The Sweet Christian Bride

Cultural Wedding Traditions

by admin on July 12, 2012 in Ceremony Traditions, Family, Reception Traditions, Vows with No Comments

I love ethnic weddings!  Seeing the bride’s and/or groom’s cultural traditions displayed through her and/or his music, attire, ceremony, food, or dancing is an extremely tangible demonstration of keeping a wedding in the personality of the bride and groom.  I truly believe those are the best weddings.

I was at a wedding where the bride’s family was Lebanese, so the cousin of the bride chanted a Lebanese blessing after the bride and groom had exchanged their rings.  The music on the dance floor had sets of typical American dance music and sets of Lebanese dance music.  Even the food was traditional Lebanese fare.

My favorite blend of the American and Lebanese traditions was when the groom first recited his vows in Arabic.  Then he and his bride both recited them in English.  He took on a challenge of learning his vows in a language unknown to him for the sake of honoring the bride’s family and also for the sake of acknowledging who his bride is.  Her heritage is deeply intertwined with her identity, and he recognized that as he vowed to love her as his wife.

I also loved the toast that the father of the bride gave.  He is an author of Lebanese poetry, so he recited a poem to her in Arabic.  Half of the guests had no idea what he was saying and the other half cheered him along, but all of us were moved by a father speaking to the heart of his daughter with words from his own vernacular poetry.

Be aware that weddings of any tradition have the potential of isolating parties who have not grown up with those same traditions.  I was keenly aware of the mother and father of the groom, as well as all of the bridal party, rocking out on the dance floor with ease and enjoyment.  I’m sure that the dance steps are relatively simple, but I was never able to pick them up just by watching.  Someone had taken the time to familiarize them with the traditional dances in advance so that they could take part in the fun and not feel left out.

If you desire to celebrate your cultural heritage in your weddings, I deeply admire that.  Be sure to consider how your decisions will come across to your guests who are not familiar with these traditions, so that they can share in your enjoyment even more.  That might mean a translation in your program or a brief lesson on dance steps.  You’ll figure out what is right for your wedding, and your guests will love to be a part of wedding that is so personalized.

By Lindsay

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