What is a Multicultural Celebrant Wedding Ceremony?
Are you organising a multicultural wedding ceremony? If so you may find the below helpful, written by Celebrant (and Toastmaster) Member Sonal Dave
A Multicultural Wedding Ceremony is when there are two people who want to get married, have a wedding ceremony and they are both from different backgrounds. This could be by religion, a different section of a religion or culture.
Religion is the belief system and can often be associated with an individual’s Faith and Culture is the knowledge that is shared by people living in a society.
In a Hindu Wedding, many people will assume that all Hindu couples will have the same ceremony conducted by the priest. In principle, this is sort of correct as there are some parts of the wedding ceremony that should not be missed out, but if one of the couple is Patel and the other is Shah, then there will be a couple of different rituals that the family may ask the priest or even an Independent Celebrant to include. If one of the couple is Hindu and the other Hindu Punjabi then again there will be some similar rituals as well as different ones.
How is a Multicultural Wedding Planned?
People may assume that this part is going to be difficult but actually it can be pretty straight forward. The key thing to do is firstly jot down the different elements expected from each side of the family. You will then find that some are similar or the same so its pretty easy to include them. An example of this can be seen in the Western Wedding Ceremony where the bridegroom and the bride do not see each other until the wedding day. The bridegroom waits at the front and only sees his bride either as she walks down the aisle or when she reaches the front.
In the Hindu Wedding Ceremony, the bridegroom is sitting under the mandap waiting for his bride with a white cloth placed in front of him, (Antarpat), and he only sees his bride when this is dropped so they see each other for the first time on the day.
How Can You Cope With The Expectations of Others and Elders?
This is a question that I am often asked and I do understand why there is this worry. Our parents and their elders have been brought up in a different generation when there wasn’t a choice. The important message here is that you are not disrespecting their upbringing or your own roots, you are adapting them to the society you live in and importantly the choice of how you want to remember your day. As an Independent Celebrant, I will always make sure to include a couple of sentences to remind everyone that “today, you may not see what you are expecting to see, but that’s ok”.
Another option that you do have is to find an Independent Celebrant who speaks the language of one of the couple. I myself will include Gujarati in the Ceremony, where one of the couple is from a Hindu background as well as sing some of the songs that the elders would expect, if that is what the couple want.
Can I have Music in a Multicultural Wedding Ceremony?
Absolutely yes you can if that is what you want to include. From a solo instrumentalist to a full band. The choice is yours. Some couples will go for pre-recorded music and that is ok as well. It’s important to consider what will make your wedding ceremony reflect the two of you and your personalities. From Bollywood to Rock, the choice is yours.
Who Would Normally Pay For A Multicultural Wedding Ceremony?
This question is an interesting one as I believe it does vary between religion and culture. Although in saying that, in the same breath, I am saying what I have said above which is that things have changed. In a Hindu Wedding Ceremony, traditionally the bride’s parents paid. In today’s society, the couple may choose to pay for everything themselves. There is no right or wrong answer here. It is what feels right for the couple. It is important to talk about this with both sides of the family.
Where Can I Find Out More?
You are always welcome to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any questions that you may have or visit my website where you will find lots of information including other articles to help you.
Feature Image: Raj Passy Photography Ltd
Sonal Dave: James Howard Photography