Deciding to have a multicultural wedding ceremony was the easy part. Making it happen was totally a different matter. Unlike most Vietnamese-American weddings, which were either Buddhist or Catholic, we were not religious, so finding an officiant was a challenge. We had no idea who would be the appropriate person to ordain our unconventional wedding.
At first, we had no clue non-denominational officiants existed. But web research led us to Arielle Haze. Her website caught our attention immediately because unlike other officiants, she has a Vote No on Prop 8 badge proudly displayed on her site, which instantly won her bonus points. I won’t go on a rant about Prop 8, but I’ll just say that living in a country where so many cultures and religions are joined through marriage, it makes absolutely no sense to me how anyone could use religion as a reason to take away someone’s right to marriage.
After meeting Arielle, we like her even more. Coming from 3 generations of officiants, Arielle had plenty of experience and have ordained many different types of ceremonies. We couldn’t be happier with her work and would recommend her to anyone! This is one a multitalented woman (go entrepreneurial women!) because she also does wedding photography! You can probably give her a challenge and hire her for both .
A couple weeks ago, I touched base with Arielle again and asked her to talk a little bit about multicultural ceremonies for At First Swoon readers. She shared a bit of advice for couples from different backgrounds:
“When a couple comes from two different backgrounds, together they may bring multiple cultures and / or religions into their lives. As an Officiant, when I meet with my couples, I ask how they want this represented at their wedding?
Some couples choose to focus solely on love and marriage, leaving out culture and religion all together. This is more of the peaceful unity approach. It is best to take this road when you have family that is uneasy about their son or daughter marrying someone outside of their faith and background.
Other couples choose to show samples of their background in small ceremonies or rituals – honoring their history and their families. These might include one or two simple gestures, readings, prayers, or actions performed by the couple or their guests during the ceremony.
Officiants, today, know how to incorporate everyone’s goals and wishes into their ceremonies, and there are many great places to work-in these rituals during the ceremony. Plan ahead though, these types of ceremonies are a bit more complex and you want to make sure everyone knows their role and when to play it!”