture more fully. The same can be said for breaking the glass in the Jewish faith, or the unity candle tradition in Catholic ceremonies.

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2. Say it with Colour and Pattern

Another way to bring your heritages together is through the use of colour. Asian wedding planners know  the significance of a variety of colours in traditional Asian ceremonies. For example, the colour red is considered good luck in Chinese and Korean culture, so a Chinese or Korean bride or groom may want red to be featured prominently in the ceremony. Indian weddings are also traditionally bright and vibrant which can make a wide broad of colours highly appropriate. Various embroidered designs on fabric can also pay homage to traditional offerings from a person’s home country.

Similarly to understanding a person’s need for a particular colour or pattern, respect each other’s need to avoid certain colours in the ceremony.  For example, yellow roses were thought to represent jealousy in the Victorian era, and some prefer to avoid them today.

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3. Fusion Cuisine

The reception is also an excellent place to blend cultures together. Consider offering an array of foods that acknowledge the varied history of the bridal party. This can be a fun addition, and can also make family members who are more traditional find something familiar amongst the offerings. Granted, this may be more challenging if a full lunch or dinner will be served, but can work very well for buffets or receptions that only feature light hors d’oeuvres. Desserts can also reflect a person’s cultural heritage if you want to have more than a wedding cake, or prefer to replace the wedding cake tradition with another option.

Granted, this may be more challenging if a full lunch or dinner will be served, but can work very well for buffets or receptions that only feature light hors d’oeuvres. Desserts can also reflect a person’s cultural heritage if you want to have more than a wedding cake, or prefer to replace the wedding cake tradition with another option.

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4. Consider Two Officiants

Some officiants are open to performing a wedding ceremony jointly with an officiant of a different faith or culture. In this way, both cultures can be recognised fully, and properly, by someone who is intimately familiar with the traditions, and the bride and groom can each have their unique perspectives included.

This may also be a favourable option for situations where family traditions are held strongly by certain family members. While a wedding should not be all about appeasing the guests, sometimes it is easier to find an option upon which everyone can agree.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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