How to incorporate culture and heritage into your wedding

Your wedding is likely to be the most complex and important party you will ever put together. From the venue to the food, you would like to make your wedding the most perfect and memorable event you can. By incorporating culture and heritage into your wedding you can make it all the more memorable.

Here we will take a deep dive into how to incorporate culture and heritage into your wedding, specifically the Indigenous culture here in Alberta, Canada. We will examine authentic ways to bring Indigenous culture to the wedding, how to go about planning it, and why the Métis culture can make your wedding day perfect and one you shall never forget. So let’s get started and see how to create a perfect cultural wedding.

An authentic way to bring Indigenous culture to your Alberta wedding

Indigenous culture has a large role in the history of this land and Canada. When incorporating another culture and heritage into your wedding it is important to do it in an authentic and respectful way. Here are four ways how you can bring Indigenous culture to your wedding here in Alberta, Canada:

1. Host your wedding at an Indigenous venue

To truly bring authenticity to your wedding as well as supporting the local Indigenous community, consider hosting your wedding at an Indigenous venue. Many cultural centres are in Indigenous land and run by Indigenous people who are eager to bring their unique history, traditions, art, and culture to your wedding.

2. Have Indigenous cuisine in the menu

Food is a very important part of a wedding ceremony, and it can also communicate much about a culture’s traditions and history. Consider having a fully Indigenous meal or a fusion of cuisine at your wedding. Look for a venue that also offers catering, or can refer you to a chef that specializes in Indigenous cuisine.

3. Give a land acknowledge to start off the wedding 

Take the time during your ceremony to pause and reflect on the land’s relationship with the First Peoples in Canada which include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. This is a gesture of reconciliation, respect, and goodwill.

4. Traditional Indigenous activities

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada has shown that people have been increasingly seeking out Indigenous experiences to learn more about the cultures and traditions of the Indigenous people in Canada. Consider hiring a local storyteller to share their stories, or incorporate traditional arts and crafts into your wedding invitations or gifts.

Make use of the resources provided by various Indigenous cultural centres to help make your wedding dream come true. It can pay to visit them ahead of time if they have daily tours to get an idea of what they can offer. Involve them in your plans when organizing your cultural wedding.

Seven steps to planning the perfect Indigenous cultural wedding

Once you have decided on bringing in indigenous culture to your wedding its time to start planning. This can certainly be a daunting task, and how can you make sure you have a perfect wedding filled with Indigenous culture? Here we look at seven steps for making sure you can plan the perfect Indigenous cultural wedding:

wedding day

1. Determine your budget

Critical to any wedding plan is how much money you can realistically afford to spend. Ensure that you take the time to create a budget and allocate money into the various categories that will be required. Here are some of the major expenses involved in a wedding:

    • Venue rental
    • Catering
    • Photography
    • Wedding gowns and other attire

It is important to allocate money into categories you find important so you do not overspend. This leads us to the next step in planning your wedding, which is to identify what is important to you and your family.

2. List your priorities

Unfortunately, being under a budget will mean you cannot have everything. List out what parts of your wedding are most important to you and how much you are willing to spend for it. If you are looking for a truly authentic experience the venue will likely be the most important item in your wedding plan.

Finding an Indigenous venue that also offers services such as catering can greatly simplify the work leading up to your wedding. Here in Alberta, venues such as the Cultural Gathering Centre at Métis Crossing can offer an Indigenous venue, catering, and experience all in one, greatly simplifying planning and coordination between various parties.

3. Find a cultural venue

In order to incorporate Indigenous culture and heritage into your wedding, nothing could be more important than the venue that you choose. When researching venues, look for and ask about the following:

  • Capacity
  • Availability
  • Privacy
  • Indoor / Outdoor spaces
  • Services (catering, audio/visual)
  • Parking & Accommodation

Inquire if the venue has people that can work with you to help add their Indigenous culture and heritage into your wedding, particularly if you or your partner are not Indigenous. You want a location that can help you to make sure the cultural elements you include are both authentic and respectful.

4. Identify what cultural elements to include

There are many elements to every culture. When incorporating cultural elements into your wedding it is important to keep them authentic and respectful. Work with the people in your venue of choice to identify what elements you want to be included in your wedding. They will be able to guide you through traditional foods, art, decor, and activities.

Also, consider taking the time to pause and reflect on the land’s relationship with the First Peoples in Canada. Include a land acknowledgement to show reconciliation, respect, and goodwill. Involve an Elder who can guide you with wording and pronunciation.

