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Wedding Nouveau

Last weekend, Robbie and I witnessed the marriage of two good friends, one Hindu and one Catholic, and celebrated their wedding with a party that bespoke a seemingly effortless confluence of two cultures and faiths. Bridesmaids wore bindis, the sweet table had chocolate mousse and methai, and every now and again, the band would take a breather to play old Hindi favorites. The celebration was beautiful, a true testament to the success of the difficult planning that went into it.

And I would know. While wedding season 2012 may be winding down, my sister’s recent engagement (Congratulations, Bena!) has me excitedly involved in planning for 2013. And if a family wedding isn’t enough to look forward to, it turns out I have not one, but three close childhood friends getting married next year. These four women in my life share more than just the same wedding year though. Common to all of them is a deep-rooted pride in their ethnic and religious backgrounds and traditions – Indian, Greek, Armenian, Jewish. And yet, each of them is also navigating the challenges of planning an intercultural or interfaith wedding. As a sister-of-the bride, friend-of-the-bride or bridesmaid in at least four different weddings next year, I am guessing I will have more than a couple of to-do lists. More significant than the “to do” though, will be the “how to do” – how to observe individual religious practices, maintain family customs, respect cultural traditions, and at the same time, seamlessly combine everything into one big celebration.

Robbie and I asked ourselves these same questions just three years ago when we were planning our own wedding. But even as recently as 2009, there was little and less out there on interfaith or intercultural weddings. So when I finally found this article in Nirali magazine on a beautiful Hindu/Catholic ceremony, I used it as inspiration for several aspects of our wedding celebration. One example was inviting the kiddos in our family to wear traditional garb from both sides for different events, which they did with utmost enthusiasm, as you can see below:

Our nieces and nephew in their traditional Indian outfits ready for an evening of raas & garba (traditional Gujarati folk dancing).

The same kiddos donning traditional Filipino formal wear (butterfly dresses and the Barong Tagalog) for the evening affairs.

Planning once again, I am finding so much more now in the way of intercultural weddings. In addition to online inspiration boards and blogs, Wedding Nouveau Magazine is a beautiful and inspirational resource dedicated to discussing and depicting the new wave of rapidly emerging interfaith and intercultural weddings. Wedding Nouveau’s online archives are chock-full of stories and photographs, a few examples of which are below:

“A Romantic White Thai Affair”

“Indian Mexican Fusion Wedding”

“Cambodian Khmer American Wedding”

“African Ankara Fusion Wedding”

Magazine articles and photographs may not necessarily answer all of the “how-to-do” questions that come up this year, but they will certainly inspire creative new ideas for difficult challenges ahead. And when all is said and done, when all the questions have answers and my friends and family are inspiring others with their own pictures and stories, I will have Greek danced with my best friend’s Irish groom, celebrated a Jewish friend’s marriage to a good Catholic boy, witnessed my Armenian friend marry the Polish man of her dreams, and watched my sister walk down the aisle, not to a mandap, but instead, to a chuppah. I can’t wait.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love can and will transcend all these boundaries! Thanks for blogging the positive reality of your generation…

    August 24, 2012
    • Yes! My hope is that we can follow in the footsteps of families like yours, who don’t consider them boundaries at all.

      August 29, 2012
  2. Jorge #

    Beautifully written, as always!

    August 25, 2012
  3. Tisha #

    I enjoyed the read and loved the photos! Weddings are always such a special day of celebration, love, unity, family, sentiments….combining all of the culture and customs is a beautiful way to embark upon the journey of marriage. It makes me smile to see the children so happy on this day; they were glowing with pride as they celebrated the joining of people they adore and love.

    August 28, 2012
    • Thanks, Tisha 🙂 It was fun to write this post. Thinking about these future weddings gave me a chance to look back at pictures and remember what fun that weekend was, and how special it was with all the family together. I cannot wait until a reason pops up for me to tie in Papa’s wedding speech!

      August 29, 2012
  4. Roxanne #

    Nicely written Keya!
    Love has no boundaries and expressing the creativity of such fusion is beautiful to see and magical to be a part of. Thanks for the read.

    September 3, 2012
  5. Thanks for giving me such a clear insight.

    October 20, 2013

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