With almost 50 per cent of South Asian marriages being inter‐faith, couples are finding unique ways to adapt the traditional wedding format to combine different cultures and customs…
Mixed marriages can mean having to manage even more of a balancing act than usual. Follow the Confetti East guide to a stress‐free happy union…
Some of the options for you to consider:
- Registry: By far the easiest option as it avoids the whole faith issue altogether. However, do discuss this thoroughly as you don’t want to regret missing out on the whole spiritual aspect of weddings.
- Single Ceremony: If one of you feels more strongly about a religious ceremony than the other, you could agree to have just one religious ceremony. Take into account the feelings of the parents as well on this one.
- Dual ceremonies: It is possible to hold two ceremonies, which can be held either on the same day, the next day or a week apart. It can be expensive, but often the best way of bridging the gap between the two religions and avoiding offence to either family.
- Civil: Since 1995 you no longer need to be married at a Registry Office – you can choose to get married in hotels, castles, stately homes, basically anywhere that holds a wedding licence and provided that the ceremony is conducted by a qualified registrar. By law, a civil ceremony cannot contain any religious references, but you can compose a unique, personalised ceremony and choose your own readings, poetry and music that is meaningful to you as a couple.
- Blessing: You can choose to have a religious blessing after the civil or registry ceremony, though not all religions offer a blessing after the ceremony has taken place, so make sure you check beforehand.
- Abroad: Get married in an exotic location, a fabulous lake palace in Rajasthan, a beach wedding in Goa or in Sri Lanka. It might seem a bit like running away but you get to have the wedding and honeymoon all in one!
Here are some top tips to help you have a perfect inter‐faith wedding:
Compromise is key
Whether you have one main ceremony, two separate ceremonies, or avoid the stress and stick with a simple registry wedding, it is important to remember that compromise is key to wedding day bliss.
Before you start booking a venue or sending off invitations, make sure that close family members are part of discussions and everyone is in agreement. Smooth out any cracks and disagreements at this early stage to avoid complications later.
Ensure that your budget is set before you start planning the main event. If you’re having two ceremonies, the extra cost will need to be included in your overall budget.
All in a day
Think carefully whether you want to have two ceremonies in one day. It can be difficult to organize and your guests may be rather exhausted by the time it comes to the evening reception. On the other hand, having it all done quickly allows less time for bickering over details amongst relatives.
Always be sensitive to your partner’s culture and beliefs, even it’s not what you had in mind. This might have a far deeper meaning to your partner than you imagine.
When planning a religious wedding or any formal ceremony, always make sure that the people involved have seen or rehearsed the ceremony. Remember, this is all new to them and they may not understand the language it is conducted in.
Ask if the priest or pundit can translate the ceremony into English. A translation of the marriage vows allows for crossing of cultural boundaries and for the guests to participate in the beautiful experience. You could have information sheets with the order of the ceremony and any translation of passages along with an explanation of the significance of certain persons and symbols included in the ceremony. This could be enclosed with the invitation card or distributed by ushers on the day.
If you go for two ceremonies, choosing smaller venues or serving finger foods instead of a three‐course meal will help to keep the bills down and will allow you to splash out elsewhere.
Try and merge the two cultures by experimenting with combining music, decorations, clothes and food to reflect both your backgrounds. Ask your caterer to create your own personalised fusion cuisine. There are some that specialize in Indian fusion food and can create a unique three‐course meal that will blend the two cultures.