wedding traditions

Over the last several years we’ve seen an increasing number of wedding couples expanding into elements of their heritage and traditions from around the world in a bid to personalize their big day.

Celebrities have always handled their weddings in a unique way and lets face it, however shy you might be, to your friends and relatives, you are pair of celebrities that day!

Last week we played music for a beautiful khmer/american wedding. During the ceremony each set of parents tied white threads around the left hands of the bride and groom. The thread is symbolic of happiness, good health, success, prosperity, and longevity for the newly wedded couple. We loved seeing both sides of the families come together on the dance floor.

Playing weddings with parents and relatives on either the bride or groom’s side from India, Russia, France, Ukraine, Germany, Austria, Korea, Italy, Turkey, Palestine, Greece, Israel and a host of other countries gave me a perspective of how different and alike at the same time the families like to celebrate the wedding. I always loved all sorts of sounds. Listening to and dabbling around world music has helped me understanding different cultures. My interest in percussion has taken me around the globe and taught me that people in all cultures dance to the drums.

While you don’t have to go overboard and hire a balinese gamelan orchestra for your wedding to stand out, you can get a band who has a multicultural perspective. If your very traditional officiant instructs your band, that music with inappropriate lyrics is ‘haram’, the culturally insensitive sax player shouldn’t chime in that he would like to have a harem, too.

Sometimes the bride or the groom has more of an ‘ethnic identity’ or a family member makes the decision that this must be be a (insert a nationality here) wedding. Be open and go over possible musical song choices with your new relatives to be. Naturally, some songs like a Vienesse Waltz, the Hora or a Tarantella can be played for special dances. Other songs are not that easy to dance to, but they can be played to create a mood for the cocktail hour for example. A special piece of music could be during the ceremony for a candle lighting or a short silent prayer for Babuschka, who couldn’t attend.

There can be musette walk up music for a special toast from the best man Jack who lived in France for a while and got married there.
Talk to your bandleader about ideas and possibilities to make the music unique and memorable.

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