Few phrases incite as much simultaneous excitement among couples as the phrase, “We’re getting married!” And while the idea of a wedding can be exciting, the wedding planning process can be pretty stressful. When should you send out invitations? Who should sit next to whom? For multicultural and interfaith couples, added stress can arise from attempting to fuse multiple cultures and/or religions into one or more wedding ceremonies, all while dealing with potential criticism from family, friends and communities. And while all couples ultimately want a beautiful wedding with minimal hiccups, there isn’t a lot of support or advice for multicultural weddings in the blogoshpere. Enter Raj Dharar, the blogger behind Secret Wedding Blog, a site that caters to couples in this exact situation.
“In my spare time I would browse a range of wedding blogs and thought everything was so beautiful. I would find blogs that focus on civil ceremonies and then asian wedding blogs, but there wasn’t any I found that specifically focused on two or more cultures combined,” explained Raj. Thus the concept of the Secret Wedding Blog was born. Since launching the Secret Wedding Blog in 2013, Raj has grown a loyal following of couples around the world looking for wedding planning inspiration. She has also been shortlisted for Best Individual Wedding Blog at the 2014 UK Blog Awards and has been recognized as a finalist for Best Bridal Newcomer blog at the 2014 Wedding Blog Awards. All this while maintaining a full-time career in design? Talk about a #girlboss! Check out these three crucial tips Raj shared for planning a multicultural wedding. We’ll be waiting for our invitation in the mail — and, yes, we’ll have the chicken.
TIPS + ADVICE
1. Decide what’s really important. Raj advises couples, particularly those planning interfaith weddings, to think about what traditions from each culture or faith they can’t imagine their wedding without. “The best part of a fusion wedding is that you can pick and choose traditions that you want in your big day,” she notes. Take inspiration from Otis and Nitasha, who wed in Raleigh, NC. The couple embraced each other’s customs by hosting a Hindu ceremony followed by a Christian ceremony. If decision-making feels too daunting to do as a couple, then Raj suggests sitting down with both sets of parents to see if their suggestions can help with your wedding planning.
2. Compromise, compromise, compromise. Raj says that a lot of couples have more than one ceremony so they have a chance to celebrate both of each other’s cultures or faiths. There are also couples like Jennifer and Regis, who opt for a more culturally neutral ceremony. The couple, who married in Canada, decided not to cater to specific traditions from Jennifer’s Chinese background or Regis’ Belgian background. “Attempting the cultural melting pot would have been tough to organize, and frankly, confusing. “We opted for an informal event, with family and friends at a local restaurant that we were able to rent out on a Sunday afternoon,” said Jennifer. And whether you decide to do one ceremony or three, Raj says to make sure you are compromising for the right reasons.
3. You just can’t please everyone (and that’s okay). Of course, when dealing with particularly conservative relatives or seeking advice from others to plan for your big day, remember that you can’t please everyone. And that’s a-okay. “Your wedding is about you and your partner. You will not be able to please everyone at your wedding because everyone has an opinion of what they think is required. ” says Raj. Raj also offers plenty advice on the Secret Wedding Blog on how to handle common situations, like telling your ‘rents about your interfaith relationship, planning the perfect multicultural wedding and so much more. Couples interested in being featured on the Secret Wedding Blog should be sure to read the site’s submissions page for details.
All images courtesy of the Secret Wedding Blog.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about planning a multicultural wedding? Share your tips with us in the comments below.