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Mixing Cultures and Religions

It's the year 2020 and people of this generation are known to break rules and traditions, starting new trends, and of course embracing and interacting with others who are different from each other whether it's race, ethnic background, religion & beliefs, sexuality, etc. Now a days, there are so many interracial couples who are falling in love and plan to start a life together. A lot of these interracial couples are obviously from different ethnic backgrounds, and most likely have different religious backgrounds. So what's the dilemma here? Mixing cultures and especially religious beliefs may be a sensitive subject to some people. When it comes to planning a wedding that deals with the religious aspect, there will definitely be a dilemma of which religious denomination to go with for the ceremony. Usually the ones who are concerned the most are the "older" generation such as your grandparents who may be very traditional and super religious or even your parents who were brought up the same way. This dilemma may be challenging because you may not be the religious one in the family, however you most likely do not want to disappoint your family and may want to do as they wish out of respect for them and at the same time, your fiancé's family feels the exact same way. So how do we come to a compromise?

Here are a few suggestions on mixing cultures and religions on you special day:

1. HAVING TWO SEPARATE CEREMONIES

If both sides of each family really insist on a traditional wedding of their preference and you want to compromise, having two separate religious ceremonies isn't such a bad idea. For example, say you come from a Jewish background and your fiancé comes from an Indian Sikh background. Most Indian families traditionally celebrate a wedding for a whole week. You could most likely do your Jewish festivities for the first half of the week and the remaining week for the Sikh festivities.

Celebrating a wedding for a whole week sounds a lot of fun but may be very tiring. Another solution or suggestion is if you want everything to happen on the same day, you could perform the Jewish ceremony first and then right after perform the Sikh ceremony or vice versa. At the reception, mixing the two ethnic cultures wouldn't be as much of a headache but rather more fun and will definitely will bring everyone together.

2. RELIGIOUS CEREMONY FROM ONE SIDE AND PARTY RECEPTION FROM THE OTHER SIDE

Another wedding example would be if the couple were of Italian and Chinese backgrounds. They could have a traditional Italian Catholic Wedding honouring one side of the family and a traditional Chinese reception dinner at a Chinese banquet hall honouring the other side of the family. This could work for both families of the bride and groom as all their guests would have a great time embracing each other's cultures. You could definitely do the total opposite and have a religious Buddhist ceremony (if partner 1 of Chinese decent were Buddhist) and a big traditional Italian reception dinner. It's all about compromise! You and your fiancé should discuss which religious ceremony suits you both and which side of the family is more into partying and having a good time.

3. INTERFAITH CEREMONIES

Interfaith ceremonies would be a popular option for most interracial couples. The term "interfaith" relates to or between different religions or members of different religions. With today's generation of acceptance, most people are open to embracing each other's cultures and an interfaith wedding would be a beautiful way to incorporate both cultures and religions. Most interfaith ceremonies will usually have two different religious officiators to perform the ceremony together. Another example of an interracial couple could be a Portuguese Christian marrying an Israeli with a Jewish religious background. The ceremony could then be officiated by both a Pastor and a Rabbi.

Here are some tips and advice on how to plan a multicultural/interfaith wedding:

Communication: Be open with not only your fiancé, but with both sides of the family and be vocal and discuss what parts of their traditions they would like to incorporate for the wedding.

Making it clear and being vocal: At the end of the day, it's YOUR wedding and you get to make the final decisions of what's happening on your special day. You and your fiancé should make it clear to both sides of the families that you are willing to be open to incorporating any traditional festivities but will decide if you want to go through with those plans.

Ceremony Venue Site: If incorporating an interfaith ceremony, you should consider choosing an appropriate venue to perform you ceremony. You may want to pick a venue that accommodates both your religious rules and traditions.

Faux Pas/Respect: Both you and your fiancé should educate or inform each side of the family on what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in each others culture and especially religion, and obviously respect one another.

Understanding Rituals: Help your guests understand what is going on by providing a wedding program informing them of what is going to happen, especially if it's in a different language they do not speak or understand. You could also get your officiator(s) to inform everyone at the wedding of what is happening next and what each part of the ceremony symbolizes from either culture/religion.

Performing Traditional Dances: Take some dance lessons with your fiancé and practice some traditional dances from either side of the family to perform at your wedding to entertain your guests. This will also show that you are embracing the other side's culture/traditions.

Stay True To Yourself: Pleasing your loved ones and honouring their traditions on your special day is a wonderful thing to do, however this is your wedding day and the importance of your marriage/wedding is to showcase your personalities and to remind everyone at your wedding of why they are uniting and supporting you and your fiancé.

Mixing cultures and religions are definitely beautiful!

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