February 11, 2024 13 min read

Are you thinking about adding some culture to your multi-cultural wedding?

You're in luck! You will be pleased to know that you have come to the right place for wedding inspiration. As a renowned wedding and event planner specializing in multi-cultural weddings, across NZ and the Pacific Islands. (Also, we live in a melting pot that is Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland City, Aotearoa New Zealand)... We are thrilled to provide you with 9 Inspired Ways to Weave Your Heritage into the Tapestry of Your Wedding Day! 

Get a notebook and take notes, this is the blog post you have been waiting for! Also, if you’ve been thinking about hiring a wedding planner to help you with your dream wedding experience, this is your sign. Book a wedding planning consultation ASAP.

Let us know in the comments what you might incorporate from your culture and heritage on your wedding day after you have read this blog article! Enjoy.  
 

New Zealand Bride with Bridesmaids with woven hand fans instead of bridal bouquets
 

In this article:

  1. Research and Understand
  2. Select a Theme 
  3. Fusion Cuisine 
  4. Traditional Attire 
  5. Rituals and Ceremonies
  6. Music and Dance
  7. Décor and Design
  8. Wedding Favours 
  9. Celebrate and Revive Traditions  

Wedding invitations with black Tahitian pearl bridal jewelleryPolynesian Wedding Traditions and Rituals

01. Research and Understand Cultures

Begin by researching and understanding the cultural traditions, customs, and symbolism associated with both partners' backgrounds. This will help you identify elements you'd like to incorporate into the wedding. This can be as simple as asking someone you know and trust for some cultural wisdom. 
 

02. Select a Theme

Choose a unifying theme that celebrates both cultures. This could be based on colours, patterns, or motifs that represent both backgrounds and create a cohesive visual aesthetic. The world is your oyster!

Cook Islands Maori Wedding TraditionsMaori culture haka being performed at a Gay New Zealand weddingMaori cuisine for weddings and special events 

03. Fusion Cuisine

If there is one thing that is true, especially across Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, it is that wedding guests cannot wait to try your wedding menu! They are excited to come to your big day and they are also excited to eat and sometimes in a big way! Some may say, you may even be judged on the kind of spread you incorporate into your special day…Now, that statement is not meant to create anxiety, but merely to express how much people love food, especiallyon a joyous occasion like a beautiful wedding! This is the perfect opportunity to shine bright like a diamond by incorporating fusion cuisine from your unique heritage and cultures.  
  
Plan a menu that highlights and combines dishes and ingredients from both cultures, providing guests with a diverse culinary experience. Working closely with a skilled chef who understands theflavours and techniques of both, or all cultures cuisines will ensure that the fusion elements are integrated seamlessly into the menu whilemaintaining the essence of the dishes.  

 

Plated set menu for wedding cateringSamoan wedding dessert

 
Here's an example of a Māori and Samoan fusion cuisine menu that incorporates fresh and local New Zealand ingredients, providing an outstanding and memorable food experience for the wedding party...  Do you dare to create somethingunique for your wedding day? 

 
STARTERS

Rewena Bread Bruschetta: 
A twist on the classic bruschetta using Māori rewena bread as the base, topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, feta cheese, and a drizzle ofKoko Samoa-infused olive oil. 
 
Kaimoana Ceviche: A vibrant ceviche dish featuring local New Zealand seafood such as kingfish or snapper, marinated in coconut cream, lime juice, chili, coriander, and served with crispy taro chips. 
 
MAIN COURSES

Hangi-style Lamb Roulade: Tender New Zealand lamb loin stuffed with a filling of taro leaves a Samoan-stylepalusami, then slow-cooked in an earth oven (hangi) for a smoky flavour. Served withkūmara (sweet potato) mash and afa'i banana puree. 
 
Māori Curry-Spiced Fish: Fresh local fish, such as hapuka or groper, marinated in a blend of Māori curry spices, then pan-seared and served on a bed of coconut and turmeric-infused risotto, garnished withkōwhitiwhiti (watercress),kawakawa and crispy fried shallots. 
 
