As I teach Spanish to my children, or to students or friends, I always emphasize that understanding the culture of a language helps as much as memorizing verbs.  Even before I learned a second language though, I have enjoyed getting to know people from around the world and learning about their culture–finding what we have in common, and learning from our differences.

This February I am so stoked to get to host the MKB Blogging Carnival.  And since it is the month of love, I thought what better way to celebrate than to see what marriages and relationships are like around the world.

I know you will enjoy reading all of these posts!  (Just click on the titles to read.)  Some of the traditions here I had never heard of, some of the photos are so stunning, some of the multicultural ideas are so creative, and above all seeing two lives come together especially across cultures is such a beautiful event.

Real Families: Attending a Traditional Malawian Wedding
      Jodi of Mud Hut Mama wrote this guest post over at Kid World Citizen about her family’s experience participating in a Malawian wedding.  She gives great details and descriptions of the whole day, you really get to see what it was like to be at the wedding.  I think this post stands as one of the most unique weddings from what I am used to.  What stood out to me was the role of the brothers of the bride and groom, beginning at the wedding and carrying on throughout the marriage.

Ka’ab Gazelle Recipe and Photo Tuto.
     I married into an Italian family and quickly learned, you cannot have a wedding without mounds and mounds of cookies.  Amanda from Marocmama shares a recipe in this post of one of Morocco’s most famous wedding cookies.  Be sure to check it out.  She shares great photos and step-by-step directions.  You can also read about her love story here.

The Americas
A Puerto Rican Wedding Tradition: “Capias”
    You know how every wedding has so many details that we don’t think about until it comes time to plan the wedding?  Well, Frances from Discovering the World through My Son’s Eyes, shares about one of those sweet details of Puerto Rican weddings that adds a personal touch to the day.  The part I love about this idea, is how it allows the bride a chance to visit and thank each of her guests.  Do you have something like this in weddings from your culture?

Our First Mexican Wedding
     What I loved about this post was all the lovely pictures that Tina of Los Gringos Locos shares–they alone can tell a story!  I have never been to Mexico (except some border towns in Texas), but it looks like a beautiful place to have a wedding.

Our Multicultural Wedding: 5 Ways We Honored Our Cultures
      Diana of Ladyleelg shares the story of her multicultural wedding and how honoring her Ecuadorian and USA cultures, as well as the French culture of her husband took center stage.  It was really neat to read how the couple chose special elements from the different cultures and fused them together to create a wonderful wedding and celebration of their cross-cultural love.  I am not sure which impressed me more: the cake in the shape of Port d’Avignon or the amazing 15th century church they were married in.  Read for yourself and see if you can help me decide.  You can even watch a short video of her special day.

Where apsaras dance 
    Oh. My. Goodness.  The photos of this Cambodian wedding make me feel like I am missing out a little.  I will probably never be invited to a wedding in Cambodia, so thankfully I have this beautiful post from Nathalie of Kampuchea Crossings.  Nathalie explains that these stunning wedding celebrations last for days.  The fabric, the flowers, the ceremony so rich in color, symbolism, and tradition.  If you have not had a Cambodian wedding experience, be sure to read this post!
Spring Traditions: Our Anniversary
      Varya shares her multicultural tale, at Creative World of Varya, of how her and her husband’s Baha’i faith brought them together in friendship and then in love–she from Russia, he from Tanzania, meeting in India and marrying in China.  Read her lovely story of how they made their special day represent all the wonderful aspects of where they were from and where they were going as a couple. 

As you can see I categorized some weddings twice as they represented cultures from Europe and  the Americas, so if you do not see a description here, you can find it above.

A Wedding in France
      Here you can read about Eolia’s very French wedding in English or French!  I love this post as she explains in detail all the elements of a French wedding, with many lovely photos and explanations of the special French traditions.  Read this post, and then see how you can recognize the French traditions in others’ posts such as Esther’s or Annabelle’s.

eine Hochzeit in Deutschland
      Here you can read a sweet account by Julie (blogging over at Open Wide the World) of her sister’s and German brother-in-law’s German wedding.  The two met in Germany, and honored that heritage with their wedding.  I appreciate the practicality of the German wedding (no fuss with coordinating many groomsmen and bridesmaids) and also the special touch of having the fathers make a toast.  Take a look at the fancy table in the civil ceremony where they sign all of the government paperwork, and the beautiful quaint Abbey where they had the religious ceremony.

Ilze’s and Daniel’s Multicultural Wedding
     I am so glad Olga submitted this post for the carnival because, not only does she share a bit about her own wedding, she also shares about being a guest of Ilze and Daniel’s wedding (German-Latvian wedding below) and the fateful story of how they met!  Read her post to see the little twist on how her wedding and Ilze and Daniel’s wedding are related.     

Our French-Portuguese-English wedding
     Here is another post of three cultures combined to celebrate the love and marriage of the special couple.  Annabelle of The Piri-piri Lexicon explains the hard work and attention to detail it takes to celebrate the cultures of where she and her husband were from, the one in which they met, and the ones from which their guests came.  From writing invitations in three languages to pulling off a spectacular menu, you can see how bringing different worlds together can be hard work but also can also make for a most special, unforgettable wedding day.

Our Multicultural Wedding: 5 Ways We Honored Our Cultures

Our Wedding Anniversary
     I love this post from Amanda.  She is not afraid to mention the struggle of making a multicultural marriage, and life as an expat work.  When you read about her hard work of making different cultures and different mother-tongues come together in harmony, be sure you also check out her collaborative book Dutched-Up (left side bar) as it has a lovely chapter on multicultural marriage.

Throwing a German-Latvian Wedding
     This is the wedding mentioned Olga above.  I loved reading the story of Ilze and Daniel’s wedding because many of the traditions reminded me of the ones I had heard from my Moldovan friends, and it was fun to see pictures and hear accounts of it all.  My favorite part of this wedding was the sweet tradition they did at Midnight when they officially are declared husband and wife.  She also tells a funny story of the meaning of cutting the cake and whose hand is on top. 

Wedding Traditions in France & Around the World (Link-Up)
     Another French wedding!  I love the photos Maria from Trilingual Mama shares from this wedding her family attended in France.  She really gives a romantic look at the way the French do weddings.  This post is also a Link-Up, so you can find other posts about weddings around the world that are not mentioned here.  Enjoy!

What? I’m not calling them “maids”! 
     I love this honest post from Esther.  She shares how working through the tension that can come when trying to balance two cultures in one wedding can be so worth it.  Some of my favorite parts about her special day are that she and her husband-to-be shared the story of how they met in their two languages, that they had interpreters for their vows, and that they made a multilingual booklet made for out-of-town guests describing fun day trips and things to do in the area.  Oh and don’t miss the “sweet” way they had their rings brought to them in the ceremony!   

Thoughts on Multicultural Relationships…
Reading all of the posts above, I learned how the extra care and work it takes to make a multicultural wedding a success is also true of the extra effort it takes to make a multicultural marriage a success.  Each of these posts below ponder the importance of heritage, identity, commitment, humility, creativity, communication, vulnerability, humor, kindness, and openness in making multicultural weddings and marriages work.  Every relationship is made up of two different people from different backgrounds, so even if you do not consider your marriage multicultural, we can all learn from the wise words and experience of these bloggers about what it takes to make relationships thrive.

And Not Because He’s German: My Take on Intercultural Relationships
Tacos and Cake: A Multicultural Heritage
21 Ideas for a Multicultural Wedding
Creating a Happy Multicultural Marriage
The beginnings of a multicultural marriage
“Ya está.” – Miscommunication as Romantic (A Valentine’s DayPost)