My cross-cultural wedding

One thing that I’ve found interesting is how people try to combine different cultural traditions into their wedding.

For example, a ‘typical’ modern Chinese wedding involves the groom meeting the bride at her home rather than at the ‘altar’. The groom and his groomsmen may have to perform a series of tasks (like push-ups, singing, drinking something horrid etc etc…anything with an embarrassing or humiliating slant to it) and then eventually ‘bribe’ the bridesmaid with money in red packets before he is permitted to enter into the bride’s family home. The couple then serves tea to the bride’s parents before heading to the groom’s family home to serve tea to his parents. This is called the ‘tea ceremony’.

Groomsmen doing a dance for the bridesmaids

Our tea ceremony

In contrast, a typical Christian wedding is held at a church, vows are exchanged and everything is generally less rowdy than the Chinese version described above.

Given that these two wedding traditions are very very different, I have found many couples (where one of the partners is a Chinese and the other is ‘Caucasian’ ie White) bewildered with how to organise a wedding that meets their parent’s wishes as well as reflect their own personal cultures and preferences.  Some people may choose to completely ignore the issue and adopt one wedding culture without any reference to the other wedding culture. Others may put more effort into discussing how to bring together two (0r more!) cultures on their big day, but find the challenge of making it not come off ‘awkwardly’ rather difficult.

My personal thought on this matter is that taking into account both partners’ cultures can be both rewarding and also fun! Here is a video of my own wedding-

For those outside New Zealand, I highly recommend two quality films that speak to the issue of culture and weddings:

Sione’s wedding (Samoan wedding)-

My Wedding and Other Secrets (Kiwi of Hong Kong heritage marrying a Pakeha (European New Zealander)-



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