How to make your bicultural wedding special for both your families

Given that we live in such a multicultural society, it’s unsurprising that many couples are from different backgrounds and cultures. That’s why Honeypot co-founder Katie has put together her top tips for making a bicultural wedding a joy for all.

Shane and I got married in March last year. One of the aspects of our wedding I often get asked about is how we balanced and celebrated our two cultures; while we are both Kiwis, Shane’s family is Chinese Malaysian and mine is Pakeha. So let’s break it down – what are the top four things you need to consider when planning a bicultural wedding?

Managing and communicating expectations

It may sound obvious, but the real key to managing family expectations is communication. Early in our planning, we sat down with Shane’s family to discuss the cultural aspects. Shane, who has lived in NZ almost his entire life, would be the first to admit he was completely clueless about Chinese weddings!

One of our discussions got a little heated as Shane’s mum was certain we should do the tea ceremony (an important part of any Chinese wedding) the same day as our reception. The conversation went round and round, with us saying there just wasn’t time. Eventually we realised that my mother-in-law was assuming there wouldn’t be any other ceremony, since we weren’t getting married in a church. We had always planned to have an outdoor ceremony with a celebrant, but hadn’t communicated this at all!

Be prepared to compromise

I’m sure many couples planning weddings have needed to reach compromises between families, and bicultural weddings are no different. However, we are very lucky to have families who get along well and were happy to mix things up!


Chinese tea ceremony weddingFor us, the best compromise was to have two celebrations – this allowed us to have the western-style wedding we had planned, and then a tea ceremony and Chinese dinner with our families two days later. Thankfully Shane’s family did most of the planning for the Chinese dinner, leaving us time to plan the main event.

Having the two separate events meant everyone felt they were included and had a part to play. Shane’s relatives from Malaysia were invaluable at the tea ceremony, showing us the correct way to serve tea and explaining the meaning to my own family.

Don’t see it as a challenge – there are some serious benefits!

Bicultural weddings have their challenges, but the benefits far outweigh them! I think embracing both cultures helped to bring our families together in a meaningful way. Plus, who can complain about two parties (or getting to wear two dresses, amiright ladies)?!

My advice for multicultural couples

I’m sure there are plenty of other couples in a similar situation to us – maybe you also come from different cultures, or religions, or backgrounds. Whatever the case, my recommendation would be to have an honest discussion with your families about expectations early on in your planning. Like us, you may be surprised how much you or your partner will learn!

Our solution may not work for everyone, but there’s other ways to include both cultures. You could have two celebrants (or ministers, priests etc.), or ask a member from each family to do a reading of their choice. When it comes to choosing food, drink and music, make sure you have a few options to suit both cultures.

Last of all, enjoy yourself! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your partner to conform to other’s expectations – work out the compromise that works best for you and your loved ones so you can all have a great time!

There’s no place like home: Why you don’t need to leave NZ for your honeymoon

New Zealand is a spectacular holiday spot at the top of many international destination lists. Those of us who are lucky enough to live here are proud of that fact, but we tend to forget it when it comes time to plan our own holidays. So when you’re deciding on your honeymoon destination, try thinking a little differently. Your own backyard has an abundance of beautiful places to explore.

Saving money – and stress

Staying in the country for your honeymoon is obviously a lot better for your budget. Without international flights to pay for, you can instead ask your guests to contribute towards luxury accommodation, delicious meals out, and activities galore – meaning that their generous gifts given through your Honeypot Registry can stretch a lot further!

Wedding planning is stressful enough, and planning a honeymoon while you’re in the lead up to the wedding can just add to that (hence why so many take their honeymoon months after the wedding). With a wedding in your home country, there’s no need to worry about foreign currency, travel insurance, and all the other tricky things that can get a bit overwhelming when you’re busy planning a wedding as well. Plus, flying is the single most ecologically costly act of individual consumption, so a New Zealand honeymoon is a great choice if you’re environmentally conscious.


So many spots, so little time

Finding somewhere in New Zealand for a romantic trip isn’t hard. Obviously Queenstown is a favourite spot for both destination weddings and honeymoons – and for good reason! The gorgeous scenery, exciting adventures, and amazing hospitality make it a ridiculously romantic spot for a honeymoon.
For a relaxed honeymoon, try Raglan, a small beachside town just two hours south of Auckland. It was recently named New Zealand’s best looking town by Lonely Planet thanks to the dramatic black coastline that surrounds it. Raglan is a foodie haven with a strong creative community, so there’s no shortage of original art and great locally roasted coffee. The town also provides many opportunities to get outdoors, with a range of stunning walks including the Bridal Veil Falls trail.

For a real culture fix, Napier is a great honeymoon destination choice. The vast majority of the town was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 1930s, and as a result Napier is one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world. If you ever get tired of admiring the architecture, you can move onto the many art galleries, try out rafting on the Mohaka River, and relax at one the many Hawke’s Bay wineries.

If you’re after a truly adventurous honeymoon, a visit to Blue Lake is in order. Located in the Nelson Lakes Region, this destination can only be accessed by a two-day advanced tramp. But if you’re up to the challenge, it will be well worth your efforts. Blue Lake holds the title of the world’s clearest lake, meaning you’ll get to witness breathtaking blue-violet hues and visibility of up to 80 metres – a sight you will certainly never forget!