Shelly Pate

Step by Step Multicultural Wedding Unites Jewish Wedding Traditions & Hindu Wedding Rituals

I always love it when two individuals incorporate their cultures into their wedding day. This combination can create a really magical, new experience. For these two, it was combining both their various faiths and cultures into one exciting celebration! Witness how this couple merged Hindu wedding rituals step by step with Jewish wedding traditions at this fusion wedding!

couple puts garland on each other at outdoor wedding ceremony

Combining Cultures Through Wedding Symbols

couple stands holding hands with henna on bride's arms and hands

Though much was experienced throughout Emily and Sri’s interfaith wedding day, so much more was done through symbols. Here are some ways that both cultures were represented in physical form throughout their day:

  • The canopy at their ceremony served as both a traditional Jewish chuppah and Indian Mandap for the vow exchange.
  • Emily had henna done on her hands and arms adding the Jewish star of David as part of the design.
  • The day included a bright Indian-inspired color palette with textures captured fully by the bride’s bouquet. Emily shared, “It’s not exactly traditional Indian, but there is definitely evocation of the colorfulness of an Indian wedding. I wanted it to feel festive, summery and bright (but complementary, not totally over the top!).”
wedding canopy decorated with wedding flowers

So much thought and energy was put into all the details of their day that melded together so seamlessly. It included Jewish wedding traditions, Hindu wedding traditions and new creations of their own! One such creation was Emily’s hand-mixed and hand-poured candles that served as wedding favors. The couple’s heart and soul was in it all!

bride with henna on hands holding wedding bouquet

Wedding Day Timeline of Jewish Wedding Traditions and Hindu Rituals

Incorporating the selected ceremonies and rituals of their multicultural day involved a detailed plan in their wedding day timeline. It all started with several steps necessary to their respective cultures for entering into the wedding day.

couple signs document as part of jewish wedding traditions

After Emily and Sri’s private first look the next step pulled from Jewish wedding traditions: the Ketubah Signing. A ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract that is signed and witnessed prior to the wedding. The couple signed the document (designed with an Indian style and colors) surrounded by their immediate family who came early to do a sort of family first look!

This was followed by the Indian Baraat, a joyous and colorful procession of the groom’s family and friends accompanying him to the Mandap. This required Sri to ride in on a horse surrounded by wedding guests walking and dancing along beside him. He led everyone to the chuppah in the ceremony area and then was lifted off his ride!

Ceremony Rituals Shared by Both Cultures

wedding program detail jewish wedding traditions

Emily and Sri did such a really cool blend of Indian and Jewish culture throughout their entire day. Most of these were incorporated into the ceremony itself which was all explained within the wedding program. It shared what each step stood for and the meaning behind each faith’s prayer and recitation.

couple touches each other's heads as part of hindu wedding traditions

It was beautiful how much crossover existed between both traditions including a symbol of the couple’s commitment to each other through sweet and hard times (Jewish breaking glass/Indian paste put on each other’s heads). Other symbols included the exchange of garlands and rings, and the groom presenting a Hindu ceremonial necklace and a toe ring (symbolizes she is married).

bride and groom kiss under chuppa as part of jewish wedding traditions

Other Jewish wedding traditions mixed well with the Hindu wedding ceremony script. This included the couple feeding each other, the parents and couple drinking wine, and one particular custom shared by both cultures: the Saptapadi or Seven Steps. The bride and groom take seven steps together symbolizing their coming journey together as a married couple.

This was followed by the breaking of glass which is how Jewish weddings end symbolizing their marriage holding both joy and sorrow. The ceremony was completed by the Indian Ashirwad where the newlyweds approach both sets of parents under the Mandap seeking their blessing. So many Indian and Jewish traditions were mixed into the ceremony and of course they didn’t miss the kiss!

couple kisses while exiting wedding ceremony during as part of jewish wedding traditions

The Perfect Spot for Jewish Wedding Traditions & Hindu Culture to Combine

As Emily described, they not only tried “to be thoughtful and deliberate about blending cultures in lots of different areas (food, attire, the ceremony, etc.)” but also in how they mingled their guests. They built in activities to bring these two crowds together by having giant lawn games for guests to play during the cocktail hour which also included an assortment of Indian food.

As Emily commented, “Between Sri’s family, who speak English, Telugu, and Hindi, and my mom’s family, who speak English, French, Hebrew and occasionally Farsi, it will be quite a blend, which I think is really cool!”

couple walks through the woods at outdoor maryland wedding

Woodend Sanctuary and Mansion of Chevy Chase, Maryland became the perfect spot for Jewish wedding traditions and Hindu ceremonies to merge. Emily describes their Maryland wedding venue choice: “Sri loved the idea of basically getting married in a forest. I also think the mansion is really lovely, and the portico!” The couple selected the tree grove for their couple’s portraits and the front of the mansion beside the portico for the first look and cocktail hour.

The bride recalled that “One of the things that sold us on Woodend was that it felt both elegant and casual, a combination that feels contradictory but was exactly what we were going for.” Due to the size of the venue and the mix of people, it felt solemn but energetic!

couple walks through green forest at outdoor maryland wedding

Two People & Two Cultures: A Story of Becoming One

newlyweds stand with both sides of family in wedding photos

Even though so many traditions were upheld, much was dropped to accommodate these combinations. It was the most traditional non-traditional wedding you could have! They had no bridesmaids or groomsmen and wanted everyone to just wear what they wanted.

One of their reasons for dropping some wedding traditions was wanting to focus the day on being with family. Family was so integral that they did all of their family portraits before the ceremony. Emily and Sri have large families so they wanted to get all of the desired photo combinations without feeling rushed. Emily noted, “We’re two pretty silly individuals and although we wanted family portraits and posed shots, I also wanted some that reflect that silliness.”

couple makes faces at outdoor maryland wedding

These priorities came first before trying to check off some prescribed wedding checklist. As Emily explained, “In twenty years no one will remember the food or the DJ but the photos will still speak for themselves.” They accomplished all of this on their intercultural wedding day!

“In twenty years no one will remember the food or the DJ but the photos will still speak for themselves.”

Do you feel like your wedding day is too complicated? Let’s sort it out together whether it’s a traditional wedding or a multicultural one!

groom holds bride's hands with henna
couple exchanges rings as part of jewish wedding traditions
flowers decorate chuppa as part of jewish wedding traditions
couple bows for a blessing during outdoor wedding ceremony
couple kisses under chuppah as part of jewish wedding traditions
couple holds hands walking through garden at outdoor wedding
couple embraces at outdoor garden wedding

The Team

Venue | Woodend Sanctuary and Mansion
Dress | Ellie’s Bridal Boutique by Justin Alexander
Florist | Elegance & Simplicity
HMU | Updos for I Dos
Caterer | Catering by Seasons
DJ | Chris Laich Music Services

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