Bride and groom kiss in Cancún on sandy beach with palm trees | PartySlate
photographer: Take It Photo | planner: Michigan Avenue Events | design: Canteiro Weddings | venue: NIZUC Resort & Spa
The Best of | National | Weddings

Must-Know Multicultural Wedding Tips, From a Top Planner & Real Couples

Bride and groom kiss in Cancún on sandy beach with palm trees | PartySlate

For many multicultural couples, hosting a wedding goes far beyond capturing a dream style or color palette. Ultimately, a multicultural wedding not only unites two individuals, it also joins two communities. 

Multicultural celebrations succeed when they honor each culture with equal representation. I know this only too well. My own multicultural wedding, also known as a fusion wedding, involved many tense moments. From arguments over the venue to disagreements over who would walk whom down the aisle, my planning process involved many headaches — compounded by my amateur mistake of not hiring a full-service wedding planner

Hoping to help others learn from my missteps, I sat down with Brianne Garritano, Owner and Lead Planner at Michigan Avenue Events, for insider tips on how to host a successful fusion event. As a premier multicultural wedding planner, Garritano knows which conversations to have upfront with her clients and their families — and how to seamlessly incorporate divergent visions.

“Our clients come to us looking for the best way to marry their two cultures in a beautiful expression of their celebration,” Garritano shares. So how is it done? 

Keep reading to discover six pro tips for hosting a stunning multicultural wedding. Best of all, you’ll see what these ideas look like when put into action — with real multicultural weddings found on PartySlate. It’s time to fuse style and culture for an unforgettable wedding celebration.

Brianne Garritano of Marquette Avenue Events, a multicultural wedding planning company | PartySlate

Brianne Garritano of Michigan Avenue Events

We love how this Chicago and Pacific Northwest-based full-service event planning boutique firm uses a tailored approach to create one-of-kind celebrations. Michigan Avenue Events is renowned for their fusion weddings, creative branding, and wow-worthy galas (now with a hybrid component) both nationally and abroad. 

How to Plan a Multicultural Wedding

1. Hire an Experienced Wedding Planner

Lead Planner Brianne Garritano of Marquette Avenue Events with couple at multicultural wedding celebration | PartySlate
photographer: Robert Swiderski Weddings | planner: Michigan Avenue Events | design: Yanni Design Studio | venue: The Palmer House Hilton

Your wedding experience transcends the day of the event; It’s a culmination of the entire planning process. From day one, an experienced wedding planner will guide you through difficult conversations and decision making.

So many important decisions need to be made early on in a fusion wedding. “You don’t want to set yourself up for a really stressful wedding experience,” Garritano explains. Great wedding planners are more than just dream-producers. They are also advocates for their clients.

It’s also important to hire a wedding planner with experience planning multicultural affairs. “Planners need to know the cultures that are being represented,” in order to strategize for their clients, Garritano tells us. This includes understanding the rituals, terminology, and other important cultural factors of each.

For her multicultural clients, it’s essential to Garritano that she, “alleviates any concern that a couple might have interweaving these moments in a really delicate but beautiful way.”

2. Manage Family Expectations

Latin-Indian fusion wedding mandap ceremony | PartySlate
photographer: Take It Photo | planner: Michigan Avenue Events | design: Canteiro Weddings | venue: NIZUC Resort & Spa

“The best way to manage family expectations is pre-communication,” Garritano tells us. Not only may families have different expectations going into a ceremony, they may also envision a different style of reception.

Especially with Americanized weddings, it’s important to give parents a prelude of what to expect. “You want your parents to have the confidence to fully participate, whether it’s a parent-child dance or wedding toast.”

Being proactive is key. You don’t want to wait until the last moment to have these important conversations. “When parents are not stressed,” Garritano informs us, “our couples are not stressed.”

3. Create a Timeline

South Asian and Chinese fusion wedding with light pink mandap drapery and red Chinese lanterns throughout reception | PartySlate
photographer: Our Labor of Love | planner: Eventrics Weddings | design & lighting: Occasions by Shangri-la | venue: Omni Resort Amelia Island

Multicultural couples must decide which traditional events to incorporate into their wedding celebration. There’s often many more pre-wedding events, and there may be even more than one ceremony.

“It takes meticulous planning to execute a really gorgeous timeline that’s seamless throughout all the transitions — while making sure everyone feels represented,” Garritano explains. 

Inform your wedding planner on which events must be included in the celebration. From there, your planner will help you create a timeline of events. 

*See how this Sangeet Night transformed into a Chinese “market” with vibrant red paper lanterns and faux yen for guests to purchase treats.

4. Be Up Front About Budget

Wedding seating arrangement plan by Special Event Genie | PartySlate
photographer: Brandon Colbert Photography | planner & décor: Special Event Genie | venue: Special Event Genie

When it comes to choosing which events to include in a multicultural wedding, things have to be prioritized. Consequently, it’s essential to discuss budget allocation early on with your event planner. 

