When my husband and I were planning our wedding, one of the things we were passionate about was making sure that we incorporated our Donauschwaben and his Swiss heritage into our big day. Our culture is such a big part of our everyday lives, how could we not include it on our wedding day? From the little details to the major components, there are essentially 6 ways to bring your heritage into your wedding and I’ll use our wedding as an example. These ideas can also be applied to pretty much any culture! 

group of women in dirndls with semi sweetheart neckline and men in suits, with a woman in the middle wearing a bridal dirndl

#1 Food & Drink

The menu is a great way to bring your culture into your wedding day. From the appetizers and the meal, to the drinks and dessert, there are many opportunities here for customization. At our wedding we opted to have some German and Swiss inspired appetizers such as locally made German sausages and Schnipo (Swiss for Schnitzel und Pomme Frites).  

We also had a “Schnapps Prost” instead of the classic Champagne Toast and we were able to bring our own booze for the bar, so we choose Stiegl and 312… my husband’s favorite Austrian beer and a local Chicago favorite.  

Lastly for dessert, instead of a cake, our friends & family baked classic German cookies. We offered little take home containers for the cookies and they were a huge hit. Everyone loved the little traditional touches.

#2 Clothing

Whether it’s the bride and groom, wedding party, or the guests… wearing traditional dress is a fun and very unique way to incorporate your heritage into the wedding. For our wedding, I designed dirndls for all my bridesmaids and the flower girl. They were very elegant silver and black with black blouses that had a semi sweetheart neckline. All the bridesmaids were excited about wearing a wedding dirndl and they all said, “I cannot wait to wear it again!”

bridesmaid dirndl with a semi sweetheart neckline being styled by a woman
group of people posing in dirndls with a semi sweetheart neckline and the woman in the middle wearing a bridal dirndl

We also invited our guests to wear trachten if they’d like. Many people wore their dirndls and trachten suits to the wedding and it was really nice to see everyone get in the spirit.   

My wedding dress also transformed into a bridal dirndl of sorts for the reception. After dinner and the dance with my dad, I took my tulle skirt off to reveal a shorter skirt underneath and then I added a beaded lace apron to give it a bridal dirndl look. It was so comfortable to dance in and I loved the look at the end of the evening. Wedding dirndls are a great way to incorporate the culture into your wedding day, especially if you want to wear something traditional for the ceremony and then spice it up for the reception, I highly recommend! 

wedding dirndl

#3 Music & Dance

DJ or Band? Either way you go, bringing some traditional and cultural music into the mix is a super fun way to bring your heritage into your wedding day. We went with a DJ for our wedding, but we made sure he had a nice variety of classic German polkas and waltzes to mix in amongst the modern music. Everyone loved the mix of songs and it was easy to keep people on the dance floor with a good ol’ polka. It was so much fun to see so many dirndls out on the dance floor

woman dancing in a wedding dirndl

Both my husband and I danced waltzes with our parents, him with his mom and me with my dad. Both of them loved the songs and the guests also enjoyed watching us dance.  

woman slow dancing in a bridal dirndl

#4 Décor

If your venue will let you bring some décor items to decorate the space, this is a really unique way to make the day really special. Rosemary played a large part in the décor of our wedding. In traditional Donauschwaben weddings, it was used as bouquets, boutonnieres, décor on men’s hats etc as a symbol of love and remembrance. Since it’s a green herb, my florist and I choose flowers and greens that would compliment it well for the boutonnieres, bouquets and floral table arrangements. I designed a simple logo with our names and a graphic of the rosemary that was on the invitations and other printed items like the menu and programs. And lastly, were the individual rosemary sprigs with ribbon for the guests. Everyone felt more like a part of our day with their little Rosemarein.  

On our welcome table we collected wedding photos from our families and displayed them for our guests to enjoy. It was a wonderful way to display our heritage that has been passed on through our families throughout the year.  

#5 Ceremony

Whether you have your ceremony in a Church or not, there are great ways to bring your culture into the ceremony. We did not get married in a church. This allowed us to customize our vows and other aspects of the ceremony to reflect not only our cultures but also our personalities.  

wedding day with a woman in a bridal dirndl wedding dress

#6 Location

The location of a ceremony or reception can be a fun way to bring your heritage into your big day as well.

While we didn’t have our wedding ceremony or reception at a place that was culturally influenced, it was in our neighborhood and we felt a connection to the venue in that way. However, I have had bridal customers who have had their receptions at their German Club’s hall, the local Hofbrauhaus etc.  

So there you have it. 6 easy ways to incorporate your heritage and love of your culture into your wedding day. Did you have a culturally inspired wedding? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments! All photos by The Modern Lovebird

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6 Ways to Incorporate Your Heritage into Your Wedding Day
December 29, 2023 — Erika Neumayer

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