SIDES

Kūmara and Taro Salad: A colourful salad combining roastedkūmara (sweet potato), boiled taro, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and a tangy citrus dressing infused with Samoan lime and Māorihoropito seasoning. 
 
Hangi-Style Steamed Greens: A medley of locally sourced New Zealand greens, such as watercress, puha (sow thistle), andkōkihi (New Zealand spinach), steamed with aromatic herbs and served with a squeeze of lemon. 
 
DESSERTS

Koko Samoa Mousse with Coconut Caramel Sauce: Served with vanilla bean ice cream and compote of native New Zealand berries, such astītoki or kahikatea. 
 
Māori Pavlova with Tropical Fruits: A fusion twist on the classic New Zealand dessert, pavlova,mānuka honey-infused meringue.It's topped with a tropical fruit compote, including Samoan pineapple, tamarillo, and passionfruit. 
 
BEVERAGES

Kawakawa Mojito:
Māorikawakawa leaves, lime, mint, soda water, and a splash of Samoan rum or vodka. 
 
WaiMānuka: Crafted in Aotearoa New Zealand by infusingMānuka honey with a touch of lemon juice and sparkling water. 

Ariki Fruit Punch: 
A blend of local New Zealand fruits, such as feijoas, passionfruit, and guavas, mixed with Ariki Spirit, sparkling water and garnished with edible flowers.  
 

Boom! Now that's a wedding menu to be proud of if you are from Aotearoa New Zealand or the islands of Samoa. And this is also another example of 'added benefits' when you hire NZ’s top wedding design and planning company, Wedding She Wrote.

 

There is nothing quite like sharing a beautiful meal with a room full of people who love and treasure you on one of the most important days of your life! It is really such a beautiful experience to share.  

You can really create something utterly unique when it comes to fusion cuisine and incorporating your cultures and heritages into your special day. Fortune favours the bold! Go on, do your best. Hehe.

Your wedding guests outside of these cultures will delight in the opportunity to be a part of your special day and share the best parts of your heritage, like the food! Everyone loves food. And for those who share the same cultures as you - they will be amazed by the chefs’ abilities to transform these everyday locally grown ingredients into a Michelin star quality menu!

Samoan wedding traditions mean a lot of cake!Cook Islands Group at Wedding in NZ 

04. Traditional Attire

The wedding dress is the purest reflection of a bride's personality! It is an exciting opportunity to blend beliefs, heritage, culture, and style, showing the nearest and dearest who you are and who you are becoming through this life transition. are about to be wife! And he, a husband! 
 
Brides and even Grooms can add a special touch to their wedding wardrobe with carefully selected colours, hues, and fabrics, the layering of different textures, cultural embellishments, and detailed embroidery that resonates with their ideologies! 

In this way, you are also creating something important with love as your intention which then may become special heirlooms for your children to inherit too! How beautiful it is special to celebrate traditions and heritage through what you are wearing on the biggest day of your life! Express yourself. 
 

Indian Wedding Auckland New ZealandIndian BrideWedding Flowers and Wedding Styling Auckland New Zealand - www.weddingshewrote.co.nz

When a couple is from a background of unique heritages and cultures, we encourage the couple to incorporate traditional attire into the wedding day if that's what they want! Especially when they're not sure about what they're about to do in this department. This can include wedding outfits for the main event - the bride, the groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen, flower girls, and parents of the happy couple. The entire wedding party might dress to a cultural theme! Other ways might include a wardrobe change into a second look that represents. 

 
We love that each culture and heritage have its own identity and nuances! You could do the whole she-bang from head-to-toe or accessorize with a modern approach and create your own style by incorporating certain cultural elements into the bridal party's attire. This might be through timeless jewellery, ornaments and national treasures. Your day, your way! 
 
