Post # 1
I got engaged last week! I’m from a Polish background, grown up in London, and my fiancé is south Indian, grew up there, and studied in Europe and USA.
Since the beginning, we knew we would have two weddings – one traditional South Indian wedding, and one very typical Polish wedding, with a small parents-only civil ceremony in the country we currently live in (neutral territory!!) We also plan to invite the majority to both weddings, though I’m aware that many people will not be able to travel to both – we don’t want to exclude anyone from enjoying both if they so wish. We’re looking at early 2019 for the ceremonies, his parents will plan and take care of the Indian wedding (I will essentially give them my guest list, and turn up on the day…) and we will plan the Polish wedding with the help of my parents. We plan to cover hotel costs for the night of the wedding, but not airfare.
Some of the issues I foresee:
- majority of his family is vegetarian, mine will eat anything and Polish food is very meat-heavy – I plan to make sure there is plenty of vegetarian food at the Polish wedding but I’m afraid meat smells might make them feel weird?
- many of his family don’t drink, Polish weddings are very vodka-centric and there is lots of shots and drinking involved
- my Polish family are very intolerant of spicy food
- Close family not being able to travel to one or the other
I would love to hear from someone who has been in a similar position – I want to make sure we merge the cultures without making anyone feel awkward, and at the same time making sure the day is how we want without any ridiculous compromises. Is there anything I should take specifically into account? Any other problems that might arise?
Post # 2
Hi dear… I am also doing two ceremonies but both of mine will be small (legal ceremony & lunch reception) in two different countries.
A far as guests not being able to attend one or both, I think you need to pinpoint the people that you really NEED to have there and make sure they can make it to at least one. For the rest of the guests try not to get disappointed if it is too hard for them to come. You can always get together with them and your new husband for a lunch or dinner after you are married and back from honeymoon.
The other issues seem to be related to food/drink. I would ask him or his family directly if they are comfortable being around meat and alcohol. Assuming they are, then just make sure there are plenty of vegetarian options and maybe even ask your fiance to meet with the restaurant and explain exactly the dietary requirements since sometimes people can interpret “vegetarian” differently. As for the Indian wedding, just have him ask his family to have at least a few options that are NOT spicy. Surely a caterer or venue can accomodate this.
Overall I would say don’t stress. Sure there will be misunderstandings and mistakes but trust me you will laugh about them later!! When I got engaged my dad kissed my fiance’s mom like he saw me do (on the cheeks) which is a big no-no as she does not even like to shake hands or touch men! But we still laugh about it until today 🙂
Good luck!! I think it will be a great adventure & make for lovely memories
Post # 3
Communication is key! Are his family comfrtavle being around meat and alcohol? How many of them might realistically be able to go anyway? Once you know a rough number, talk to your caterer, come up with menu ideas that his family will happily eat and your caterer is able to cook well.
Then, communicate with his family on spice levels. Make sure there are some no spicy options. If possible talk directly with the caterer rather than going through the in laws.
But if food is the height of the your worries about having two receptions in different countries, hopefully things wont be to complicated.
Post # 4
And as for family… as Pp mentioned I think you can only expect people to come to one or the other. I’m getting married in West Africa, where I live and my fiance is from. All of his people will be there. A few close family members of mine will come. Then we’ll have a reception in the UK hopefully. No one from his side will be there (money/visas). That’s just life as an international couple.
Post # 5
We did something similar, a US wedding that was attended by my family, DH’s immediate family, and most of our friends here, and then a second wedding party in DH’s home country that was attended by DH’s extended family. There wasn’t really any overlap between the two weddings except for DH’s parents and siblings who were at both. Our cultures are pretty different, though not as different as Polish/Indian!
The biggest issue we had was that DH’s family is kosher (not like super strict kosher, like they don’t need the food prepared in separate kitchens, they just dont eat dairy and meat in the same meal), and mine is super duper not. So for the US wedding, we just asked DH’s parents if they would like separate kosher plates or if they’d be okay eating from the food stations like everyone else. The stations we had had a mix of dairy and non-dairy stuff so there was plenty to choose from and it was easy for them to put together a kosher meal from what was offered, so they ended up going with that. I worried that they would be horrified seeing all these people chowing down on things like fried chicken with mac & cheese (yes we had that at one of the stations!), but they didn’t say anything and seemed to have a great time.
So my advice would just be to keep your in laws in the discussion. Let them know what you’re planning food-wise for the Polish wedding and make sure there are options for them there. Whether that means putting together a special plate for them or if you’re doing a buffet/stations having options available that they’d be ok eating. And likewise make sure there are things your family can eat at the Indian wedding.
I wouldn’t limit alcohol at the Polish wedding (that seems like it wouldn’t go over well with your Polish fam, lol), but maybe just give a heads up to FI’s family that there will be some drinking…and then you can do things “their” way at the Indian wedding. Sounds like both parties will be awesome!! I’d love to go to a Polish/Indian wedding lol.
Post # 6
If you already planned to have two wedding celebrations, then do each following the side of the family that you invite, polish celebrations with lots of alcohol etc, and Indian celebration with spicy food and all. You can ask to tell the relatives by mouth which kind of celebration is which culture and that they don’t have to attend both, so they can be prepared and the curious ones can always try how is other culture wedding.
Post # 7
- Wedding: August 2018 - Banquet Hall/Conference Center
These sound so different that I would just make them totally seperate and amazing in their own way. Don’t worry too much about accommodating the “other” side. I don’t think anyone will mind since you are having two weddings. Just make sure there is food everyone can eat at both (veg options in Polish wedding and non-spicy options at Indian wedding). I don’t think the Indian family will mind about the drinking since they know it’s their culture. What they WOULD mind is if the Polish family started drinking heavily at the Indian wedding lol.
PS – My Fiance is South Indian too! I had a lot to learn haha…and my family is North/West Indian! Like other bees said, communication, patience, understanding and compromise is really key here. We ended up splitting our wedding between 3 days in order to accommodate each culture seprately.
It’s so awesome that you guys come from such different cultures! Have fun planning your three weddings :D!
Post # 8
- Wedding: August 2018 - Banquet Hall/Conference Center
And to be honest, food and drink should probably be the last thing you think about…first consider guest list and venues and who all is actually going to attend.