5. Hire your photographer and other artists

One thing that you will take with you from your wedding will be photos. These can form a critical part of the memories and stories you will have of your wedding for your friends and family. Photographers, as well as other artists such as musicians, can be booked months in advance, so make sure you book them as soon as you have a date set and not leave it to the last minute.

6. Invite your guests

No wedding would be complete without your friends and family present as you give your vows. Use the wedding invitation to tell your guests what the theme of the wedding will be through artwork and design that highlights the culture and heritage you are incorporating into your wedding.

7. The final check

All is set, planned, and purchased. You have everything laid out and now you will need to do a final check to make sure everything will go smoothly. Contact your venues, caterers, artists and confirm that everything is ready so that on your wedding day all you will need to do is breath, relax, and have a perfect day you can remember forever.

Why the Métis culture is perfect for your big day

The Métis can bring a unique history, culture, and heritage to your wedding day. Here in Alberta, the new Cultural Gathering Centre located at Métis crossing offers a fantastic venue for such an event. Its indoor and outdoor spaces will provide a strong cultural and spiritual environment with ties to the land, and its people will bring the benefits of Métis culture to you day. Here we shall take a brief look at the history of the Métis and explore its culture and what it can bring to your wedding day.

Métis history

The Métis are descendants of the original inhabitants of Canada and have grown into a new and distinct Indigenous people. Along with First Nations and Inuit, the Métis are one of three distinct Indigenous Peoples of Canada recognized by the 1982 Constitution Act with a population of over 450,000 in Canada

Well before Alberta was a province, many Métis communities were well established in many areas of Western Canada. The Métis started to organize themselves politically starting in 1928. Alberta has the largest Métis population in the country with over 114,000 Métis People living in the province.

The Métis have a rich culture and heritage

There is much that Métis culture can bring to your wedding. From signature experiences to traditional workshops, to cuisine each can be incorporated into your wedding day.

Guests can be involved in guided, cultural, interpretive experiences that share the distinct Indigenous story of the Métis people. Many of our experiences are seasonal, so whether you want your wedding in the warmth of summer, or during the beautiful winters of Alberta, Métis Crossing has much to offer.

Our traditional workshops include arts and crafts like beading or finger weaving as well as the traditional Métis Capote - a beautiful coat made from a wool blanket that is a staple of Métis winter survival.

The approach to Métis cuisine has been a fusion from both European and First Nations traditions. As traditional hunters, buffalo has been the primary food source in addition to moose, elk, prairie bush rabbits, and wild birds. Along with wild berries, wild plants, and the traditional bannock, our chef and his Indigenous culinary team will create unforgettable meals for your wedding day.

Métis Crossing & its Cultural Gathering Certre

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 utilizing traditional craftsmanship and modern materials. Combining the functionality of a contemporary building and the architecture characteristic of the river lot homes of the fur trade era, it is a year-round destination focused on Métis story and culture. 

The current facilities at Métis Crossing make it an ideal venue for all types of private events looking to showcase Métis culture and heritage. We are continually growing, with future plans in place for Métis Crossing to include a lodge, traditional gardens, and various demonstrations to allow visitors to explore and experience Métis culture.

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.

Why the Métis culture is perfect for your big day

Your wedding is going to be one of the most memorable and important events in your life. Incorporating Indigenous culture into your big day can bring it to a new level of spirituality and connection to the land. Here we look into how the Métis culture here in Alberta, is a perfect choice for making your wedding an event you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Métis history

First, it can be useful to learn about the history of the Métis. Descendants of the original inhabitants of Canada, the Métis have grown into a distinct Indigenous people. Along with First Nations and Inuit, the Métis are one of three distinct Indigenous Peoples of Canada recognized by the 1982 Constitution Act. The Métis have a current population of over 450,000 with many living in the province of Alberta.

In the mid-1600s, mixed-blood offspring of European fur traders and First Nations people were born and began to form a new Aboriginal identity, know as “Métis”. The Métis developed into a distinct culture that drew from European and First Nation influences. Their diverse traditions and command of both European and First Nation languages made the Métis the best intermediaries between European and First Nation cultures.

The Métis have been living in Alberta well before Alberta joined confederation. In 1928, the Métis began organizing themselves politically. Today, Alberta’s Métis have grown to over 114,000 people and continue to maintain their relationship with the land and reliance on traditional harvesting practices.

