A Contemporary Cross-Cultural Wedding by Chaz Cruz Photography
by Stephanie

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Brides, it's no secret that planning a wedding can be a challenge; however, how many of you are planning a wedding between cultures and traditions? My guess is that in today's world, that's becoming more and more common. While planning a wedding that honors the traditions of both you and your future spouses' cultures might seem like an impossible task, this wedding today proves that it's possible -- and wonderful!

Neshani and Mathew were married in a gorgeous contemporary cross-cultural wedding in San Diego that crossed Indian, Colombian and Jewish cultures. Photographed by the incredibly talented Chaz Cruz, this special day is one of the most unique and exciting days we've featured yet! From the getting ready photos to the ceremony to the reception, this wedding is non-stop fun and romance. Read on for some words from the bride about the special day, and (of course) gorgeous photos!

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Words about the special day from the bride:

When Mathew and I began planning our wedding, we were only sure of three things: we knew we wanted to have one fusion ceremony, we wanted to get married outdoors and we wanted the wedding to be fun and relaxed! We have a lot of cultures and religions between the two of us - Mathew’s father is Jewish and from New York, and his mother is Colombian. My parents are from India and were brought up in Hindu families, and Mathew and I were both born in the States. So planning a wedding to please everyone seemed daunting at first. Neither Mathew nor I are religious, but we did want our wedding to pay tribute to the cultures that we grew up with as well as our current style of life. Ultimately, we decided to combine the cultural and spiritual aspects of Hindu, Jewish and Colombian wedding customs and incorporate them into a wedding that represented us, our families and our future together.

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For example, for Mathew’s Baraat (or groom’s parade), we hired a Dhol player to hype up the crowd while we played a mix that Mathew put together of Cumbia, Bhangra and Klezmer music. Before the ceremony, Mathew stepped on a clay pot (a Hindu tradition representing the destruction of the ego) and crushed on a wine glass (a Jewish tradition to symbolize the fragility of human relationships) at the end of the ceremony. My cousin officiated the ceremony, which took place under a chuppah, which is similar to a mandap (a four-pillared structure used in Hindu and Jain weddings). In Hindu weddings, couples walk around a sacred fire four times, representing the four aspects of a virtuous life (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha), but we substituted the fire for a candle which we lit to represent a union of light in Jewish ceremonies, and the sending of love and joy to the couple’s family, friends and community. It was a challenge to get the families on board with these and other fusion aspects of our ceremony, but once we finalized the program, they were sold.

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Growing up in San Diego, I always loved the natural beauty and charm of Balboa Park. Since we were going for a relaxed vibe and looking to get married outdoors, we knew we found our spots when we stumbled upon the Casa del Prado Patio and the Spanish Village Art Center, which are both in the historic Park. I loved the openness and Spanish architecture of the Casa Del Prado and we were both excited about having the reception at a funky, colorful outdoor community space that supports the arts. The Spanish Village also let bring in our own caterers, which was helpful, since we wanted Indian and Colombian food and needed two different caterers to supply the food!

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A lot of our wedding was DIY (I made the succulent centerpieces, programs, place cards, table numbers, etc.) and executing our fusion wedding was definitely a challenge that wouldn’t have materialized if it wasn’t for the help of family, friends, our wedding coordinator, Felicia Young and our awesome photographer, Chaz Cruz and his crew who were a calming presence that really kept us together! Looking back, I would probably hire a company to take care of a lot of the DIY stuff, but it was a learning experience for sure. My advice to anyone planning a wedding combining multiple cultures and family traditions is to stick to the things that are really important to you (for us it was the ceremony), be willing to compromise on the other little aspects of the wedding, and don’t worry if little details don’t turn out as expected...no one notices except for you.  And most importantly, have fun!

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So what do you think brides and grooms? We just can't get enough of the amazingly fun cultural fusion of the wedding day, and how the bride and groom honored were able to honor BOTH traditions while still having the day of their dreams.

Are any of you brides planning a special day between cultures as well? Let us know about your own day and what you think about Neshani and Mathew's special day! Congrats to the happy couple and thanks to Chaz Cruz for sharing these lovely images!

Vendors:

Ceremony: Casa Del Prado Patio Balboa Park | Reception: Spanish Village Art Center Balboa Park | Photography: Chaz Cruz Photography | Party Rentals: Abbey Party Rentals | Sound: Backstage Rentals | Chuppah: Arc De Belle | Caterers: Bombay Coast and Antojitos Colombianos | DJ: DJ Beatnick | Dhol Player: Shawn Kalsi | Photobooth: 5th Ave Photobooths | Henna/Mehndi: Tejal Shah/Henna San Diego | Brides Lehenga: Payal Singhal | Groom’s Outfit: Macys