Your family is African; his is Greek. Both of you feel strongly about your heritage and your culture’s wedding traditions. But, how do you blend the two without causing hurt feelings and starting your new life together in conflict? It’s not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, weddings that combine two cultures (often called fusion weddings) are becoming increasingly popular. Here are some tips to pulling off a multicultural wedding:

Have two ceremonies

If you have the money and the time, there’s nothing wrong with having two separate wedding ceremonies – each one designed around the bride’s or the groom’s cultural heritage. Having two separate ceremonies allows both the bride and groom to showcase their cultural traditions and allows full expression of each of their traditions. Be sure to tell your guests in the invitation to prepare for two ceremonies. Because of the additional time it will take to honor both ceremonies it may be a wise idea to offer refreshments before the ceremony begins.

Honor the bride’s traditions at the wedding and the grooms at the reception

Of course, many couples just don’t have the funds or the time to plan two separate events. A better choice for these couples is to have the wedding ceremony honor the bride’s heritage and the reception planned around the groom’s traditions–or vice versa. This allows each individuals unique traditions to be showcased and honored.

Integrate your ceremony

Perhaps the best way to show that you are creating a new set of traditions and that you are melding both of your pasts is to integrate elements of both of your cultures into one ceremony and celebration. The secret is to not get overwhelmed by the details. Start with each of you picking the three elements of your cultural wedding traditions that mean the most to you–flowers, colors, decorations, food or vows. Once you know what elements are the most important you will be able to begin planning the best way to incorporate them.

Begin your own traditions

Maybe your wedding day is the time to branch out and form your own traditions, away from your separate pasts. Perhaps you’ve always admired the symbolism of a Celtic knot or the vibrant colors of an Indian wedding. Just because an element isn’t of you or your spouse’s heritage, doesn’t mean that you can include it into your own wedding.

However you choose to handle your cultural and religious differences, remember that your wedding day is about you and your fiancé. Listen to the well-meaning advice of family and friends, but make sure that you ultimately decide on what’s most meaningful for the two of you.

Olivia Nicholas has been writing about love and weddings for years. She loves to share her experiences with others by writing for Storkie.

Image credit: Flickr