The Métis have a rich culture and heritage 

The opportunity to bring Métis culture into your wedding starts well before the big day. Your wedding invitation will be the first impression your guests will have, and is when they will learn about your wedding’s theme. Ask the venue you are using if they can refer you to local Indigenous artists to work with you to design invitations that highlight the Métis culture, both thoughtfully and respectfully.

For the wedding day, the Métis have a rich culture filled with experiences and stories that can make your wedding day perfect. Introduce traditional activities such as beading and finger weaving into your wedding theme, or include a Métis Jig in your first dance. The Métis have a rich history filled with music, art, and story that we are excited to share and bring to your wedding day.

Another area where the Métis culture can make your wedding truly memorable is food. Métis cuisine comes from a fusion of European and First Nations, local and international, past and present. Traditionally, the Métis were hunters, eating buffalo, moose, elk, prairie chicken, duck, and geese. Fish, wild berries, and wild plants were also important sources of food. Have your wedding catered by a Métis chef who can create authentic, mouth-watering dishes for you and your guests to enjoy.

About Métis Crossing 

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.

Métis Crossing’s Cultural Gathering Centre 

Our new Cultural Gathering Centre is a fantastic venue that is perfect for your big day. It was completed in 2020, designed by Métis Architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge and built in honour of the Métis people. Using traditional craftsmanship and modern materials, the Cultural Gathering Centre is a stunning building that brings out the architecture of the fur trade era river lot homes while having the functionality of a contemporary building. It has been built to engage and excite our visitors through an exploration of Métis cultural experiences.

The future of Métis Crossing 

Métis Crossing was created to be a year-round destination that is centred around the Métis story and culture and sharing it with the world. Future plans include:

  • The Métis Crossing Lodge
  • Star Watching Glass Pods
  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Traditional Gardens

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.

Seven steps to planning the perfect Indigenous cultural wedding

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
  • Honeymoon

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.

wedding day

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.

An authentic way to bring Indigenous culture to your Alberta wedding

Congratulations! Marriage is sure to be one of the most exciting and paramount adventures you will have in your life. Marriage is a merging of two families, a fusion of cuisine, traditions, culture, and stories. The wedding is an essential part of bringing two families together in celebration and bringing Indigenous culture to your wedding will make for great memories and an extraordinary event. Here are four ways that you to introduce Métis Indigenous culture to your wedding here in Alberta.

1. Find an Indigenous venue for your big day

Location, location, location. While you have no doubt heard this in real estate, the venue will set the stage for your wedding. Many Indigenous communities have cultural centres well suited for large functions such as weddings. These venues can take you to the heart of local Indigenous culture. Venues such as the Cultural Gathering Centre located at Métis Crossing in Smoky Lake, Alberta can be excellent options. The Cultural Gathering Centre is the first of its kind in the province and can bring the unique traditions, art, and culture of the Métis to your wedding.

wedding

2. Bring Indigenous culture to the table with your menu 

Food can communicate much about a culture’s traditions and history. Traditionally, the Métis were hunters, with their lifestyle revolving around the Plains buffalo. When not hunting for buffalo, other animals including moose, elk, rabbits, duck, and geese were hunted for food. Many of the favourite Métis dishes come from a fusion of past and present, European and First Nations, and local and international. Venues such as Métis Crossing offers menus that include locally harvested ingredients with traditional ties to the Métis people and their heritage.

3. Give a land acknowledgement to start the wedding 

During your ceremony, take the time to pause and reflect on the land’s relationship with the First Peoples in Canada. There are three recognized First Peoples in Canada: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. A land acknowledgement to start your wedding ceremony is a gesture of reconciliation, respect, and goodwill, as well as allowing you to thank them for their hospitality. For brides and grooms without Indigenous ancestry, you may wish to speak with an Elder who can help you with wording and pronunciation. In some cases, the Elder may want to attend the ceremony themselves.

4. Incorporate traditional Indigenous activities 

The Indigenous experiences that cultural centres have been offering are gaining in popularity according to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. It provides people an opportunity to learn about the cultures and traditions of Indigenous people. Look into adding interactive, hands-on experiences to your wedding, from traditional arts and crafts to roasting a bannock over a fire, to listening to stories from a local storyteller.

Make your wedding an event that everyone will remember by bringing in Indigenous culture through food, stories, activities, and location. Many cultural centres provide catering and traditional activities so make sure you or your wedding planner coordinate with them to make your wedding that 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 by exploring Métis cultural experiences. The new Cultural Gathering Centre designed by Métis Architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge was recently completed in 2020.

wedding

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.