Celebrating the Cultural Diversity of Weddings in America

Jyssica Paper, Wedding

“I am writing to you on Summer Solstice – a favorite celebration for me because it signals that summer is here with longer days, and the sun will be shining down on us more often—

Although at this moment, it looks like it is going to start raining! The trees and plants are full, the birds are singing, the parks are full of activity, and people are out and about enjoying it all.

 

At this time in our nation when there is so much talk of immigrants, and an attitude by a few that they are not welcome in our country, I would like to add my voice to my community. We embrace the notion that all are welcome at Paperjam. With the exception of the Native Americans, we are all immigrants on this piece of land we called The United States of America.

 

As many of you know, one of our specialties at Paperjam are Wedding Invitations. This year so far, we have been part of weddings from many different cultures — Ethiopian, Laotian , Mexican, Russian, Chinese and Indian. We have enjoyed putting their language and customs into text and creating  a wonderful invitation for the couple. I am honored and proud that they have selected us as a safe and accepting business.

 

Did you know that in some Latino cultures, it is traditional to hand deliver wedding invitations? And they have big weddings! I am not sure how this is accomplished in today’s world where family and friends are scattered all over the globe. I do know that I would be delighted to open my door to receive a wedding invitation handed to me — what a beautiful personal touch!

 

Knowing how people live and celebrate their most important events shows us the uniqueness of each culture, and has the potential to enrich our lives by giving us understanding for each other.”

 

With love and acceptance for all,

 

Deb and The Jammers

 

Did you know that almost 14 out of every 100 Portland residents were born outside of the United States? According to the U.S. Census, 19% of the Portland population alone speaks a language other than English at home.

We thought you might enjoy these unique wedding traditions from five different cultures:

 

  1. At traditional Ethiopian weddings, there is a name reading ceremony. The bride and groom take photographs with each wedding guest, have their first dance as a wedded couple, then guests join them to dance to the sounds of various tribes in Ethiopia. The wedding band then receives a list of congratulatory messages from friends and family who weren’t able to attend the ceremony, and they call out the names and relay the wishes to the couple one by one.

 

  1. In Lebanon, the wedding celebration is called the Zaffeh, which starts with music, shouting and belly dancing at both the groom’s and bride’s homes. Friends, family and sometimes professional dancers and musicians will be present, and afterwards both parties meet at the bride’s house. There the couple is showered with flower petals and blessings as they leave for their wedding ceremony.

 

  1. Traditional Chinese brides wears a total of three dresses on her wedding day: she first walks down the aisle in a slim-fitting, embroidered dress, called a “qipao” or “cheongsam.” She changes into a more voluminous, decorated gown for the reception. Lastly, she’ll make a final change into a cocktail dress for the remainder of the evening. We did mention it’s all about the bride, didn’t we?

 

  1. During many Filipino wedding receptions, the bride and groom release two doves into the sky. This represents a long, harmonious, and peaceful life together. Often times, whoever catches the doves after they are released may take them home and keep them as pets.

 

  1. There is a more comical tradition that takes place at Russian weddings. The bride’s parents pretend to steal her away, and ask the groom to pay a ransom. The groom usually then pays a symbolic monetary value or jewelry to get his love back. All in jest, after the ransom is paid and parents return the bride to the groom, the couple head to officially register their marriage.  

What’s your favorite wedding tradition? Have you come up with one of your own? Let us know in a comment!