Couples Who Honored Their Heritage

Meet six real-life couples who chose to honor their cultural heritage in their wedding ceremony. Get useful tips for honoring your unique cultural traditions on your big day.

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All About

Garen's story: "Embrace what makes you unique. For us, it was highlighting our mixed cultural backgrounds and interests. I am a multi-generational American and Igor is a Russian Jew. It was fun mixing traditions from both sides of the family. We also chose a site that is meaningful to me, I am passionate about Art; so, we chose to have our ceremony in the Union Station Rotunda, with its soaring dome and breathtaking Dale Chihuly glass chandelier."


Her tips:

Utilize your family's talents: "To honor Igor's heritage, we incorporated several Jewish and Russian traditions that really made the ceremony and reception unique. An essential part of a Jewish wedding is the huppah, a canopy that the couple stands under during the ceremony symbolizing the future home they will create together. I had a few ideas of how I wanted ours to look but I was astonished at how pricy the quotes were that I received from local florists. My family decided they could make one for less. It was a bit of a struggle at the beginning, but with a little imagination and teamwork, the results were beautiful."

Add traditional elements: "In addition to the huppah, we decided that a ketubah was another element we would like to include. A ketubah is a traditional marriage contract that acts like a ceremonial marriage license. Igor and I chose a wonderfully decorated one that reflected our hopes and aspirations for our marriage. We signed this document with the Rabbi before the ceremony and we now have a beautiful framed reminder of our love and commitment to one another. Another part of the wedding ceremony that we wanted to incorporate was sharing wine from the kiddush cup. During the ceremony, Igor and I drank kosher wine from a silver cup that had also been a part of Igor's bar mitzvah. Drinking from the kiddush cup is a meaningful way to commemorate the wedding blessing the Rabbi gave. Finally, no Jewish wedding ceremony would be complete without the groom breaking a glass. Crushing a glass at the end of the ceremony acts as a reminder to the couple that relationships are fragile and must always be tended with care. It was great having our first kiss as a married couple among the shouts of Mazel Tov from all our family and friends."

Have fun: "At the reception everyone feasted on traditional Russian and American dishes and we all danced the Hava Nagila. American music mixed with Russian tunes as guests from both sides mixed it up on the dance floor. The combination of our cultural backgrounds infused the ceremony with an energy and sense of community that I hadn't experienced at other weddings. It is a feeling I will always remember."