Archive for July 21st, 2011

July 21, 2011

A Look at Ethnic Weddings

One of the most fun parts of wedding planning is making a wedding personal. We love when brides and grooms incorporate bits of their cultures into their wedding, making the event a truly unique experience that epitomizes the backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities of the couple and their families.

Over the years, we have seen many of these weddings and have fallen in love with some of the traditions that other cultures have. Some are truly inspiring! Who knows: maybe it will inspire your future affair?

 Mexican Weddings

The ceremony:

Traditionally, during the ceremony couples have a “lazo” (white rosary) around their necks while they kneel at the altar. This symbolizes the couple’s unity. In very traditional ceremonies, the groom places 13 coins (called “arras”) in the bride’s hands: this symbolizes the groom’s role as the family provider.


The reception:

Mole, a sauce made of chilies, peanuts and chocolate (among many other spices!) is a traditional meal at Mexican weddings. In fact, saying “there is going to be mole” (va a haber mole) is a Spanish idiom meaning that someone is going to be married!

Live mariachi bands are common at Mexican weddings, and DJs often play Spanish version of popular rock n’ roll and hip hop songs.

 The décor:

Bright colors are everything in Mexican weddings. We love the festive feel that blues, oranges, reds and pinks bring to the occasion!

 For inspiration:

The bright colors are one of the most fun ways to draw on Mexican weddings for inspiration. Translate this colorful feel into bouquets and centerpieces for added fun, making sure to incorporate lots of yellow, orange, and bright blue.

We love the paper flags often seen at Mexican celebrations: they are a fun design element for invitations and décor.

We love this beautiful archway as well!

For an added touch, draw on the Mexican and Spanish tiles for a truly unique (and gorgeous!) wedding cake. Stunning!

We recently covered inventive “late night snack bar ideas”… how about a late night taco bar with these fun watermelon bites?

Indian Weddings

The ceremony:

Ceremonies vary from region to region (and are also different depending on the religion of the families), but generally the ceremony is broken up into pre-wedding ceremonies, wedding day ceremonies, and the “Vidaai”,  when the bride is formally sent from her father’s house to the house of her new husband. Brides typically wear red or pink saris and paint their hands and feet with beautiful henna patterns the night before the wedding.

 The reception:

Perhaps the word “festival” is more appropriate: receptions for Indian ceremonies can last for days! Typically, the entire family contributes to the festivities in order to fund such elaborate affairs and dancing, music and food abound. Fun!

The décor:

As with Mexican weddings, color is key in Indian weddings! We love the bright colors, the beautiful patterns of the fabrics, and the many flowers used. Marigolds are a traditional stem for Indian ceremonies and can usually be found throughout the décor: their lively golden-yellow is a perfect match for the turquoises, reds, and plums of the wedding.

For inspiration:

Colorful shamiana (tents), low seating on comfortable cushions, lots of bright colors, lots of tea lights, and marigolds. We love the idea of a henna-inspired everything: invitations, placecards… even the wedding cake!

Chinese Weddings

The ceremony:

A Chinese wedding ceremony encompasses over 2,400 years of tradition and celebration! We couldn’t possibly do each of these age-old traditions justice in this short post, so we are mainly focusing on the tea ceremony, which is an intricate part of a Chinese wedding.

The reception:

Historically, the bride would serve tea to her family before the wedding ceremony, then after the vows, the couple serves tea to the groom’s parents. Today, it is common to have one tea ceremony for both parents.

Because the tea ceremony is an opportunity for the bride and groom to show respect for their parents, the order in which family members are served is very important. Traditionally, parents are served first, followed by grandparents, grand-uncles and aunts, uncles and aunts, older brothers and sisters, and then older cousins, in that order. The father’s family is always served before the mother’s.

Lotus seeds and two red dates are used in the tea for two reasons. First, the words “lotus” and “year,” “seed” and “child,” and “date” and “early,” are homophones (they have the same sound but different meanings in Chinese). Secondly, the ancient Chinese believed that putting these items in the tea would help the newlyweds produce children early in their marriage, which would ensure many grandchildren for their parents. Also, the sweetness of the special tea is a wish for sweet relations between the bride and her new family.

 The décor:

Red is considered a lucky color in Chinese culture, and brides typically wear a red jacket, skirt, and shoes. Gold is typically used as accent color.

Traditionally, the families would decorate the new couple’s house and ceremony location with these colors along with “happiness banners”, red paper banners with Chinese writings wishing the new couple well. Dragons and phoenixes are also symbols often used.

For inspiration:

The purpose of the tea ceremony is to show respect to the bride and grooms families and recognize their importance in the union. We love this concept! A tea ceremony might not be for everyone, but this concept certainly is: consider doing something special to recognize your family members and your groom’s family members during the nuptials and/or the reception. Some brides choose to present the mothers with a flower, others pay homage to family members with a table of photos, and other incorporate family into the ceremony with readings, etc.

Cakes decorated with a dragon and phoenix are traditional wedding cakes. We love the idea of a dragon snaking around a circular cake!