Ideas for Multi-Cultural Weddings
So last week I met with a couple who wants to pull Pagan and Buddhist elements into their wedding. How fun! They were relieved to find me. Plus, plain happy I would work with them to create the ceremony they envision. “This kind of non-traditional territory is where I love to be with couples,” I told them.
And yet, as I said those words, I wondered if we are emerging with new practices that stretch beyond ‘non-traditional’. When I say ‘we’ I mean: couples who want their ceremony to reflect their one-of-a-kind beliefs and a Celebrant like myself who helps guide them. Simply put: We are making ceremonies REAL. (Most definitely not rote and one size fits all!)
This story from CNN about interfaith and multicultural weddings supports this idea. I think this passage speaks to why:
Unlike prior generations, contemporary couples aren’t afraid to tinker with the order of a ceremony or the wedding traditions that have, in the past, seemed intractable. Also, many contemporary couples are older when they marry, so they’ve had more time to travel, work and become more educated.
These are the couples with whom I love to work: they are mature, they’ve traveled and they know themselves well. Whether or not two people come from different ethnic traditions, based upon various life experiences, they may hold vastly different beliefs. Judaism and Hinduism, for example. In these situations, another passage from the CNN article includes helpful ideas from Susanna Macomb, a widely known Officiant and Author:
Finding commonality between traditions can make a ceremony meaningful, but make sure to have someone explain the symbolism to the wedding guests, or most will be in the dark, says Macomb. Also, she advises intercultural weddings can seem more cohesive if an officiant and readers incorporate some native languages into the ceremony as a nod to family members who have traveled from another part of the world.
As a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® who leads weddings, this is one of the things I do best: finding commonality between traditions – beliefs – values to make a ceremony meaningful. In our training as Celebrants, we delve deeply into symbolism. We consider and enact ways to bring universal explanation into the script, so guests may resonate with the message delivered. This is especially helpful during multicultural ceremonies, where guests may be unfamiliar with certain elements!
Enjoy the journey, if you are planning a multicultural or interfaith wedding! Feel free to leave comments or questions, too . . .