June 2016

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Love is an emotion of the heart, but that does not mean your wedding plan cannot be intentional, thought out, and arrived at in an analytical manner. In fact, every wedding deserves to (and must) be based on a solid plan which could even include a celebration of the bride and groom’s culture, as well as their unique personalities. Although a couple might share a culture with millions of people, they can still put their individual spin on the wedding. Even two cultures can be celebrated in a fusion event with aspects of each one incorporated into the ceremony and reception.

How the Bride and Groom Can Celebrate Their Culture and Uniqueness

 1.  Choose a Meaningful Date For Your Fusion Wedding

Military wedding

An engaged couple could honor their culture from the start of their wedding preparations. They can even begin with the choice of date. The bride and groom could select a date which has special significance for their culture.

Greg and Melanie chose June 6, 2015 – the 71st Anniversary of D-Day as the day for their spectacular vineyard wedding. Since Greg was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and Melanie had roots in England, remembering this special day of liberation when Allied Forces landed on Normandy Beaches held unbelievable meaning for this couple.

2. Send Memorable Invitations

Memorable invitations

A couple does not have to wait for their wedding day, however, to bring culture into the celebration of their love. They could start to introduce their roots with the wedding invitations. Use traditional colors and designs.

For example, Pakistani invitations would display vibrant shades. If your country of origin is a tropical destination, such as Puerto Rico, choose images of ferns, palm trees, or sea shells.

3.  Wear Cultural Attire

Cultural attire

The bride and groom can wear cultural fashion for all or part of their special event. For example, at Russell and Carol’s fusion wedding (American + Vietnamese), the bride dressed in a stunning gown for the ceremony, and the groom wore a dark suit.

The handsome groom also posed with his lovely bride as he proudly wore his U.S. Air Force Uniform. During the Vietnamese tea ceremony, the couple changed into traditional garb to honor this age-old practice.

4. Plan an Unforgettable Ceremony

Unforgettable ceremony

The entire wedding day will be filled with special moments, but the ceremony is the ultimate peak of the celebration. This period is more than just a formality. Indeed, it is the reason for the whole event.

Whether a religious or secular occasion, if the couple is going to introduce their culture with just one part of the day, then the ceremony is the place for this celebration. In the photo above, Poonam prepares for her Punjabi wedding ceremony to Vikram.

There are several ways in which the bride and groom can add culture to their ceremony. They could include significant rituals, personalize readings, or share their love story through wedding details such as traditional music, special flowers, or other creative touches.

Of course, not everyone who attends an event will be familiar with all the traditional activities which take place at a cultural wedding. Therefore, the couple should provide print-outs explaining the practices. This shared material helps to promote more understanding and knowledge of different cultures.

5. Decorate with Culture

Decorate with culture

Show your cultural preferences in wedding décor. Moroccan style (as shown above) would call for exotic design and rich color.

Wedding decor

Wedding decoration can show the traditional representation of a culture or include more contemporary symbolism.

6.  Serve Ethnic Dishes

Ethnic dishes

The wedding menu can include all cultural dishes, or there can be a mix with mainstream items. The perfect balance will reflect one’s culture and please the guests. Of course, certain wedding rituals involve traditional foods.

The South Indian wedding of Avanti and Sunil followed customs from the Telugu and Tamil traditions. During one part of the ceremony, ten married women (Sumangaḷi) accompany the bride. Six women hold plates containing sacred rice (a mixture of rice and turmeric powder). The other four have small lit lamps on their plates. The rice represents abundance, and the lamps symbolize light.

7. Entertain With Purpose

Entertain with purpose

The prime goal of entertainment is for fun and entertainment, but it still does not have to lack purpose. A couple can make a thoughtful decision to have wedding entertainment which reflects their culture.

When Joey and Juhana married in a fusion celebration (Spanish + American), Peruvian dancers performed at the event as a nod to Juhana’s roots. The couple also arranged for traditional food to be served at the celebration, and the bride’s mantilla-style wedding veil portrayed Spanish style.

Indian-African culture

Nitin and Fanta celebrated their marriage in an African-Indian fusion wedding. African drummers/dancers performed to perfection at their cultural celebration. The group’s astounding energy and fast drum beats made for a thrilling show and excellent entertainment.

8. Celebrate the Honeymoon

Celebrate the honeymoon

With wedding décor, the newlyweds can celebrate the honeymoon destination at their marriage celebration. Bringing the honeymoon and wedding together creates a unique connection for the couple. Utilizing symbols of the honeymoon location with the wedding details, fashion, or photography is a recent trend for contemporary weddings.

