I love when couples integrate their friends, family, culture, ethnicity and religion into their wedding day. It can be fun and meaningful to incorporate your heritage -or better yet- blend that yours with your fiancé’s into your wedding ceremony and celebration.  If you’re not sure how to best honor your culture, start by talking to your parents and grandparents, and then a simple internet search might help you come up with ideas that make sense for your wedding.

Once you begin to plan, you will likely find countless ways to do just that. Generally music, food, location, attire and traditions are things to consider first. I’ll touch on a few specific examples.

If you’re Scottish, consider hiring a bagpiper to welcome your guests.  If you’re Irish, perhaps the rings you exchange are Claddagh. If you’re Mexican, find your favorite salsa, personalize the jar with a beautifully designed and professionally printed label with your name and wedding date or a message to your guests and give it out as a favor – something guests will actually use and enjoy.

You can showcase your ethnicity in your menu, or at your rehearsal dinner, on top of your wedding cake, or in the vessel used to carry your rings down the aisle. Paloma’s Nest has beautiful ring bearer bowls that can be inscribed with a personalized quote or message. Another idea is to customize  the readings at the ceremony or the toasts at your reception to reflect your heritage.

Flowers are another way to celebrate your roots. Using thistle in a bouquet, arrangement or boutonnière if you’re Scottish is a subtle, simple and sophisticated nod to your heritage.

Kristina recently photographed a gorgeous Korean Tea Ceremony, to which the couple invited their relatives and close friends to celebrate, in lieu of a rehearsal dinner. As the groom’s family were of a different culture, the ceremony was narrated for the guests and each tradition being performed was explained in detail.

During this ceremony, each set of honorees takes turns sitting at the table. The couple bows to their relatives, then kneels and pours tea.  Once each honoree drinks the tea/soju, they impart wisdom, advice or a wish for the couple’s future.

Finally, the honorees threw dates (symbolizing girls) and chestnuts (symbolizing boys) which the bride and groom try to catch in the bride’s skirt. According to legend, the number of dates and chestnuts caught signifies how many children the bride will bear. Later in the evening, the couple is supposed to eat the dates and chestnuts that were caught.