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  • Writer's pictureSpiced Cranachan

The Unorthodox Beauty of Fusion Weddings

A wedding has brought me to Spain this week. I write from the lush hills of Cantabria; Vispieres to be exact, nestled between the tourist town of Santillana Del Mar and the larger Torrelavega.

The English language is spoken little here, but I feel at home surrounded by mountains, greenery and plenty of country roads.

Yesterday my friend married his sweetheart and joined not only two families, but two cultures. I'm no stranger to the fusion wedding, but as I sat in the pews of the Colegiata de Santa Juliana and watched both families embrace each other, I felt a sudden rush of sentimentality that I hadn't felt before.

The high stone arches of the Colegiata de Santa Juliana

The ceremony was conducted in both English and Spanish, and the priest welcomed members of all faiths and backgrounds to share in the occasion - a small moment of inclusion, but a meaningful one.

It was a traditional Catholic wedding, but all around I saw a variety of people sharing in the celebration in all manners of outfits, with many travelling from as far as South Africa and the United States.

I was moved by the ease of it all, the unspoken but clear acceptance and love expressed by both families.

The newly joined family cheers as the bride and groom enter the reception

Three speeches launched the reception; one in English, one in Spanish and one in Kurdish. The music that followed took the guests on a tour of the world, with traditional Turkish music, reggaeton, Spanish pop and western hits keeping the dancers glued to the dance floor. A circle quickly formed and we began to dance in a traditional Kurdish style, the bride's family eagerly showing the rest of us the steps.

The festivities continued until the small hours, and I found myself reflecting on the night on the bus home, a little tipsy from the wine and merry from the music.

The dancing goes on until the small hours, the energy never fading once

This wasn't my first fusion wedding and certainly won't be my last, but this was the first wedding I've attended which was so far from my own culture and traditions. It made me ache for home in a strange way - I suddenly missed my own significant other, my own family and my own traditions.

I thought back to my sisters' fusion weddings and felt not just nostalgia, but longing for my future experiences.

My sister and brother in law, uniting two families and two cultures

I watched the look of sheer glee on the bride and groom's faces, not just for their love of each other, but at each joke made in their native languages and every token of celebration from their traditions.

The familiarity of one's heritage, and the joy of sharing this with friends and your new family, must be a beautiful thing to experience.

I had seen this in both my sisters on their wedding days. Our joined families revelled in the Punjabi and western music alike, and found laughter and joy in enjoying each other's traditional dances.

Bagpipes and dholki welcome the guests together

We had been welcomed by both bagpipes and dholki drums. Mendhi decorated the hands of the bride and the groom was outfitted in a tartan kilt and feileadh mor.

Haldi, jaggo and mayian ceremonies preceeding the wedding day, bringing together both families and preparing the couple for marriage. The vows and rings we exchanged, followed by a celtic hand-fasting and quaich ceremony.

Golden embellishing on the bride's lehenga

I'll be honest; I'm finding it difficult to explain my feelings accurately. I wasn't just happy or sentimental yesterday - it isn't as simple as that.

I saw the love in the groom's eyes as he watched the bride walk down the aisle towards him. I watched her father adjust her train and help her kneel before the priest. The best man held back tears as he spoke about his friendship with the groom, and bride covered her face in embarrassed laughter at her sisters' speech.

All of this was immensely moving. But there have been an additional few beautiful moments in fusion weddings that have made me feel almost tearful with joy.

The knot from the Celtic hand-fasting made from the tartan of the groom, the lacing of the bride's dress and the colours of the Sikh flag

Watching my father and my sister's father in law both drink from the same quaich and toast the new family.

Being taught the Kurdish dance moves and holding hands with complete strangers in a circle that took up the entire dance floor.

Doing the Rail Gadhi (Indian conga) through the reception hall, outside and back, teaching the words of the song to the groom's family.

Laughing at the jokes of the priest in Santillana Del Mar as he jumped between English and Spanish so that everyone could take part in the ceremony.

A bride in a traditional Indian lehenga holds a bouquet of Scottish wildflowers

Two completely separate families from different backgrounds and with completely different traditions, coming together and finding wholehearted joy in sharing their cultures.

It is truly a beautiful thing.

The bride and groom hold hands

1 Comment

Oct 20, 2023

This is really beautiful!

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