A multicultural wedding is the marriage of two people of different cultural or religious backgrounds. We talk to Raj Kehal-Livi on her experience on how can couples incorporate the most special traditions into their big day and help you on Planning a Wedding When You’re From Different Cultures
Here’s what I learned from Planning a Wedding When You’re From Different Cultures…
Meeting my husband was a dream come true. The day he asked me to be his wife can be defined with the age-old expression “he completes me”. We are from two very different backgrounds, him being Italian, I’m British and part of the South East Asian diaspora. He had always imagined his wedding to take place in the Italian mountains of Abruzzo. To make the decision to marry in Italy wasn’t a difficult one, my mind was dreaming of la dolce vita. Identity and heritage are very important to both Emanuele and me. The challenge was to ensure we honoured both our cultures, I decided to bring England and Punjab to Italy. Here’s what I learned from planning not one, but by blending two different cultural celebrations.
FIND THE RIGHT VENUE TO SUIT YOU
Weddings can be stressful at the best of times without the added challenge of mixing traditions. Sourcing the venue was one of the more difficult tasks involving a combination of Google searches, recommendations, multiple trips to Italy and my in-laws videoing during the initial visit before we made the final decision. Although negotiations are my forte, I couldn’t do much of this owed to my very limited grasp of the Italian language. Consequently, this was left to my husband, who unfortunately was engaged in an animated three-way translation. When we did visit Ristorante Casale Signorini, L’Aquila, I knew it was the one and could envisage taking our vows with the serenity of the mountains as the backdrop – coupled with the variety of incredible food and wine. Every bride has that knowing feeling of finding the right venue and this was mine. Emanuele and I were pleased to start our new chapter here and excited to share this journey with our loved ones.
INFUSE YOUR OWN STYLE
Traditional Punjabi weddings are full of vibrance and colour, during my brother’s wedding it was a four-day extravaganza with over 500 guests. Whilst I do enjoy a big fanfare, we decided to make our wedding a slightly more intimate affair limiting numbers to 200. Our guests arrived from all parts of the world from the Philippines, India, Hong Kong and Canada to name but a few. During planning we had decided to commission traditional bhangra dancers to showcase folk Punjabi dance and songs. Luckily, Italy homes the second largest Punjabi community in Europe, so we found an amazing group for the day – albeit they did drive five hours to reach our venue! Ensuring our guests had the best time was a priority for us and we meticulously went through the journey of the guest. It is recommended if your guests are travelling far to incorporate a tour of the local area, which we organised as part of the weekend.
Although we didn’t opt for the traditional wedding organiser, I did seek advice from The Wedding Edition regarding dresses. They were wonderful in sharing their knowledge of suitable designers. After meeting a variety of designers, I chose Britta Kjerkegaard from the Couture Gallery. The process and dress were every bride’s dream. I selected a custom-made dress allowing Britta to bring her creativity to life. The theme was floral incorporating ivory with hints of blush pink and the perfect embodiment of la dolce vita.
ENJOY THE BIG DAY
When the big day did arrive, I was pleased with the flow of colour, music and energy. From my father-in-law playing in his band, our friend playing the piano, the bhangra dancers and finishing off with some UK garage music from DJ Nello – it was our perfect day. There isn’t a right way to infuse two cultures for your big day – it is about honouring your truth and making it work for you.
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