In the 1960s, the number of immigrants entering the United States began to steadily rise and, with it, so did the relatively new trend of multiracial marriages.
After the lifting of all anti-miscegenation laws in 1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court, interracial marriages have experienced a steady increase. We love an amalgamation of culture and traditions, but also understand that at times it can be tricky trying to incorporate a multitude of customs all into one event. The experience can be overwhelming, but if done correctly your wedding can turn into the talk out of the town– for all the right reasons!
So let Mad Mandy be your guide and, below, find 10 beautiful, exciting, and creative tips on how to pull off the perfect mixed-race wedding for you and your beau:
1. Have two separate receptions/ceremonies:
If you’re afraid it might be too hard or confusing trying to meld too many cultural factors into one event– try two instead! You can do this in two ways: either by having the ceremony follow one set of traditions and the reception another; or by having two separate weddings altogether! Couples may opt for the second choice based on geographical factors (for instance, if their family and friends are in different parts of the globe), or simply if they feel as if one wedding wouldn’t do justice to both their most treasured values. Important things to consider when planning two weddings are the cost, stress levels (one by itself can be stressful enough), and timing (it’s important to space them out, perhaps maybe by having the second event on your one year anniversary or another special occasion).
2. Food! For some, deciding what food to serve at their weddings becomes a crucial factor. Interracial couples can take advantage of their heritage and spice things up by including traditional food from both their backgrounds on the menu. This would be likely to make all guests feel comfortable by providing a something familiar for everyone, while also allowing them to try new delicacies they may never have before.
I once attended a wedding where the Spanish bride chose to substitute the traditional wedding cake for Churros instead. Everyone loved the idea… it’s hard to complain about a mouth-watering Spanish delicacy that melts in your mouth. Indian/Pakistani brides could choose to serve Mithai (traditional sweet) instead. I’d say food is among one of the easiest ways to blend both your and your fiance’s different backgrounds together, so have fun with it!
Incorporating different traditions into one wedding might be confusing or tricky for the guests who are unfamiliar with a certain set of customs. A good idea would be to have a program given to them that breaks down some of the unique things you may be planning for the day. This could be as basic or as elaborate as you choose to make it.
4. Invitations! Similar to planning the food menu, you can have a lot of fun with creating unique invitations that stay true to your heritage while standing out with vibrant colours and novel designs. Both these and the Program (above) could be bilingual if you’re really trying hard to stick to your roots.
5. Research! You could really take advantage of traditions that may be similar to your partner’s by doing a little research. For example, both Jewish and Greek families usually find it customary to have their families stand at their side at the altar during the wedding ceremony to emphasize the importance of family values and mutual love.
6. Music/Dance: Having dance classes for family and close friends can be an energetic and joyous way to teach them your traditions or learn some of theirs! This is also a great way to bond with your soon-to-be relatives while having plain and simple fun. You can all show off your moves together on your big day, making it an event to remember with raging music piercing the silent night.
7. Wedding Dress:
Opting for a more traditional alternative to the standard white dress for brides and suit for grooms could be a fabulous way to add vibrancy to your big day. Perhaps you could also switch things around by donning traditional attire from your partner’s heritage to emphasize your mutual respect for eachother's traditions. My friend’s American cousin once decided to wear a Sari to her wedding, much to the delight of her fiance’s Indian family, and guests loved the colour it added to the evening.
8. Vows: Another way to show respect for both your culture and your beau’s could be to recite your vows in either your or his mother-tongue. This is sure to impress friends and families alike, while proving that you are committed to one another’s values.
Having the closest members of your wedding get in on the fun is a fabulous way of having a great time while also staying true to your faith. For example, a Japanese bride might choose to ask her bridesmaids to wear Kimonos, while a South Asian groom may provide his groomsmen with Shalwar Kameezes– traditional Indian and Pakistani attire for men.
10. Cultural Favours:
Perhaps providing guests with mixed-tradition takeaway bags including a few small goodies from each of your two heritages would be a small, but appreciative way of proving that you’re both in this together– and appreciate what each one’s background can offer.