A couple can introduce a hint of their homeland or another country in the wedding décor. Gregory and Melanie planned to honeymoon in Italy. Therefore, they displayed an Italian touch in the venue and décor with their rustic vineyard event.

If you plan a honeymoon to your native land, a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund can make it much more affordable.

9. Long Distance Messages

Long distance messages from abroad can lend double the cultural influence to a wedding. When loved ones who cannot be at the event send best wishes in messages or videos, they impart their culture, as well as the flavor of another country. Videos are a very effective tool for conveying wedding greetings with a cultural twist.

 10. Tell Your Love Story

The bride and groom can choose to tell their love story at the wedding in different ways. Some couples let the person who officiates the wedding relate precious moments (whether the silliest or the most loving) to their family and friends. Others ask a relative to share memories of their courtship and engagement.

Many couples blend it into the wedding décor with a framed picture of their proposal story, collection of photos throughout the relationship, napkins with interesting “Do You Know” facts about them, customized favors, or varied ways limited only by their imagination.

It is impossible for a bride and groom to tell their love story without sharing their individuality and culture with wedding guests.

Bio: With their passion for weddings, attention to detail, and easy-to-work-with approach, Seven Ivory Brides, an expert team of fusion wedding planners and event organizers in the Washington DC/Virginia/Maryland area, has excelled in the wedding industry. Seven Ivory Brides was chosen by couples as a “Best Local Vendor” in the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards 2015. These experienced wedding planners are your “go-to” source for organizing the most exquisite and unforgettable cultural and fusion celebrations. A social conscience ranks as a top priority for Seven Ivory Brides whose Pay It Forward project is one of their proudest accomplishments.

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This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

There are so many things to consider when planning your wedding, so here are some of my favourite tips for saving you time, money and adding that little something extra to your special day… Don’t forget to set up  honeymoon registry to help make your dream a reality.

Key Wedding Tips To Remember

Attendees at wedding

1) Choosing your suppliers

Have a list of key questions when you meet potential suppliers so you don’t forget to ask anything.

2) Keeping an emergency fund

Ring-fence 10% of your wedding budget, as a contingency fund for any unexpected emergency situations that may arise.

Wedding photographer

3) Selecting a photographer

Always meet two or three photographers before booking. You’ve got to love your photographer, as you spend so much time with them on the day!

4) Wedding Insurance

Whether you have an extravagant or modest wedding budget, always, always, always take out wedding insurance!  Even the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry.

Wedding bouque

5) Throwing your bouquet

If you want to keep your bridal bouquet, why not throw your bridesmaid’s instead?

6) Enjoying your wedding flowers for the full day

You can move pedestals from the church to the reception entrance, use pew ends to decorate your chairs for the wedding breakfast and even place bridesmaids’ bouquets in vases to use as table centrepieces.

Wedding hashtag

7) Creating your own hashtag

Why not create your own # to keep a track of all your guests’ photos, posts and tweets from your wedding day?

8) Speeches

If your groom is ultra nervous, break with tradition and have the speeches before the wedding breakfast so that he can enjoy his food and the occasion!

Enjoy your cake

9) Using your wedding cake as your dessert

If your venue/caterer permits it, this is a fabulous way to save some pennies AND you can ensure that everyone makes the most of the delicious cake you ordered, rather than it being thrown away, uneaten at the end of the night!

10) Hiring an on-the-day coordinator

You might feel confident organising your wedding on your own, but don’t leave the running of the day itself to chance.  Prevent last minute panics as to whether the car will arrive, the cake will be in place, the tables are laid correctly or the band is paid and give your mum, sister and BFF the opportunity to enjoy every moment of your special day with you, by hiring a professional wedding planner to take away the stress.  They’ll thank you for it!

Wedding celebration

Bio: Weddings by Zoë is owned and operated by Zoë Binning, a professional wedding planner, coordinator and event organiser specialising in creating beautiful and bespoke events. Located near Cardiff, she organises weddings across South Wales including Newport, Cardiff and Swansea and throughout South West England, from Bristol and Gloucestershire, Somerset and Devon and down to Cornwall. 

As an Associate member of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP), she readily adheres to their ethics and strict code of business practice and is also fully insured to give you peace of mind and reassurance when booking my wedding planning services. Also trained by with in-depth courses form the UKAWP, she is very conscious of trends in the wedding industry. For more information, check out the Weddings By Zoe website.

Cover photo copyright Samantha Gilraine Photograghy

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