During his recent online bridal expo celebrity wedding planner, David Tutera, revealed the most important thing brides can do for their wedding is to make it their own.
It makes sense. Who wants to attend the same wedding every month? The same old band, singing the same old songs. The same bland chicken entrée and candy favors.
So how can brides, or anyone hosting a party or event, stamp their own identity onto a celebration?
How can you tell your story without going over the top or boring people to death?
One of the most unique and memorable ways is to infuse cultural elements into the whole process.
We all have a heritage, whether we know it or not. Some of us are very in tune with our cultural backgrounds. Customs or traditions may have been regularly celebrated in your home growing up.
Others may have such a mix of cultures in their family or have little connection with their relatives that they don’t value any traditions.
But whether or not you come from a culturally-rich background incorporating elements of your own culture or other cultures you respect can really make your event stand out.
In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with respectfully adopting traditions from other cultures, if they have some sort of significance to you or your story.
We’re not talking cheesy luau's or Mexican fiesta themes here (unless that's what you're into!)
Using understated cultural elements to pay tribute to or celebrate a special guest or guests, a deceased loved one, your partner’s family, your kids etc, can create some memorable moments.
At my wedding I used Indian sari material to make fabric envelopes for my invitations and had a steel band playing at the end of my ceremony. Both were subtle nods to my Indian and Caribbean ancestry.
Here are some other ways to add culture:
1. Henna Tattoos
This is a great way to inject some Indian culture into your event! The flowery and intricate designs from a henna tattoo can be applied to your skin as well as pieces of art or even your wedding cake! Having an experienced henna artist at your event allows your guests to experience something unique and cultural.
The amazing pictures above are the work of experienced henna artist Sadia Farzana. Check her out on Facebook.
Colors are a great way to honor another country. Why not choose a color scheme with a rich, cultural significance? Maybe red and gold from China or from the traditional Hindu wedding sari, or tartan prints from Scotland and green from Ireland? (Although blue was traditionally the color for Irish brides). Or maybe choose colors from the international flag of your favorite country.
3. Guest Book
Guest books can be personalized in almost any way you want.
How about getting guests to sign a large map or a world globe? Maybe they could sign near or on a country they’ve visited.
Or a lovely idea is to fill an old (cute) suitcase with blank postcards from countries you’ve visited or would love to visit. Guests can leave a message about what you should do when you visit the country or places they recommend you travel to.
Brides of many cultures carry good luck charms with them throughout the ceremony. Traditionally Irish weddings place special significance on horseshoes, bells and the Celtic knot. Greek brides carry ivy in their bouquets and Swedish brides carry gold and silver coins in their shoes! A small charm in a discreet place allows you to honor a culture without overpowering the main wedding theme.
This is probably one of the easiest ways to share your cultural heritage with your guests. A traditional recipe from an older family member can be shared. Instead of classic sugared almonds why not use candies from a different country? Or how about a decorative Spanish fan, a Chinese candle or some Indian spices?
Using a cultural entertainer is a wonderful way to spread awareness and share your background with your guests. Many cultures had traditional dancers, costumes and music and hiring an authentic cultural dancer will give your event that wow factor.
Or here’s a crazy idea…why not learn to do a traditional dance and wow your guests yourself!
What other ways have you seen culture infused into an event? Do you think there's anything wrong with adopting traditions from other cultures? I’d love to hear what you think!
Life’s too short not to celebrate it…
Culture-vulture, passionate event planner, devoted wife and mother of two. Oh yes...and a witty Brit who loves palm trees and planning parties!!!.