As a wedding planner, I am often asked how to fuse cultures to create 1 ceremony. With so many customs and traditions it can be quite overwhelming in trying to figure out how to combine different faiths. I recently had the pleasure of being Shaun and Meaghan’s Day of Wedding Coordinator. I specialize in multicultural weddings, and this by far has been the ultimate fused wedding. This wedding combined elements that represented both of the couples beliefs and customs from the Catholic and Hindu traditions. With Meaghan being Catholic and Shaun being Hindu, it was amazing to see this couple, along with their families come together and adapt both the East and West cultures.
Both the ceremony and reception took place at Le Jardin in Toronto. Their beautiful outdoor ceremony was designed using the traditional Catholic ceremony intertwined with parts from a traditional Hindu ceremony, created by the couple and myself. The ceremony started off with the typical walking down the aisle with the bridesmaids, ring bearers, and bride, however, as soon as the bride reached the altar, the couple exchanged garlands.
The ritual of Jai Mala is when the bride and groom welcome and greet each other by putting a flower garland around their necks. This is a big moment in the Hindu ceremony because it is the first ritual that signifies that the bride accepts the groom as her husband. As exchanging rings signify that there is no beginning and no end of the union, so does the exchange of Jai Mala’s.
The couple also took the “seven steps” together, known as the Saptapadi. Sopari, or beetle nuts were placed before the bride and groom to symbolize the seven steps they will take together in life as their vows. These vows were completed as an addition to their traditional vows, but instead of just saying it, each beetle nut was touched to show the steps they will take hand in hand in life.
Shaun and Meaghan also wanted to incorporate their own spin to this fused ceremony. They performed a “Rose Ceremony” where a yellow rose was given to each of their mothers as a symbol of their eternal love for them and to represent the seed that was planted by their mothers in their hearts.
In addition to exchanging rings, Shaun also placed a Mangal Sutra necklace around Meaghan’s neck and sindoor (red lead power) to her forehead, symbolizing that she is a married woman according to the Hindu religion.
To end off the ceremony, the couple received blessings from both families and were fed sweets by their mothers, known as “Kansar”.
After the out-of-the-box ceremony was completed, guests moved over into the reception hall.
To continue on with the fused theme, both Shaun and Meaghan changed into South Asian attire. Meaghan looked absolutely stunning in her green sari, as did Shaun in his sherwani. The couple also decided to surprise their guests and entered with a live Dhol player who played alongside the DJ playing “I got a feeling” by Black Eyed Peas. They had guests on their feet as they entered with such a vibrant energy.
Throughout the night, the East meets West theme continued. Dinner was a combination of a plated Western meal, along with Indian food set up as family style at each table.
Guests continued to dance the night away in their “dancing shoes” (flip flops) courtesy of the bride and groom to the amazing sound of the live dhol player combined with music from the DJ.
This wedding was absolutely remarkable. Not only because of the beautiful elements used, but because of the way that the families were able to come together, drop all barriers, and form their own unique culture.
Wedding Planner: Beyoutiful Beginnings
Photography & Videography: Xero Digital
Venue: Le Jardin