Weddings welcome a celebratory opportunity to marry a couple's "something new" (marital beginning) with "something old," or as we like to call it, "something honored." Time-honored wedding traditions offer a unified way to commemorate ancestors and cultural customs, while a mix of modern elements helps to tell a couple's personal love story. To celebrate May as AAPI Heritage Month, we asked real couples and their vendor teams how they observed and integrated their heritage into their celebration. Whether it was with a traditional Korean wedding ceremony, an ode to a Chinese wedding with a symbolic location, food honoring Indian wedding traditions, or anything else, we invited couples to share how they embraced their background on their big day and why it was meaningful to them.
Marry Cultures with Multiple Events
A multi-day wedding allowed this couple to honor both Indian wedding traditions and western wedding traditions on different nights, with some connective elements throughout, like a traditional mandap at the western-style ceremony.
"Friday night's design was meant to skew towards an Indian wedding aesthetic—lots of bright colors brought to life in everything from the flowers to the tables to the lighting. On Saturday, we embraced the traditional western style with black-tie attire and blush, green, and gold tones. We wanted the design of the two nights to feel different since they were in the same space. Still, we chose a few connective elements—old Indian mandala designs and elephants—to help unify the weekend.” - Sarah, the bride
Embrace the Diversity of Your Location
To marry two cultures, this New York couple chose to mix two very different venues. Thanks to two local spots, the result was a celebration of both Western and Chinese wedding traditions.
"Our casual, New Yorker-style ceremony took place at Soho Grand Hotel's rooftop, while the reception (dim sum!) dinner party was held at China Blue, that's where we celebrated my heritage. I'm originally from Taiwan, and in Chinese tradition, we always have firecrackers in wedding ceremonies, which is a way to spread happiness to our neighbors and scare away evil spirits with the loud noise. Since we can't do that in NYC, we picked a lion dance (a gold lion which symbolizes good wealth, and a red lion which symbolizes good fortune) as an alternative way to spread our happiness to everybody." - Doris, the bride
Share Your Style and Savory Treats
Integrate meaningful details from your couple story and desired aesthetic amongst time-honored elements.
"Our modern bohemian wedding wouldn’t have been complete without touches of our Korean heritage. Our mothers wore hanbok, a traditional Korean outfit, and we had boxed Korean rice cakes as part of our favors. Coincidentally, our wedding cake was made by Soul Cake in Boston, run by Gayoung Kim, a Korean pastry chef. “ - Giselle, the bride
Make a Grand Impact With Design Details
Although this bride’s Chinese-Polish-American background wasn’t initially a focus of the wedding planning, she realized that small touches of her heritage inevitably made their way into some key design decisions as their wedding date approached.
"My parents always collected Ming-inspired porcelains, and our house was full of chinoiserie-style blue and white pieces, so it was only natural to use similar styles for our wedding reception. Those familiar blue and white patterns were repeated in the fabric of my bridesmaid's dresses and in the lining of our formal invitation envelopes." - Ashley, the bride
Have Your Cake with a Traditional Twist
Grooms Vikas and Brandon took an ultra-modern black-and-white cake and added mehndi designs, a special nod to Vikas’s heritage.
Personalize Paper Goods
For a garden party design and a desire to spotlight the groom's Chinese roots, stationer Brent Fraim of Dear Elouise created out-of-the-box ideas for stationery and the day's detail.
“Our challenge was to meld the groom’s Chinese culture with the bride’s eye for design, but in a way that didn’t come off as kitschy or too cute. Brent blew us out of the water with so many custom touches, from tasseled invitations to custom vellum chopstick holders which doubled as place cards to the most beautiful ceramic and Lucite butterfly escort display.” - Jacin Fitzgerald, planner
Blend Cultures Through Food and Art
For Grace and Kunal’s California wedding, their planners at Details Details shared that it was important to bring both the bride’s and groom’s family traditions into their special day. Guests got henna tattoos and ate bibimbap and tandoori-style foods, which they said was “an ode to both of their cultures.”
Give Some Extra Luck and Love
Special touches created an interactive way for guests to participate in festive Chinese wedding traditions during a ballroom celebration. On Sophia and Tony’s big day, red envelopes (a symbol of luck and good fortune) were handed out as a way of showering the newlyweds with even more love.
"Guests loved the surprise dragon dancers during the reception! They were given red envelopes, known as "lucky money," to put into the dragon's mouth since dragons are believed to bring good luck. Guests also signed a red scroll in line with Chinese heritage." - Elizabeth Fogarty, the photographer
Create Intimate Family Moments
Savoring moments of Chinese wedding traditions for her closest loved ones, this bride opted for an intimate family gathering post-ceremony.
“It was important for my partner and me to integrate my Chinese heritage into our wedding and have a formal tea ceremony with my family after exchanging vows. We poured tea for my relatives, both immediate and extended. We knelt for the offering, receiving their blessings for a prosperous life together and lucky money in red packets to begin our journey as a family.” - Ying, the bride.