Seven steps to planning the perfect Indigenous cultural wedding
December 08, 2020
Congratulations on your engagement! As you and your partner begin this new journey together, you may both be wondering, “How should I plan a perfect cultural wedding?” Here are the seven steps you can take to make sure that you have a perfect wedding with Indigenous cultural aspects and traditions.
1. Determine your budget
If money were no object, wedding planning would be much simpler. For most people, it is essential to determine what you can realistically afford to spend without going into severe debt. Sit down and figure out how much money is available – some couples may even include the honeymoon budget in here as well. Set up different categories and allocate where you will spend your budget:
- Travel & accommodation costs
- Venue rental
- Food & beverages
- Photographer & videographer
- Musicians or DJ
- Flowers and decorations
- Wedding attire
Creating a budget will help you with all the choices you will need to take down the road as you plan your perfect day.
2. List your priorities
You are not going to be able to have everything your heart desires at your wedding. Use the categories in your budget and determine which is the most important for you and your new family. When bringing Indigenous culture into your wedding, the venue you choose should be one of your highest priorities. Look for cultural centres like the recently completed Cultural Gathering Centre at Métis Crossing in Alberta that offers its guests a full exploration of Indigenous cultural experiences that can be incorporated into your wedding day.
3. Find a cultural venue
Go to local Indigenous associations and research what cultural venues or centres are available. If you want an outdoor wedding, ask if they have backup plans if the weather is unfavourable. Métis Crossing is a fantastic location that offers large spaces, both indoors and outdoors with fantastic views and cultural elements, activities, and cuisine for weddings of various sizes. Ensure you consider its location, transport, local accommodation, and the number of guests it can hold. Once you find one, book it quickly so you can secure your date.
4. Identify what cultural elements to include
There are different ways to bring Indigenous elements to your wedding. First, you should take the time to pause and reflect on the land’s relationship with the First Peoples in Canada. Start the celebration with a land acknowledgement to show reconciliation, respect, and goodwill. Involve an Elder who can guide you with wording and pronunciation.
Work with your venue to bring in an Indigenous menu for you and your guests. Look for food that includes local ingredients and ties to Indigenous culture and heritage. Include traditional arts and crafts into your invitations, decorations, and wedding activities.
5. Hire your photographer and other artists
Any event as important as a wedding deserves to be captured forever in photographs that you can share with your friends and family. When planning your music, ask the venue if they have contacts with any Indigenous musicians to hire to perform at your wedding to add a new cultural element.
6. Invite your guests
Sending out invitations to your guests can be exciting and is your chance to give the first impression of your cultural wedding. Ask the venue you are using if they would be willing to help you design invitations that bring out the wedding’s Indigenous culture thoughtfully and respectfully. They may know of local artists who can help you design your invitations. Don’t forget to check for any spelling errors or incorrect dates and times!
7. The final check
As you go about planning your wedding, it is a good idea to list out all the people you are hiring and the primarycontact for the venues you are using. These people include photographers, musicians, essential guests such as bridesmaids, officials taking part in the ceremony, and managers of your venues. As the wedding day approaches, go through your list of people and call them and confirm that everything is on track and ready to go for that big day.
On the day of your wedding, you will see all your work come to fruition. You and your spouse will look fantastic, so take a deep breath, relax and have a perfect day.
Métis Crossing is the first major Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta and is the premier centre for Alberta Métis cultural interpretation, education, gatherings, and business development. Sitting on 512 acres of land, including river lot titles from the original Métis settlers to the region in the late 1800s, the crossing is designed to engage and excite visitors through an exploration of Métis cultural experiences. The new Cultural Gathering Centre designed by Métis Architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge was recently completed in 2020.
As part of your wedding planning, come and spend a day at Métis crossing to learn about our culture and how we can help bring it to your special day. Métis Crossing strives to represent and share elements of Métis culture, pride of culture and respect (with self-identification), family reconnection and reconciliation, sacredness of place, empathy, and acknowledgement. Contact us to speak with a representative about your future wedding or event plans.