“For couples having multiple events, such as in a South Asian wedding, it’s important to be really upfront about budget with each other and the event planner,” Garritano informs us. When it comes to pre-wedding events, it’s particularly important to know who is contributing to which event and “how we are going to execute the vision given the budget.” 

Depending on the event type, there may be expectations of who traditionally pays for what. As such, these conversations must be had early on to avoid potential conflicts.

An experienced planner can “break it down for you in a very concrete, easy-to-understand way, so you know how you properly allocate and prioritize,” Garritano states.

* As the image above shows, a fusion wedding involves a meticulous planning process. Get the full-picture of what your event will look like to have a more realistic understanding of budget.

5. Educate Guests

A fusion wedding is a great way to introduce guests to new cultures. I remember how much fun my husband’s family had dancing the horah (by the way, they still talk about it all these years later). Simultaneously, I learned a lot about Catholicism, reading countless prayers for a ceremonial prayer that would please one family, without affronting the other.

You can introduce your guests to new rituals and ideas throughout the celebration with signage and speeches. You can also translate wording for guests when appropriate. For example, when my brother read a Hebrew prayer during my ceremony, my best friend followed with an English version.

We especially love how the following celebration sets the tone for their guests:

Latin-Indian wedding invitation, teal hand-held fan, and embroidered shoes | PartySlate
photographer: Take It Photo | planner: Michigan Avenue Events | design: Canteiro Weddings | venue: NIZUC Resort & Spa

Cancún, Quintana Roo

We love how this destination Latin-Indian fusion wedding invitation included an explanation of the Vivaha Sanskar for guests new to Indian wedding rituals. Make sure to see how the invitation also acknowledged different family traditions with different wording for the bride and groom.

6. Incorporate Both Cultures

Garritano encourages couples to think beyond the ceremony and integrate both cultures throughout the entire celebration, so it’s “expressed from the beginning of the day to the very last dance on the dance floor.” See how real couples incorporated two cultures throughout their ceremony and reception:

Chinese-American wedding invitation in two languages | PartySlate
photographer: Dark Roux Photography | planner:  Ruby and Pearl Events | venue: Latrobe’s on Royal

New Orleans, LA

A wedding invitation with script in both parties’ first languages ensures everyone can know the essential wedding details. Make sure to see how this beautiful wedding celebration also incorporated a Chinese tea ceremony as well as a traditional Western wedding ceremony (accented with Chinese paper lanterns).

Chinese American Fusion wedding in forest | PartySlate
photography: Love & Wolves Photography | planner: A Daydream Wedding | décor rentals: Celebrations Ltd. | venue: Private Residence

Newcastle, CA

There are so many ways to include cultural attire throughout a wedding celebration. Some couples choose cultural attire that matches a particular ceremony; others wear their own cultural attire during a single ceremony. However, we love how this bride and groom swapped traditional attire for the entire celebration. The bride wears a beautiful red wedding dress embroidered with phoenixes, while the groom wears a western-style suit. We do love how the groom gives a nod to his own culture with a brocade tie, red ribboned boutonniere, and jade necklace.

Muslim Nikkah cermony | Partyslate
photographer: MFields Photography | planner: Events by C | décor & floral:  New Era Events | venue: Private Residence, American Visionary Art Museum, Waterfront Marriott & Ten Oaks Ballroom

Baltimore, MD

If your wedding timelines allows for ample flexibility, consider hosting two separate ceremonies. This wedding featured a Muslim Nikkah (or Nikah) ceremony where the couple signed their marriage contract and exchanged vows. Additionally, the couple also participated in an Americanized ceremony with the classic white dress and wedding arch. We especially love how each ceremony featured a similar wedding color palette — creating a seamless transition from one event to the next.

*See world-renowned Malala Yousafzai’s Nikkah ceremony for more inspiration.

Fish Kollara with descriptive signage | PartySlate
photography: XO Azuree Wedding Photography | planner: Wedicity – Wedding & Event Detailing | floral: Floral & Rentals | venue: Room 1520 | caterer: Entertaining Company

Chicago, IL

What’s one of the top perks of traveling the world and learning about different cultures? The food, of course. This Venezuelan-Indian multicultural wedding introduced one half of the family to Fish Kollwara: chili-pasted fried fish bites. We love how the beautifully-plated cuisine comes with an explanation of ingredients, so guests can try new foods with full-dietary awareness.

Latin-Indian wedding with colorful smoke bombs and mariachi band | PartySlate
photographer: Take It Photo | planner: Michigan Avenue Events | design: Canteiro Weddings | venue: NIZUC Resort & Spa

Cancún, Quintana Roo

Song, dance, and entertainment are an integral part of any culture. Use your wedding entertainment to showcase each family’s heritage and traditions. We appreciate how this Latin-Indian fusion wedding featured both a mariachi band as well as a barrat with colorful smoke bombs and lively dancing. Make sure to see how the gorgeous reception space included plenty of room for dining and dancing.

Multi-cultural Ethiopian/Japanese Fall Wedding
photography: Kirth Bobb | planning, design & event management: Magnolia Bluebird design & events | floral: Philippa Tarrant Floral Design | venue: Eaton DC linens: DC Rental

Washington, D.C.

