Our cultural wedding traditions

Monday, March 22, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , , |

When the future hubs and I first met, we were undergrads involved in an Asian and Pacific Islander student organization called APASA. We were very active in the club (actually he was the president and I was the VP) and we got our first training in teamwork and organization by coordinating cultural and diversity awareness events together (wasn't always a smooth process, but it was something we feel really proud to have worked on together). We discovered a lot about our cultural backgrounds and heritage through our involvement with APASA, and honestly, we wouldn't be a couple today if it weren't for our experiences with the club.

So we naturally wanted to incorporate our cultural backgrounds into our wedding as an ode to our days in APASA, and respect for our families' heritage and culture. We see it as a symbol of us embracing of each other's cultures and our commitment to pass on our multicultural heritage to our children.

But attempting to incorporate three different cultures-- Filipino, Chinese and Samoan -- into one day is difficult. The cultures share a lot of similarities, but they are distinct and unique. How do we respectfully honor each side without looking like a hodge podge mixture without cohesion or unity?

So we've decided to break up the different traditions over three segments of the wedding celebration -- our rehearsal dinner, the ceremony and the reception. During the rehearsal dinner we are serving Chinese dishes and possibly incorporating a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, a tradition where both the bride and groom honor their elders with an offering of tea.

During our Catholic ceremony, we're incorporating Filipino wedding traditions. The ceremony is full of symbolic meaning and rituals, including a veil covering both the bride and groom to signify being "clothed as one," a cord loosely wrapped around the bride and groom to signify unity and the arras, or offering of 13 coins to represent financial security.

And last, but not least, our reception will include a fun and energetic performance of Samoan dance and song by a Samoan dance troupe (We're really honored to have a friend and his family perform for us!). This segment will include a traditional dance that I'm really excited about...it's going to be a surprise ;)

I love hearing about ways other brides and grooms are incorporating their cultural heritage into their wedding! What traditions are you honoring?

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