Cultural Appropriation and Diversity in Weddings

Diversity is most definitely a hot topic right now, we have our socio-political climate to thank for that. Rock n Roll Bride has always been about accepting everyone that feels marginalised – regardless of whether that’s because you identify as LGBTQ, you’re from a minority group, you’re plus sized, disabled or just a little bit goth! Basically, if you don’t see yourself being represented by the mainstream wedding media, at Rock n Roll Bride we want to say pull up a chair and join us.

But we don’t always get it right. There was a VERY heated discussion on cultural appropriation in regards to weddings in our private Facebook group recently. The reason I think it can cause such uproar is because often these things fall on a sliding scale – what offends one person may not offend another and the cultural history of something in America, for example, might not have the same significance to people that grew up in the UK.

For me personally it is a very difficult thing to discuss publicly. I will be 100% transparent with you here and admit that it actually makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don’t want to get it wrong and I don’t want to cause even more offence. However, I do think it’s something that needs to be addressed, least of all so we can all become better educated about it in a non-judgemental space. I don’t know all the answers, no-one does, but I hope that by opening up this discussion we can learn something and become a more actively inclusive group.

After a recent (very lengthy!) discussion with my friend Nova of Nu Bride, I’ve invited her to write this article. Nova is a diversity advocate and does incredible work on raising awareness around race and culture. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this stuff and I’m honoured to publish this piece for her.

Over to you Nova!

I often get asked how to fuse cultures together without them looking like, ‘mish-mash’. How to respectfully celebrate cultures that might not be your own without appropriating.

Nu Bride is all about celebrating difference and encouraging you to have a wedding that acknowledges your western side and is also representative of who you both are in a way that at times honours more than one culture, something more and more couples are keen to do. So, with a growing online cancelling culture, how do you do that without culturally appropriating?

What exactly is cultural appropriation?

In black and white (no pun-intended): Cultural appropriation is ‘the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.’

The key component to cultural appropriation is remembering that it can only occur when a dominant group of people (for example, white people) take on the culture of a minority group of people (for example Native American Indians) who have historically been marginalised / oppressed in some way and who still face discrimination pertaining to their culture. It could be anything from clothing, food, sacred religious artefacts or hairstyles like braids or dreadlocks, for example. It is generally considered offensive when it is done in a way that stereotypes, exploits for commercial gain, or is taken without consent.

Here some examples to bite your teeth into:

Beyoncé Slammed For Cultural Appropriation After Performing At Indian Wedding

Gucci Criticised For Cultural Appropriation On A Global Scale

The jury is out for if this wedding example is appropriation or not, I will let you decide after you have digested this article in full.

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Picnics, Punting & A Potting Shed Reception: A Glam Meets Relaxed Un-Wedding

With their careers in hospitality and production for the entertainment industry, Gemma and Howard know a thing or two about organising events. “Though to be honest it’s best not to think about it too much and just get on with it,” said Gemma, “otherwise you’ll end up curbing all your ideas and never realising your plans!”

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Moorland Themed Cornish Wedding Fit for Rock n Roll Royalty!

Melissa and Nathan’s Rock n Roll love story starts seven years ago with a post-gig high-five gone wrong. Nathan was in a band at the time and Melissa was front row for the after show celebration, but ended up with a little more than she bargained for and getting accidentally smacked in the face! Undeterred by this initial hiccup, their relationship blossomed over the next 18 months and culminated in Melissa meeting Nathan off the plane from his stint on an American tour. They’ve been together ever since!

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A Free Wedding Event at the Town Hall Hotel, London

Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel is a real hidden gem. From the original art deco interiors, the dramatic marble staircases, original wooden panelled rooms and their very own ceremony chambers, its the perfect spot for the wedding of East London-loving urban dwellers. The entire place has been sympathetically restored in its original art deco finery so stepping through those grand front doors really is a little bit like stepping back in time.

On Sunday 10th March they are hosting a wedding open day where you can go along, chat to their team, have a guided tour and meet some of their recommended suppliers. They include  Grace & Thorn, Indecco (florists), Holly Clarke Cake Design, the Wedding Smashers (DJs), Photo Bot (photo booth), A Piece of the Party (videographer) Nicole Reynolds (pianist) and Blow Ltd (hair & make up).

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Sack The Cheesy Wedding DJ & Hire Disco Wed Instead!

It’s no massive surprise that the right music and entertainment at a wedding is CRUCIAL to have a party that goes off with a bang. However if you’re not the kind of people that go to a lot of gigs and you don’t happen to have a DJ BFF, it can be difficult to know how to find people to perform at your wedding. We had a terrible band at our wedding over a decade ago because we simply didn’t give the choosing of them enough time and attention (I actually think my parents went to a wedding where they played and said they were ‘alright’ so we we’re like “Sure, lets just book them and get it ticked off our list”. Big mistake, huge!)

However one party where the music absolutely did not suck was my book launch last month. We had my friend Paddy of Disco Wed play and he’s SO GREAT that I wanted to share him with you so bad wedding entertainment doesn’t have to happen to you too!

Paddy is only genuinely one of the nicest people I’ve met in this industry and he is super passionate about music so he’s just the kind of guy you’ll want to leave this important part of the to. Never intending to become a ‘wedding DJ’, he started his career playing festivals and nightclubs, bringing his trusty Disco Shed along for the party (and yes, it’s a real shed that he plays out of!) It was only a matter of time until someone asked him if he did weddings and so, Disco WED was born.

“My aim has always been to provide the perfect service for cool couples wanting something more credible and contemporary than the typically naff wedding DJ”, Paddy says. “We concentrate on:

– Playing great, accessible, non-cheesy or cliched wedding party music
– Mixing seamlessly as you would hear in a club and no cheesy mic chat
– Using great-looking and sounding kit, and no tacky looking set-ups
– Providing a friendly, relaxed, and straightforward service from beginning to end

We love working with couples on their music choices, and are happy to have as much or as little input as they want on their playlist. The aim is to help them know they can relax in the knowledge they’re in safe hands, and can trust us to give them a brilliant party to end the biggest day of their lives.

All our DJs are friends, so completely understand the level of service expected of them when playing for Disco Wed. Everyone has a background in the music business – in bands, running record labels, or as DJs and promoters – so we’re ‘proper’ DJs first and foremost, not just doing it as a hobby for some extra cash.”

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