2 Strategies To Honouring Your Cultural Wedding Traditions Whilst Keeping Your Sanity In Check

No one should be waking up at 3am on their wedding day.

No one.

If you’re going to sink $35,000 (and more) on your wedding day, why on earth would you want to wake up at 3am and feel like a zombie for the first 6 hours of the day before reaching midnight and having almost no recollection of the past 21 hours?

Am I right?


But …

Your parents expect a tea ceremony at their place in the morning and all the craziness that goes with it.

You really don’t want a 16 hour day.

All you want is a small and simple affair with your best friends.

You deserve that much – it is your wedding after all, not anyone else’s.

Having photographed almost 100 cultural weddings, let me offer you some compromises for your consideration.

Option A

Split your wedding festivities across two dates. That is, hold the cultural traditions (e.g., tea ceremony, Hindu ceremony etc) and the big banquet style reception on a separate day to your actual wedding day. The two days don’t even have to be one after the other. Some couples have held them with a few weeks in between so that things are less rushed and chaotic.

This way, you can please the parents whilst having your wedding day your way. For example, if they insist on inviting all their friends and acquaintances to the reception, they can (and if they are willing to foot the bill of doing so). All you’ll have to do is dress up and turn up.

The downside however is that Option A will cost you more. That is, double the hair and make-up and double the photography expenses.

But your sanity is worth it isn’t it?

Option B

Cut down and simplify the cultural traditions.

Admittedly, this method will require some advocacy on your behalf but the results are well worth the effort.

Instead of two separate tea ceremonies, combine them into a single tea ceremony.

alternatives to having 2 tea ceremonies on wedding day

Instead of having the tea ceremony at one of your parent’s homes, opt to host it at your reception venue (i.e., neutral ground). Less travelling. Less time spent feeling confused and frustrated. Less waiting and guaranteed to be less chaos.

Rather than doing the tea ceremony in the morning, opt to do it around 6pm – just before guests begin to arrive. This way, you can change into your traditional gown of choice (if applicable) after your wedding photos have been done.

What about incense and prayers to ancestors?

May I suggest a quick pit stop before arriving at reception to pop by your respective parents’ homes to do this?

And when it comes to doing photos with guests (the ones that you barely know and haven’t seen since you were a child) – you’re probably going to have to grit your teeth and endure them. However, it may be a wise choice to limit the time spent doing guest photos. For example, rather than stand between 6.30pm to 8pm, tell guests in their invites that guest photos will be done between 6.30pm and 7.30pm only. Latecomers will have to miss out (their choice for being late).


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