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WEDDING ADVICE INSPIRATION

How to Plan a Multicultural Wedding Ceremony and Reception

What if I told you that the majority of weddings we host at Olio are multicultural weddings? 🙀 It's true. We are totally blessed to call ourselves a welcoming venue for diverse cultures and backgrounds, and we do that by proactively creating inclusivity (see: gay-friendly wedding venues).


So what defines a multicultural wedding in the 21st century?

➡️It is simply the blending more than one background. And given that most of our couples are not coming from exactly the same background as their partner, we see so many opportunities to embrace multiculturalism on this special day.


Planning a multicultural wedding is a unique and beautiful journey of two people joining together the diverse traditions of their respective cultures. It can be a deeply personal and powerful event. It can also seem crazy stressful. Lucky for you, we have some tips to ensure the wedding is a seamless celebration of both partners and cultures. 


Hi, we’re Olio, and we’re a flexible indoor event space in a historic building in downtown Peabody, 25 minutes north of Boston. Our space is designed to be a blank canvas for our clients to construct their dream events. We welcome all to this space! We have hosted many multicultural weddings so we know a thing or two about how to make this blank canvas work for yours. 



An Indian couple dances at their multicultural wedding in traditional wedding grab while the crowd watches
Photo by PTaufiq Photography


Having a multicultural wedding can appear to be a daunting task. Planning both a multicultural wedding ceremony and reception that pleases both partners and properly incorporates both cultures is... a lot of work. There’s no need to worry, though, because we’re here to give you a few pro tips and ideas on how to make your intercultural wedding perfect


Begin Planning Early

This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s an important one. Planning a fusion wedding often requires a lot of thought over which traditions to choose, when to incorporate them (read: wedding timeline), and if it's even possible to incorporate them. The guests, venues, and vendors will also need to be considered in the planning, which can be even more of a hassle if there’s not much time. By initiating that process well in advance, you can save yourself a lot of stress down the road if plans need to shift.




Hire a Multicultural Wedding Planner

We highly suggest hiring a wedding planner, especially one with experience in planning multicultural wedding ceremonies. A multicultural wedding planner will help streamline the process and help you determine which traditions may be essential to your dream fusion wedding and which traditions may need to be cut for the big day. Ask us for referrals! We are happy to share the names of experienced professional planners who have worked successfully in our space, or we'd love to meet your planner.


A wedding party dances together at an Indian fusion wedding
Photo by PTaufiq Photography


Choose Traditions That Fit Your Vision

This is a big one. When trying to pick which traditions to include, it is important to find which traditions best suit your vision for your wedding. Certain venues may not be able to accommodate certain traditions, for example, if they involve open flame or similar prohibited activities. In addition, family members and other stakeholders likely will have differing opinions on which traditions to include. In the middle of all of this, it’s crucial to select traditions that resonate with you and your partner. It’s your big day, after all! Remember the tips that we shared about where to start once you are engaged.


So, whether it’s a cultural dance, choice of cuisine, decoration decisions, or a symbolic gesture, make sure to choose traditions that will create a meaningful experience for everyone involved. 


Traditional Chinese wedding decorations at a table of a Chinese fusion wedding
Photo by Fern and Feather Studio

 

Allow Yourself to Cut Traditions

Let’s face it – some traditions just may not work for you. And that’s okay! This day is about you, not about the traditions themselves. Don’t worry about trying to incorporate every single one if some don’t resonate with you.


Do you want a Chuppah at your Jewish-Muslim interfaith wedding, but you don’t like the breaking of the glass? Then you can secure the Chuppah and leave the glass behind! 

Don’t like the Mehndi ceremony, but you enjoy the Dua-e-Khair? That’s ok!


Remind yourself that you can choose what you want and don’t want at your own wedding, no matter what anyone tells you. 




An interfaith couple does a traditional Jewish "Hora dance" at their multicultural wedding
Photo by Lena Mirisola


Make Sure Your Venue Accommodates 

This is another big one. Most wedding venues will celebrate and embrace a blending of cultures. However, there are a variety of reasons why your venue may not accommodate your cultural traditions.  For instance, some religious institutions may not be open to interfaith weddings. You may be able to find a Catholic church that allows Catholic-Jewish weddings, but not Catholic-Buddhist weddings, since the two religions have largely different backgrounds. So, if religion or faith is a large part of your dream fusion wedding, then it’s important to check in on what venues would allow interfaith unions. 



An interfaith couple underneath a Jewish Chuppah at their multicultural wedding ceremony. The interfaith families watch the ceremony.
Photo by Lena Mirisola


Another reason some venues may not allow your traditions is simple issues of practicality. For example, Indian weddings typically require an open flame that many indoor venues won’t allow due to fire concerns. Some venues have standard wedding packages that may make longer ceremonies problematic, not to mention adding new expenses to the package. At Olio, we are flexible and want you to create your dream wedding. For a multicultural wedding, we suggest finding a venue that is just as flexible. 



Traditional lion dancers at multicultural Chinese wedding
Photo by Fern and Feather Studio


Communicate with VIPS and Guests

When honoring a cultural background at a wedding, it is probable that parents and loved ones of the couple may get passionate about getting things right. This can be difficult when disagreements arise, but it is important to attempt healthy and open communication with these very-important-persons. On the flip side, it is also important to try and communicate cultural practices and traditions to guests who may not be as well-versed in you or your partner’s cultures. Creating multicultural wedding programs, invitations, or simply putting the information on your wedding website are great ways to get the information out there. 




Relax and Have Fun

After all this talk about the many challenges planning a multicultural wedding can bring, you may be wondering, “Relax? How?!”.  We assure you that despite the hectic nature of wedding planning, this is a special time for you to enjoy. Take the time to dive in and find what traditions resonate with you. Enjoy planning your big day almost as much as you will enjoy the big day itself. Keep your vision focused on how you want the day to turn out, and you’ll be fine. 


We hope these tips were helpful for you, and we encourage you to contact us to learn more about our venue and our services. We'd be delighted to support you in creating this dream vision!

Yours truly,  

Sarah Narcus 

Owner, Olio 



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