Creating an Intentional, Bilingual, Bicultural Wedding

This month’s piece is a personal one, a little glimpse into some of my values and lifestyle. It is my hope that reading about my experience will invite you into a place of reflection about your own values. Whether or not you have planned a wedding or hope to have one, the intentions and ideas I share can be applied to any family situation.

We Said yes! Now, What?!

Do you remember when I wrote about Valentine’s Day and how much I LOVE it?! Because Valentine’s Day is so special to me, without much planning, but with so much excitement, I decided to ask my partner, Adrian, to marry me. We were sitting on our couch after a delicious tapas dinner, and with a little heart-shaped box, a slip of paper that said “Our Forever…,” and 4 words, I asked him. He said yes!

Because a proposal felt important to both of us, we decided to wait to announce our engagement until Adrian asked me too.

Just about two months later, on our fifth anniversary of dating, after eating at the same tapas restaurant we had on Valentine’s day, Adrian gifted me his annual mini canvas creation that signifies each of our years together. After a few minutes of looking at the collection of five canvases, I flipped it over. There was a question mark, and before I knew it, Adrian was on his knee, with a ring, asking me to marry him. I said yes!

We’ve been in a dedicated partnership for sometime; yet, setting the intention to get married has brought us to new, deeper conversations about how we want to create a life together long-term. These conversations, consequently, have brought up some of the crucial elements we are considering as plan our wedding. Because we view the wedding as a representation of our unique union, the details have begun to matter quite a lot.

What Matters Most?

As Adrian and I started the interesting, challenging, special, and mind-blowing experience of planning the biggest fiesta of our lives, we’ve tapped into what matters most. Through the help of A Practical Wedding, we generated a list of 3 words that will guide all of the decisions we make about this party: meaningful, fun, and affordable. Each decision we make, about the location, the food, the DJ, the clothing, and so on must align with this vision.

Fun and affordable are pretty straightforward, so I’m excited to share what meaningful means to us.

We are a bicultural couple. I’m white, and Adrian is Mexican-American. I speak primarily English, and my Spanish is always improving. Adrian is bilingual in English and Spanish. We have so much love for one another, and for both of us, family– immediate and extended– is important. Over the last five years, we have become integral parts of one another’s families.

Meaningful, then, means making our special ceremony and awesome dance party bilingual, so that each guest knows that they an important part of our journey and union. Our ceremony will flow between English and Spanish, making our intentions accessible to all of our guests.

Creating a Bi-Cultural Wedding

As we create the vision of our wedding, we consider how each component can draw from the traditions of our two families and cultures. These are some of the ways we plan to bring all of our loved ones and communities together to celebrate:

  • Post-wedding menudo party
  • Inviting family members to lead parts of the ceremony
  • Playing music in English and Spanish
  • Serving Tex-Mex and Mexican food
  • Having a friend bless us (our families are both Catholic)
  • Hosting a “dollar dance

How does one go about creating the perfectly planned intentional, bilingual, bicultural wedding

More about the Meaning

As we consider what our wedding, and more importantly, our marriage, means to us, we are rediscovering and naming our shared values. As we work through this process, we are considering how our upcoming union and incredible party will reflect our beliefs and priorities. This is all a part of creating a meaningful day.

One element that we will weave in, for example, our values of equality and partnership. As feminists, we assess which pieces of the traditions feel supportive of our union. Our joint proposal is one way that we upheld the importance of equality. As partners, we focus on building one another up and offering unconditional support. As we plan this exciting celebration, we will incorporate language and symbols that honor our connected partnership.

Together, our vision is to build community through our wedding day and beyond. We want to create a day that focuses on family and community, again, drawing on the value of equality. We want ALL of our parents and siblings to hold special roles in the day, as well as our closest family and friends. Furthermore, we are prepared to receive love, support, ideas, and help from our dear ones. Here’s to peaceful planning for a meaningful wedding, and a lifetime of love, community, and fun!

Beyond Planning a Wedding

Of course, the wedding is one special day that Adrian and I will bring our families together to celebrate love and community. Beyond this day, though, I’d like to continue using the guide of three key descriptors to anchor us through all of the seasons of life. For example, perhaps we will play with picking three words to describe the type of summer we want to have or three words to describe the home environment we want to create.

I invite you to explore this intention-setting activity with your family, too. The options are endless, from describing bedtime routines with three words to identifying three key feelings for family vacations to three qualities for next school year. Let me know what you come up with!

As a Life Coach for Teens and Parents, Courtney supports tweens, teens, and young adults in finding their voice, growing confidence, and thriving. Through 1:1 and small group coaching sessions, teens and tweens are able to overcome anxiety, disconnect, and isolation as they explore their truest sense of self and develop a deep sense of empowerment. Courtney supports parents in practicing self-care, growing alongside their children, and developing balanced sensitivity towards the process their rapidly-changing child is creating. Through Intentional Parents of Tweens and Teens, an online membership for parents of adolescents, Courtney offers parents the time and space to learn, grow, problem-solve, and relate to one another in a supportive community. Sessions with Courtney lovingly guide families in developing the trust, communication, and connection that’s crucial for a life of ease.

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