This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
All Weddings are Fusion Weddings
I have been planning weddings for over 8 years now. I can truthfully say that I have never planned the “same wedding” twice. Even in the most basic of ceremonies and standard of receptions, there is customization and culture infused into every single one of my events. Some more than others.
What Are Fusion Weddings?
A fusion wedding is one that blends two distinct cultures or religions from each marrying party. Sometimes this fusion is completed within one ceremony or event, and sometimes it is carried out through separate ceremonies or events all occurring under the same “wedding.” There is no formula for fusion weddings, although for the purpose of this blog we will focus on those that share equal representation of each culture or religion throughout the ceremonies.
How to Plan a Fusion Wedding
Consult the Elders
Before any planning takes place, figure out from both sides which traditions, customs, and ceremonies absolutely MUST be included in your wedding. Most parents/grandparents will understand that there will be concessions and allowances from both sides in both ceremonial and celebratory aspects of the event. By determining what your “must haves” and “would like to haves” are well in advance, you can work to create something that fulfills requirements for both sides.
Get a Master Plan
Once you have determined the customs and traditions that must be included, start putting pieces together. Try to get at least an outline for the day(s) including ceremony(ies) and guest movement. Will you be able to perform all necessary ceremonies in the same space? Will certain guests need to be at one event and not another? Having an overall picture of how your wedding events might flow will assist you in selecting the right venue(s) and getting a budget in order.
Speaking of Budget….
With a fusion wedding, the lines of “who will pay for what” might not be as cut and dry as they can be with traditional weddings. When establishing a budget, it might make sense to have families pay for the venues, food, and décor needed for their particular events, while splitting the cost of shared services such as photography and videography.
Identify Where You Can Share Resources
In an effort to keep the entire wedding as cohesive as possible (even with the different influences), try to share resources and services where possible/appropriate. For example, using the same florist (or even some of the same centerpieces) between a post-ceremony luncheon and an evening reception will save money and bring continuity to the event design. Using the same photographer will keep the albums looking congruent, even if there are multiple events taking place in multiple locations.
Consider “Branding” Your Fusion Wedding
Your love is unique, and that should be reflected in your wedding. One way to keep continuity in a fusion wedding is to keep a constant in various design aspects. For example use the same color, surrounded by different accents, in various ceremonies. Create a unique symbol or motif that blends your cultures and display that on everything from your invitations to your dance floor to your cake topper. Find ways for your event to be branded as a reflection of you, not necessarily as a collage of contrasting cultures.
Variety and Options Are Your Friends
When scouting venues or planning a menu, the more flexibility a space or vendor can offer the better. Does your significant other come from a non-meat eating culture? Find a caterer who can provide completely animal free (including fats and oils) vegetarian options as well as a meat dish for your reception. Do you need a prayer room? Find a venue that can offer a smaller, private, space close to the reception space for this function. Working with a custom invitation designer can help you sort out how you will invite groups of guests to different functions. The bottom line is that it’s a lot easier to accommodate various needs when you have more control, flexibility, and options.
It’s OK to Separate Guests for Ceremonial Functions
While some guests might not understand WHY they are not invited to a female family member-dominated pre-ceremony event, you have every right to leave them off of the list for certain functions. Perhaps it would be easier to complete your individual ceremonies with just the requiring side of the family in attendance. That is perfectly OK! Just make sure your invitation suite allows for customization to ensure that each guest receives the proper invite and information for each event.
Most Importantly, Be True To Yourselves!
Never forget that this glorious occasion is forthcoming in celebration of YOUR love. The inherent headache of fusion weddings will be much more manageable if you can be assured that you are doing exactly what is right for you both. Happy planning!
After the wedding , celebrate your love on a wedding trip financed by your Honeyfund wedding registry.
Bio: Miranda Meisenbach is a Professional Wedding Consultant certified by the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants who has over 8 years of wedding and event planning experience. She is the owner and operator of MIRA Events + Design, a boutique special event coordination and design company serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Phoenix, Arizona markets. She is a mother of 2, an average ice-hockey player, an outdoor enthusiast, a closet musician, and her heart belongs to a Navy pilot.
For more information, visit her website at http://www.mira-events.com/