As an example, for Cook Islanders, a floral crown or “Ei katu” made with fresh flowers and black pearls might be the perfect modern yet timeless touch for a bride getting married in the Cook Islands, or who is of Cook Islands decent getting married anywhere in the world!  An ‘Ei katu’ is a great way to elevate your bridal look, especially if you’re a minimalist bride getting married in the islands wanting a touch of tropical elegance. 

Samoan wedding dress made from tapa clothSamoan Siapo Wedding Dress Inspiration

05. Rituals and Ceremonies

Identify meaningful rituals or ceremonies from each culture and find ways to incorporate them into the wedding ceremony or reception. This could include a traditional tea ceremony, a henna ceremony, or a cultural dance performance. 
 
Since we are based in Auckland, New Zealand where it's so culturally diverse and a melting pot of cultures. Here are a few examples from the Indian and Chinese cultures that can add a special touch to a wedding ceremony or reception.

Use the following as inspiration of what you might like to weave from your own heritage, into the tapestry of your wedding day. What special rituals or ceremonies would you like to celebrate on your wedding day? We'd love to know!

Indian Culture: 

Mehndi/Henna Ceremony:Consider organizing a pre-wedding Mehndi ceremony where the bride and close female family members and friends gather to have intricate henna designs applied to their hands and feet. This can be a joyful and colourful event, often accompanied by music, singing, and dancing. 

Saptapadi (Seven Steps):During the wedding ceremony, incorporate the Saptapadi ritual, where the couple takes seven symbolic steps around a sacred fire or seven designated points. Each step represents a vow or commitment they make to each other. 

Varmala (Exchange of Garlands): Include the tradition of the varmala, where the couple exchanges floral garlands as a symbol of acceptance and union. This ritual signifies the acceptance of one another as life partners.  

Gold accents for Indian wedding traditionsFruit at weddings - Grazing tablesIndian weddings NZ
Chinese Culture:  

Tea Ceremony: Arrange a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, where the couple serves tea to their parents and elder family members as a gesture of respect and gratitude. This ceremony symbolizes the couple's acknowledgement of their families and seeks blessings for their marriage. 

Lion Dance: Incorporate a lively Lion Dance performance at the reception. The Lion Dance is a traditional Chinese dance performed to bring good luck and fortune. It involves acrobatic movements, and the lion "blesses" the couple by presenting them with a red envelope or oranges, symbolizing luck and prosperity. 

Red Wedding Attire: Embrace the Chinese tradition of wearing red wedding attire, which symbolizes good luck and joy. The bride can wear a red qipao or a modern red wedding gown, while the groom can wear a red sash or incorporate red accents into his outfit.  
 

It's important to work closely with cultural consultants or wedding planners who are knowledgeable about these traditions to ensure their proper execution and significance. By incorporating these meaningful rituals or ceremonies, you can honour and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of your cultures traditions in your wedding celebration.


This is a special day in more ways than one!

06. Music and Dance

Include music and dance performances that represent both cultures. This can be a live band, traditional instruments, or even hiring dancers who specialize in the traditional dances of the nearly-weds cultural backgrounds. Not only for you, but it creates an immersive experience for wedding guests. 

Continuing from these colourful Asian communities... Here's some examples of how you can incorporate music and dance performances representing both Indian and Chinese cultures throughout the wedding day and evening to complement what's being celebrated! 


Use the following as inspiration for your own wedding experience. How might you create a beautiful fusion of music and dance from your own cultures and heritages - as two become one?

Live Music at Fiji WeddingCook Islands DancingWedding guests partying in Fiji

Morning/Early Afternoon: 

Indian Music during the Pre-Wedding Rituals: Begin the day with traditional Indian music playing softly in the background as the bride and groom participate in pre-wedding rituals like the Mehndi or Haldi ceremonies. This sets a cultural ambiance and creates a joyful atmosphere.  

Chinese Traditional Instrumental Music during Tea Ceremony: During the tea ceremony, have a Chinese musician playing traditional instruments like the guzheng or erhu, providing a serene and authentic musical backdrop as the couple and their families engage in the ritual. 