Show your appreciation for friends and family with thoughtful take-home cultural gifts. We love how this Japanese and Ethiopian multicultural wedding featured both Japanese tea and Ethiopian coffee in gorgeous packaging that was almost a gift in itself. Discover other ways this stunning celebration brought culture to the forefront with vibrant entertainment and meaningful rituals.

See More Stunning Multicultural Weddings on PartySlate

In addition to helpful venue and vendor directories, PartySlate features hundreds of real wedding albums. Find top inspiration from real couples, and make sure to use the filters to narrow your search by everything from wedding theme to style.

Bride and groom kiss in Cancún on sandy beach with palm trees | PartySlate
photographer: Take It Photo | planner: Michigan Avenue Events | design: Canteiro Weddings | venue: NIZUC Resort & Spa

Cancún, Quintana Roo

As noted above, this beautiful destination fusion wedding beautifully incorporated both cultures with vibrant entertainment and thoughtful programming. We also appreciate how bright pops of color were interwoven throughout the ceremony and reception — as well as each cultural event.

Two grooms dance in Cambodian attire at industrial-chic wedding | PartySlate
photographer: Beatrici Photography | planner: Gian Events | venue: Magnuson Park

Seattle, WA

This beautiful wedding featured traditional Cambodian wedding attire as well as the classic American tuxedo for a fashion-forward fête with equal representation. Make sure to see how the stunning minimalist décor perfectly complemented the industrial-chic venue. Best of all? The night ended with a Big Mac indulgence for everyone.

Glamorous mandap with lush greenery and pink-red flowers at fusion wedding | PartySlate
photography: Lucy Munoz Photography | planning & design: Kesh Events | venue: Beatnik

Chicago, IL

This glamorous fusion wedding wows at every turn. From the crimson lehenga to pops of red rose in the lush mandap, the wedding details capture our imaginations. Make sure to see how the wedding tablescape continues the floral theme with custom pink floral menus and lavish orchid centerpieces.

photography: Nanaannan Photography | planner: Dure Events | décor:  Flora & Eventi | venue: The Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Golf Club

Frisco, TX

We are obsessed with wedding attire, so you can imagine our delight at the three stunning outfit changes throughout this celebration. Décor was just as on point with geometric lanterns, lush greenery, and bright pink blooms. Make sure to see the western-style mirrored wedding arch with crisp white florals, as well.

*Learn more about Nigerian weddings.

Beachside chuppah crafted from delicate branches | PartySlate
photographer: Katie Slater Photography | planner: Infinite Events | floral: Stoneblossom Floral & Event Design | venue: Newport Beach House

Newport, RI

Imagine a mandap crafted from elegant branches (and adorned with bright blooms) that transforms into a beautiful chuppah with fresh white florals. See how this couple created a seamless transition from one ceremony to another with reimagined décor — and the perfect seaside backdrop.

Persian-Indian welcome party with teal pergola tents and purple lighting | PartySlate
photographer: Larissa Cleveland Photography | planner: Shannon Leahy Events | floral: Hunt Littlefield | venue: California Academy of Sciences | tenting: Raj Tents | lighting: Got Light

San Francisco, CA

This fusion welcome party impressed guests with a blue and gold color palette — along with vibrant lighting. Pergola tenting and Persian lanterns created a beautiful backdrop for the Sangeet Ceremony. Make sure to get close up shots of your picture-perfect lounge areas.

Bride and groom kiss, with dog, at multicultural wedding ceremony in church | PartySlate
photography: Mateo & Company | planner: Down Annie Lane/MS Events | floral: Arbor House Floral | venue: Felicity Church

New Orleans, LA

This elegant church backdrop set the scene for a beautiful wedding ceremony that also included the jaimala — a ritual where the couple exchanged floral garlands. We especially love how the bride wore a traditional western white dress while her hands were adorned in henna. Of course, the groom looked just as spectacular in his deep blue sherwani jacket.

Bride and groom under lush floral mandap in pinks and purples for fusion wedding | PartySlate
photographer: Nat Wongsaroj Photography, LLC | planner: Events by C | décor & floral: Sarah Khan Event Styling | venue: Belvedere Hotel

Baltimore, MD

The happy couple enjoyed back-to-back ceremonies that included a Hindu ceremony beneath a stunning floral mandap in addition to a western ceremony. Make sure to see the various outfit changes and beautiful reception centerpieces that matched the mandap’s aesthetic. Talk about wow. 

People Also Ask…

What is a fusion wedding?

A fusion wedding, also known as a multicultural wedding, combines two cultures or religions throughout the celebration. This can include the pre-wedding events, ceremony, reception, and post-wedding events.

How do you plan a multicultural wedding?

As outlined above, it’s highly recommended to enlist the assistance of an experienced multicultural wedding planner. Use PartySlate’s curated wedding planner directory to find the best fit your wedding needs. 

Where can I find more wedding inspiration?

PartySlate is here to connect you with the best wedding ideas. Click on the following for even more wedding inspiration.