There is great mix of cultures, religions, ethnicities, and backgrounds in the United States. Because of this, chances are that you’ll have the opportunity to work on weddings for couples with much different backgrounds than yours. Familiarize yourself with some of these cultures, so you know how to better serve your clients.
Here are 3 different religious or cultural groups that you may have the opportunity to serve at a future wedding:
Hindu wedding ceremonies can last several days. In fact, the average Hindu celebration is 3 days, but many are longer. During the ceremony, the groom has a processional before the bride. In some instances, he rides in on a white horse. The bride is then brought in by her father, brothers, or uncles. The rituals and prayers during the ceremony are all about uniting the couple. One of the most memorable parts is when the couple walks about the holy fire 7 times. One difference from traditional Western weddings is that the parents of the bride and groom are highly involved in the ceremony.
The ceremony is often held at a Hindu temple or banquet hall and takes place under a decorated gazebo. Guests should remove their shoes in the temple and plan on sitting on the floor.
The bride traditionally wears red. Black and white aren’t used in the ceremony, because these colors signify death in the Hindu culture.
The reception includes a large spread of food, which is typically served buffet style. Although traditional Hindu weddings only serve vegetarian dishes, more couples also serve meat along with salads, curry, rice, naan bread, and other dishes. Alcoholic beverages are typically not served.
Mormons belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a religion that originated in America over 200 years ago. Mormon weddings are different, because the ceremony takes place inside of a Mormon temple. Only a select few people attend the ceremony, but some couples choose to exchange rings after the ceremony. Guests can wait outside of the temple for the bride and groom where they can take pictures of the wedding party.
The layout for receptions or open houses vary depending on the bride and groom’s personal preferences. Either way, alcohol and coffee is not served for guests. Some couples choose to hold their reception at one of their church houses. The rental space is free, and the venue comes with a kitchen for serving.
Another difference when it comes to planning Mormon weddings comes from the invitation design. Couples choose to include an engagement picture with the invitation, so they can show off their fiancé to friends and family.
Similar to Hindu weddings, Muslim weddings are also multi-day events. For example, up to 1 or 2 weeks before the wedding, the parents hold a dholki, or dance party. One of the biggest differences with Muslim weddings is that the ceremony is short. The bride and groom go into separate rooms where they sign the nikkah, which is similar to a marriage contract. Then, they both return to the ceremony space where they are declared as husband and wife. There are several games that may be played during the ceremony:
- The bride’s sisters steal the groom’s shoes. In order to get them back, he must pay her sisters.
- The bride and groom race to their chairs. First one to sit down is believed to have the upper hand in their marriage.
After the ceremony, guests join the celebration for the walima for speeches, performances, and a feast that consists of meats, vegetarian dishes, fish, rice, and more. Guests should dress in traditional Islamic garb or wear modest clothing. They should also refrain from bringing boxed gifts. Instead, they can bring money and an egg, which represents fertility.
Muslim weddings tend to have lots of bright, bold colors. You’ll often see people wearing bright reds, greens, and whites to the ceremony and walima. The bridal clothing color depends on where her family originated from: Asian Muslim brides typically wear red or blue whereas Arab Muslim brides typically wear white.
Along with learning about what to expect from different religious and cultural weddings, it’s also important to learn how to plan weddings for couples from mixed backgrounds. Learn as much as you can about the couple and their preferences, so you can help them prepare a wedding that truly unites them as a couple.
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