Amy Huang shares her impressions and enthusiasm for ethnic weddings, and tells of her discovery of the richness of the different cultural lifestyles. There are so many ways to celebrate the joyous occasion of the union of two people in love!
I was being dragged around in circles around three drummers dressed in purple and gold, twirling their drum sticks while they set the base rhythm for us to follow; my feet following the steps of the person on my right: right foot front, left foot back, tip, slide, right foot back; we were making some really high pitched noises, and someone was making a lot of noise near me.
Oh, that was me. I realized I was laughing out loud.
My school friend the bride and her new husband were being hoisted high on a chair, being passed around from one group of carriers to the other while trying not to fall off.
During a brief moment when they were being lifted close to where I stood, she looked at me and mouthed: Are you having fun?
Oh yes, I was. Just for tonight this shore side venue in Sydney had been transformed into a Lebanese dance hall, and I was right in the middle of it.
Traditional versus ethnic
I used to hate going to weddings. It’s all the same: the white dress, the black suits and vows taken off the registry documents.
However, since I was first invited to a big Maltese wedding, I fell in love with traditional ethnic weddings. I am fascinated by all the color, the costumes, the dancing and the food; it’s a spectacle to experience it rather than just ‘sat through’.
With the world getting smaller and mixed culture marriages more common, I now find myself spending one weekend rolling pasta and drinking wine at an Italian wedding and the next weekend (and the entire week after) preparing curry, chatting between sips of Chai and piling colorful flowers on the bride and groom at an Indian wedding.
From time to time I get to travel to destinations I wouldn’t otherwise plan to visit to witness friends and families exchange their vows in distant lands, sealing their love not just emotionally, but culturally as well.
It is like a Romeo and Juliet scenario, where love is able to conquer any cultural divide to create a relationship that is based on understanding and compromise.
I notice that over the years more and more people are choosing to have a cultural wedding over the modern standard white dress black tie weddings.
An intrepid couple could even choose to have a cultural wedding without having any heritage to that culture, simply because a particular culture has significance in their lives or simply appeals to them.
My husband and I married in Pacific Islander style in Vanuatu, and limited the dress code to bare feet with clothes that are ‘comfortable and relaxed’. I believe our family and friends enjoyed going to a wedding without having to worry about what to wear!
READ MORE: Romancing in the Pacific Islands
Sometimes it makes me think this world needs more of these kinds of unions, because it is often at weddings that you experience the different ways we celebrate love and the cultural differences in lifestyle, and discover the similarities of our values you might not otherwise have thought of, and in such joyous occasions you can’t help but love it.
The colors, the sounds, the yelling and tongue clicking, the dance steps, the music and the food; it’s like traveling without having to leave the country and it is fantastic.
At these events I also find that you realize how much we all do enjoy each other’s company, no matter what cultural background, leaving you to wonder just what the rest of the world is fighting about.
Have you also been to a multicultural wedding? Or maybe your own wedding was ethnic or quite different from the more traditional weddings? Tell us your story or share some of your impressions of the weddings you have been to. We love to hear from you!