My cousin went to Singapore for a job and two years later he told us that he had found the love of his life in the new city. The girl was of Chinese origin, so naturally, my typically Indian family was pretty shocked at first but soon agreed to the wedding. As a result, we cousins got to plan and witness a beautiful two-day cross cultural wedding celebration in India and then another one in Singapore.
And trust me when I say this, it was the best wedding I have ever attended. So here are some tips on planning the perfect cross-cultural wedding... One that makes all the people involved very, very happy. Read on.
1. Talk to all the important people involved in the wedding
We did not hire a wedding planner and all of us just took it upon ourselves to plan the perfect wedding for our bhai. We had extensive discussions with him and his fiance about her family and what all they wanted. We spoke to the couple about what they preferred - an intimate affair or a grand celebration. And after we had all our answers, we got down to business.
2. Make a list of customs and traditions that you don’t want to miss out on from both sides
This is a very important step. We knew our Punjabi traditions, but we had to ensure that our bhabhi’s family does not feel left out while we went on with our rituals. So we made a list of the important traditions from both the cultures and planned on including them in the ceremonies.
3. Creatively incorporate the traditional ensembles and cuisines of both the cultures in the ceremony
This was the most interesting part. It was decided that there would be two wedding ceremonies, one in India and one in Singapore. For the wedding in India, everyone from the girl’s side wore traditional Indian wear. The food was also served keeping in mind the palettes of relatives from both the sides. For the ceremony in Singapore, our side of the family wore traditional Chinese outfits and accessories.
4. If your folks do not agree to mix two traditions, then just opt for separate ceremonies
None of our traditions were the same as theirs, for obvious reasons. So we had to opt for two wedding ceremonies. And everybody took part in all the rituals whole-heartedly, because all of us were witnessing something new. It’s the best way to go about a cross-culture wedding.
5. Make sure that all the guests understand the meaning of all the rituals being followed - that’ll make it fun
We had a huge screen installed near the mandap. So while the Pandits were chanting the mantras, their meaning was displayed on screen for everybody to read and understand. You can also distribute tiny placards or booklets which have the meaning of all the traditions and rituals of both the cultures. Before we knew it, all the guests present at the functions knew the significance behind mehendi, chooda, kalire, haldi and sangeet!
P.S. The most important thing to keep in mind when opting for a cross-cultural wedding is that you do not get caught up in the endless rituals and you and your family enjoy the big day. Respecting the traditions and dynamics of both sides is the key.