Throughout the Day: 

DJ Mixing Indian and Chinese Music: During breaks or transitions between events, have a skilled DJ who can mix and play a combination of Indian and Chinese music, ensuring a seamless blend of cultural sounds that keeps the energy high and guests engaged. 

Evening Reception: 

Indian Classical Music and Dance Performance: As guests arrive for the evening reception, have a live performance of Indian classical music, featuring instruments like the sitar and tabla. Accompany the music with a captivating Kathak or Bharatanatyam dance performance, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Indian dance forms. 
 
Chinese Lion Dance Performance: Surprise and delight your guests by arranging a vibrant Chinese Lion Dance performance. The energetic lion dancers can entertain guests with their captivating acrobatics and drumming, symbolizing good luck and fortune for the couple's new journey together. 
 
Bollywood Dance Performance: Incorporate a lively Bollywood dance performance, featuring a group of talented dancers who can entertain and engage guests with popular Bollywood songs and choreography. You can even invite guests to join in the dancing, creating a festive and interactive atmosphere. 
 
Fusion Music and Dance: To showcase the union of both cultures, consider arranging a fusion performance where Indian and Chinese musicians collaborate, blending traditional melodies and rhythms. This can be accompanied by a dance performance that combines elements from both Indian and Chinese dance styles, creating a unique and immersive experience for the guests. 

Remember, the timing and duration of each performance will depend on the specific wedding schedule and preferences of the couple. Working closely with cultural performers, musicians, and wedding planners will help you create a well-paced and immersive experience that highlights the musical and dance traditions of both Indian and Chinese cultures throughout the wedding day and evening. You’re welcome! 

 

Wedding reception styling NZ 

07. Décor and Design

Infuse the wedding venue with elements of both cultures. Incorporate traditional patterns, textiles, artwork, and symbolic decorations that reflect the couple's heritage. It creates an inviting and visually stunning atmosphere.

Wedding MenuGay Cook Islands and Maori Wedding in New Zealand

Incorporating bilingual elements throughout the wedding can help ensure that guests from both cultures feel included and informed. Here are some examples and ways to achieve this.

Invitations: 

Bilingual Invitations: Design your wedding invitations to include both languages, providing essential details in both English and the other language(s) relevant to your cultures. This allows guests to understand the invitation clearly and feel included. 

Wedding Website: Create a wedding website where you can provide detailed information about the event, including ceremony and reception details, accommodations, and any specific cultural customs or dress code instructions. Make sure the website is available in both languages, ensuring all guests can access the information. 

Signage: 

Venue Signage: Place signs in both languages at key locations throughout the venue, including directional signs, restroom signs, and parking signs. This will help guests navigate the venue comfortably. 

Menu and Food Stations: If you have food stations or buffet-style dining, label each dish with bilingual signs to inform guests about the cuisine and ingredients. This ensures that guests can make informed choices and appreciate the cultural significance of the dishes. Programs and Ceremony Elements: 

Bilingual Ceremony Programs: Create bilingual ceremony programs that outline the order of events, include translations of any readings or vows, and provide explanations of any cultural rituals or traditions that will take place. This allows guests to follow along and understand the significance of each element. 

Language Alternation: During the ceremony, consider alternating between languages for certain readings or speeches, ensuring that both cultures are represented and engaged. This allows guests from both backgrounds to feel connected and included throughout the ceremony. 

Reception:

Bilingual Toasts and Speeches: If there will be toasts or speeches during the reception, encourage speakers to provide a bilingual version or provide translations for guests. This allows everyone to understand and appreciate the heartfelt messages. 

Multilingual MC or Host: If you have an MC or host for the reception, consider hiring someone who is fluent in both languages to ensure seamless communication and engagement with all guests. 

 
By incorporating bilingual elements throughout the wedding, you create an inclusive and welcoming environment for guests from both cultures. It allows everyone to understand and participate in the various aspects of the wedding, fostering a sense of unity and celebration.

