Best of Both Worlds


By Sharfin Islam

On the 18th of August 2018, actress and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra who is of Indian descent announced her engagement to American pop star Nick Jonas. This caused a huge uproar on social media and the world was left in awe. Not only does this announcement signify the union between two celebrities but it is another case of East weds West. We live in a time where our social media feed is bombarded with news of hate crimes. However, amidst all the hatred, the news often fails to highlight the growing love and union between different races. Did you know that a millennial couple is twice as likely to be interracial than its predecessors? Yep, as the year goes by mixed race couples are becoming more prominent and so are their unions that more often than not unapologetically celebrate both their heritages.

“The beauty of a multicultural wedding is when your respective cultures are woven into the fabric of a wedding from the dress, the rituals, the vows, the decoration, the favors, the entertainment and the rest,” says Nicola who is the founder of Love Has No Borders, a foundation in the UK that helps couple belonging to different races mitigate obstacles they face during their weddings. Multicultural weddings bring to the table the best of both cultures. The minimalistic demeanor of Western weddings meets the vibrant, larger than life culture of Eastern weddings. While there are cases where it is difficult for families to accept the fact that their son/daughter is being wed to someone from a different culture, anyone who attends a multicultural wedding ultimately gets a better understanding of the couple’s respective roots which help them ease into the reality. It helps love win.

Photograph by Aysha Tayab-Rätsep

And why wouldn’t it? This is the ideal occasion to showcase the best of everything from both cultures. Starting from food which is literally the best way to introduce any culture. You can customize the menu in such a way which highlights staple dishes from both your homelands. For instance, Aysha Tayab-Rätsep’s wedding featured delicacies from both her native country of Bangladesh and her husband, Matthew Rätsep’s homeland of Canada. “I wanted to incorporate as much of my culture as possible into the wedding so the menu had both Bangladeshi food and Northern American food”, explained Aysha.

Music is another focal point of the wedding as a lot of our culture is tied up in it. Just imagine walking down the aisle in classical desi tunes then rocking jazz music on the dancefloor. But perhaps, the most important aspect is the styling of it. As mentioned earlier, Western weddings are comparatively subtle as opposed to the often loud and gaudy Eastern weddings but fusion weddings somehow find a way to perfectly balance them out. In most cases, we see elements from both of the cultures. Fusion weddings often have the vibrancy of a big fat brown wedding with a subtle and sophisticated touch of a white wedding. “I wore a white lehenga to my wedding because I didn’t want to lose touch with my traditions but at the same time, I wanted to incorporate western elements. Hence white”, recalled Aysha. Oh, and she also had a full-blown Holud ceremony before the wedding because no Bengali wedding is completed without one.

So far, all we’ve talked about is the ceremonies, families, guests, and traditions, but how did the bride or groom feel while planning a wedding so unlike their friends and families’ which they had attended growing up? “Obviously during the initial stages, it was a culture shock for me and my family”, recalled Aysha. However, with ample communication and compromise, both the bride and groom could bring their cultures together in a series of well-planned ceremonies.

The fact that these weddings fuse elements of the east and west is what makes them so special. And the thing that matters the most here is the happiness of the bride and groom. With the media-popularized Nick-Priyanka wedding coming up, it can be presumed that everyone will have an opinion. Even among celebrities, it is still uncommon for them to marry whoever they want without stirring up talk. However, it is best for us to stay on the neutral ground though, and simply wish the future married couple happy days