The best kinds of weddings are those that reflect a couple and their love throughout the whole ceremony and reception. Your wedding is a chance to get creative and think about how you and your partner want to represent yourselves to family and friends while including those special to you. Here are nine weddings that combine different aspects of the couples’ cultures as they adapt the traditional into something unique and unforgettable.
Photos by Ali Ghorbani.
James and Mita had two ceremonies to reflect their cultures: the first a Christian wedding with Mita in a Western white dress and James wearing a Scottish kilt, and the second a traditional Indian ceremony. They went all around the world for this wedding: Mumbai for the Indian wedding sari, Toronto for the Western dress, and back for the ceremony venue in Hong Kong where the couple lives. Mita wanted a flower canopy for their Indian ceremony that the she could walk under as she entered the ceremony, but it was proving difficult for them to find in Hong Kong. James looked up a reference, got the materials, and built one himself — a literal labor of love!
Photos by Preston Palmer, Brovado Weddings.
Glenn and Taara had many things that they wanted to include in their wedding to represent themselves, both as individuals and as a couple coming together. The ceremony focused on the “universal tenants” that were applicable to both Christianity and Islam. They had a custom broom for the African American “jumping the broom” tradition, and at the end they signed a Muslim wedding contract that lists their commitments to one another in marriage. Their alma maters are important to both Glenn and Taara — Taara’s being the Stanford Cardinals and Glenn’s the Florida State Seminole — so they honored their schools with red and burgundy custom Chuck Taylors as well as the cake topper reading “A CardNole Love.” The combination of all of these factors resulted in a unique celebration shining with Glenn and Taara’s personalities.
Photos by White Lane Studio.
With their families living in different parts of the world, Hasara and Daniel wanted their wedding to be a special representation of who they are and what cultures have shaped their lives: Hasara is Sri Lankan and Daniel’s family is from China. The first day of their wedding celebration, Daniel and Hasara held a traditional Chinese tea ceremony with a potluck lunch for both of their families (and the couple’s two cats). The second day were the Sri Lankan and civil ceremonies. Hasara had an absolutely gorgeous custom sari made by Ethni.Q Wedding that combined the style of a traditional sari with the white and lace of a Western wedding gown. Their elegant reception featured some fun touches, such as guests’ tables named after locations in Harry Potter and a first dance between Hasara and Daniel with several lifts, which they had practiced for nearly three months before the wedding.
Photos by Daphne Chen Photography.
Sonia had always wanted a traditional Indian wedding. While her husband, Ronjay, is Filipino, he was happy to oblige. They held their ceremony at the largest temple in their hometown of Edmonton, wearing the customary red and gold wedding outfits handmade in India. Their reception matched the wedding’s traditional red and gold. After Sonia had her dream wedding, she wanted to honor her new husband and his Filipino culture at the reception. Their first dance was to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, one of Ronjay’s favorite artists, and for entertainment, Sonia hired the Pacific Island Dance Troupe.
Photos by Meera Graham Photography.
While their wedding was fairly traditional, Kelly and Michael wanted to honor both of their cultural backgrounds in their own unique ways. The morning of the wedding, the couple hosted a Chinese tea ceremony for their immediate family and grandparents. Not wanting things to be too formal, Kelly and Michael requested that their families wear comfortable clothes and get to know each other and relax. Going into wedding planning, all Kelly knew she wanted was a Cuban Salsa band at the reception. Kelly and Michael’s favorite moments were seeing both of their families coming together on the dance floor dancing to 90s hip-hop and Salsa music.
Photos by The Ramseys Photography.
Ryan and Jessica had a classic, beautiful wedding in the Baptist church that Jessica grew up attending, but they both wanted to celebrate Jessica’s Indian heritage. In addition to a suit and a Western white wedding dress, Jessica’s mother had a kurta, the bridesmaids’ lehengas, and Jessica’s second dress made in India. It was important for Jessica that her dress be white, but it was decorated with beautiful red and gold designs paired with red and gold bangles, necklace, and earrings. Their photographers said that the reception was a “non-stop party,” as everyone danced and celebrated Ryan and Jessica’s new life together — including Jessica’s mom, who pulled family up onto the stage for dance sequences as she celebrated this day with all her heart.
Photos by Daphne Chen Photography.
Julie and Kevin dreamed of a traditional Western wedding, but also wanted to incorporate aspects of Julie’s Trinidadian and Ghanaian backgrounds. Their ceremony took place in the Clinker-Brick Church, which doubles as a theater venue that was hosting a Fringe Theatre Festival performances shortly after the wedding. The reception’s entertainment included pieces of Julie’s heritage and the couple’s passion for art: African drummers, Caribbean dancers, and a short film screening. Julie and Kevin’s wedding was a perfect mix of family, the “arts-centric” city of Edmonton, and love.
Photos by Nicola Reiersen Photography.
Onowa and Paul had two weddings: one in New Zealand, Paul’s home country, and the second on a rooftop in Victoria. Their rooftop ceremony incorporated many Cree traditions, reflecting Onowa’s Native American heritage. This included a smudging ceremony, music, and pieces such as the ring box and Onowa’s beaded hair piece on her veil. Paul reflected his own Māori culture with a traditional necklace and a tie with Māori designs. The intimate and homey reception was below in the hotel’s penthouse, where kids ran wild and many hugs and dances were shared.
Photos by Tim D. Yun, ein photography + design.
Noreen and Pritesh’s first wedding ceremony was an intimate Indian gathering of family and friends. Noreen wore the traditional red and gold sari, styled with the help of Pritesh’s mother. After a tea time interlude (a reference to the couple meeting at business school in the UK), Noreen and Pritesh’s families went to the venue’s courtyard for a Christian ceremony presided over by the pastor Noreen had grown up with. Pritesh wore a suit while Noreen had a classic white gown, but their colors were still a shade of red to tie together the feel of the previous Hindu ceremony. After the two ceremonies was the fun-filled reception, where every photo included guests smiling and dancing together.
Michaela Dietz is a graduate from the University of CIncinnati, where she studied English Literature, Women’s Studies, and Electronic Media. What started as an internship with Catalyst turned into writing and editing the lovely Real Couples posts regularly featured on the site. When Michaela isn’t working, she’s reading, watching movies, or researching for fun like a huge nerd.