  Minimalist bride decorationsWedding ceremony ideas - SandWedding favours Bride and Groom cupcakes

08. Wedding Favours

Offer wedding favours that reflect both cultures, such as mini versions of traditional sweets, cultural trinkets, or personalised items with elements representing each heritage. It's a thoughtful gesture that honours both backgrounds.  

(Though, not mandatory if it’s not in your budget or you’re not incorporating them for whatever reason.)

Here are some modern yet timeless wedding favour ideas couples with multi-cultural backgrounds are choosing for their wedding guests:


Customized Miniature Food Jars:
 Couples can offer small jars filled with unique and culturally significant food items such as spices, honey, jam, or traditional sweets. This allows guests to experience a taste of different cultures and take home a flavourful reminder of the wedding.
 

Personalized Tea or Coffee Blends: Create custom tea or coffee blends that incorporate flavours and ingredients from various cultures. Package them in elegant containers with personalized labels, allowing guests to enjoy a warm and comforting beverage while reminiscing about the wedding. 

Succulents or Miniature Plants: Offer miniature potted plants or succulents as eco-friendly and long-lasting favours. This can symbolize growth, harmony, and sustainability. Decorate the pots with ribbons or tags that reflect the couple's cultural heritage.
 

Cultural-inspired Coasters: Provide coasters that feature traditional patterns, symbols, or images from different cultures. Guests can use these practical and stylish favours in their homes, and they serve as a unique representation of the couple's diverse backgrounds.

Customised Candles: Personalised candles are versatile favours that can be tailored to various cultural themes. You can incorporate scents and designs inspired by different cultures, such as Indian spices, Chinese calligraphy, or Moroccan patterns. 

Miniature Traditional Instruments: For music-loving couples, consider offering miniature traditional instruments as wedding favours. These can include mini hand drums, maracas, or wooden flutes that represent different cultures and add a touch of fun and playfulness. 

Handmade Soaps or Bath Salts: Provide handmade soaps or bath salts infused with culturally significant scents or ingredients. This allows guests to indulge in a relaxing experience while embracing the diverse traditions celebrated by the couple. 

Personalised Hand Fans: Offer personalised hand fans that feature the couple's names, wedding date, and designs inspired by their respective cultures. This favour not only helps guests beat the heat but also serves as a beautiful keepsake. 

 
These modern yet timeless wedding favours embrace cultural diversity while offering guests a thoughtful and memorable keepsake. Customise the favours to reflect your unique backgrounds, and guests will appreciate the meaningful touch. 

 Polynesian Wedding TradtitionsSamoan and Niuean Wedding Customs and Traditions

09. Celebrate & Revive Traditions

Create moments during the wedding where both cultures are celebrated individually. This could include special performances, toasts, or symbolic gestures that pay homage to the couple's unique heritages. 

What traditions do you want to celebrate or revive through your wedding dream? We'd love to know, leave a comment below.

 
Remember, personalization is key. Tailor these recommendations to specific backgrounds and preferences to create a wedding that is truly a reflection of your love story and unique heritage. 
 

We hope our extensive blog article about drawing inspiration from your unique heritages and incorporating it into your wedding day has inspired you to add flavour to your special day – and your once in a lifetime moment. Savour the moment of getting married and celebrate what you really love, and if you love your culture, everyone will also delight in it–all. 
 
Let us know what you think about this article in the comments, what was your favourite of our Inspired Ways to Weave Your Heritage into the Tapestry of Your Wedding Day? 
 
For added points, on a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you think should we make our example Fusion Cuisine wedding menu a reality for a nearly wed Māori/Samoan couple? See above!

Thank you for reading!

Need help with writing your wedding vows? Check out this blog article!

Cook Islands and Maori Gay Wedding NZCook Islands and Maori Gay Wedding NZ

Teuila Benioni
Teuila Benioni

Founder & Creative Director


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