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It's a beautiful thing – to have friends and family from all over the world. When people from different cultural backgrounds meet, a delightful encounter depends on communication. To ensure everyone will feel comfortable, welcomed and understood, there are two extra things you should carefully consider when planning a multicultural wedding – language barrier and traditions. To find out how to successfully communicate at multicultural weddings and connect traditions from different cultures, we asked Alise Mihimana, a wedding planner with 10 years of experience planning weddings in Europe and Bali.

Traditions – a beautiful thing to integrate into a wedding

When planning the wedding of couples with different cultural origins, one encounters various nuances, which seem obvious to the mentality of one culture but are unseen and unexperienced to the other culture. Alise points out, in addition to planning weddings and all their details, it is necessary to decide what nuances to highlight from one culture and what from another. Often these are not just two cultures in question because, usually, couples of different cultures not only have their own culture as a background, but both have also lived in different countries and travelled a lot.


For Alise, it is always an interesting process to decide what to integrate from each culture. Alise says, when planning the wedding of a couple from different cultures, she doesn’t want to look for common ground between these cultures and make things even, because this difference is what’s beautiful; it is a meeting of two worlds in one of this particular couple. It is amazing to experience this unique union, highlighting the traditions of both cultures. It would be easier to make a proper wedding after canons, but it is much more personal to involve the elements of the cultures represented by the couple. Alise supports the integration of different cultural traditions at weddings, especially if there are no plans to hold two ceremonies in each of the couple’s home countries.

At weddings, we gather all those closest to us from both families and if we come from different cultures, it is very beautiful to show something of both of them, thus revealing to both families a little more about the other side. This is not to be feared and it is not necessary to try to choose only the universally understandable and neutral.


Love – a universal language?

Although it is not difficult to bring wedding guests together even if they do not speak the same language, because they have come to spend time together in a good atmosphere, the question remains - in what language to communicate and host the event. In Alise’s experience, there have been weddings where interpreters translate everything for the family to make them feel comfortable and understand everything. Asking the event host to do this would not be wise, because his task is not to translate, but to create an atmosphere and unite. If he has to translate each toast, it will fragment the celebration, and the event will lose its dynamics. This issue can be addressed in different ways. If there is a mixed audience and it is not possible to get along with one host, two hosts can be booked.


Recently, Alise had a wedding at Lake Garda with two hosts who dynamically hosted the event in three languages, complementing and communicating with each other and guests rather than foolishly translating each other. This can also be tackled with modern technology, using translation apps, or booking an interpreter who translates behind the scenes, but guests can listen to the translation in headphones. The choice of solution depends on each specific situation. Some couples are accustomed to the fact that families do not understand each other and have to translate everything regularly, but, at the wedding, they do not want to think about it and provide everything in such a way that the family would be thought about, while the couple could enjoy the event.


To appreciate the places and cultures that have influenced the couple

Alise has hosted countless weddings both in Europe and  Bali and when she talks to guests at the wedding, she often hears the phrase that a destination wedding is a beautiful adventure. If the wedding takes place in a fantastic villa in Italy, it feels like you are part of the film because you are in an unusual, new environment. Also, for couples, this is something new, sometimes they haven’t even been to the wedding venue before the wedding day. Some couples trust the planner, so this is an even bigger surprise.


One of the weddings Alise is planning this summer will take place in Provence, although the couple has no other connection to France than that both currently live in Paris. The couple have lived in different countries, and guests will also come from many countries. The bride and groom met each other in India, so they want to integrate something from Indian culture into the celebration as well. Alise says that at this wedding, she wants to tell the couple’s story through the places they’ve been to and the cultures that have influenced them. Such a unique and beautiful union is formed precisely between couples who have lived in different places and have enriched themselves in different cultures. Such stories are very beautiful and inspiring, and that is why it is so special for Alise to organize destination weddings and work together with couples of different cultures.


Author: Renāte Berga

Wedding planner: Alise Mihimana

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