Weddings: they bring families together, giving the happy couple a chance to integrate the traditions they grew up with as well as create some of their own.
As part of the Herald's focus on superdiversity this week, we asked our online readers and Facebook audience to share their multicultural weddings. Take a look at how wonderful it can be when two people joining in matrimony create a beautiful, unique wedding:
'We aim to meet our parents' 30+ year anniversaries'
"I would call myself a New Zealander but others call me European. My parents are both European from NZ: My father's parents are Irish and my mother's parents are English; my husband is half Tongan from a Tongan father and half Maori from a Maori mother (they wed in 1978 and remain married).
I was never worried about our skin colour, ethnic differences or our cultural differences, because we respected each other enough to learn and accept our differences. We were also very lucky our family loved and supported us too.
My husband is an oldest son and the guest list would have been in the hundreds. Because of the cost, we choose to give very little notice and ran away to the country [Bethells Beach] last September.
We wanted our cultural identity to be present: This included being blessed before the wedding in English, Tongan and Maori. We took extensive photos to share with those who were not able to attend. We also chose to respect my husband's Tongan family who could not make it from Tonga by taking a picture in traditional wedding wear to honour them.
Pita and I have been together for over 9 years and aim to follow both our parents' footsteps to be blessed in our marriage and meet their 30+ year anniversaries and more." - Stacey Fainu
'Everyone danced the night away'
"I was born in South Africa but am now a NZ citizen and my husband is Indian. Before we got married, we went to India so that I [could] meet his family who are very accepting of our relationship. Two days before our wedding, we had a 'Bollywood Night' where everyone wore traditional Punjabi outfits and all the girls got henna done on their hands. I got a traditional wedding henna done on my feet and hands.
Our wedding was more Western than Indian, but my husband wore his traditional Indo-Western wedding dress and the men in my family also wore traditional Indian clothes to support my husband. I wore a white dress. Half our guests were Indian and the other were Kiwis. We had a buffet-style dinner. A lot of the music that the DJ played was Indian songs and everyone danced the night away." - Hildy Singh
'We have a lot of love for each other's families and cultures'
"We have been married 13 years this month. We were young and wanted to travel. I had a job in Saudi Arabia, so it was only possible to go together if we got married. So we married first in a religious close family ceremony called a nikah. We then had a traditional white Kiwi wedding, held at Nathan Homestead. The caterers were Afghani so the food was AMAZING and everyone loved it. The DJ played one English song then one Afghani one. We had 140 guests: my family and Afghani friends.
Six months later while travelling, we went to Afghanistan for our Afghani wedding. That is where I met my new Afghan family. The wedding was HUGE with hundreds attending. There was a band and a singer, lots of food and dancing, and many gifts of mainly gold.
We have a great marriage: We are best friends and have a lot of love for each other's families and cultures. We have three beautiful, happy, well-rounded children who are very proud of their heritage and learn all they can about Afghanistan. We celebrate all celebrations from both cultures." - Sarah Nabizada
'I dressed as an Indian bride'
"Almost five years ago, I married my Gujarati Indian husband, Nikul, who is also Hindu. I am a NZ European and Christian.
We couldn't have a very fancy wedding as I was in the early stages of pregnancy and we didn't have all sides in agreement with our relationship. I didn't have a pastor that would intermarry different religions and hubby didn't have any family here to arrange a full Indian wedding. We also had to marry fast to save hubby from shame by having a baby out of wedlock.
We had a small ceremony with close family at the registry office in Auckland, but I still dressed as an Indian bride. It was followed by a reception at my family home. Nevertheless it was a memorable day especially as it was on my birthday.
Nowadays, all sides have settled to the fact that we are a culturally integrated couple with two lovely boys. Hubby and I still have our individual beliefs and we make it work. I also love the opportunity to blend in with his cultural events and he is the same, enjoying any of our events. I have since been to India and met the in-laws and we all get on well." - Erin Goswami
'I embrace my rich ethnic background'
"I am a third generation of mixed marriages. My grandmother was NZ European and married my grandfather, who had come to NZ from Germany before the second World War.
My mother, who is half NZ European and half Jewish German, married my father, who is Chinese. I, (being half Chinese, 1/4 NZ European, and 1/4 German), married my husband who is Taiwanese.
We had two weddings: a Western one in NZ, and an elaborate Chinese wedding in Taiwan. I wore multiple dresses of all different colours and partook in a tea ceremony. I love being a part of different cultures and have learned to fully embrace my rich ethnic background." - Nicky Lowe
'My family loves foreigners!'
"I met my husband Elliabe in Brazil while I was on a year long student exchange, just after I turned 17. He was a host brother to another student. One day, we said we liked each other. At the end of my exchange, he told his parents he was going to move to NZ with me. We got married three years after moving here, a small ceremony in the Wellington Botanical gardens with some family and friends.
Now five years after meeting... I'm speechless, he's everything. Having gone to a foreign country where I didn't even know how to hold a conversation and bringing back a husband, I love telling our how-we-met story. People think it's especially funny when they find out my dad is Chilean, my sister is also married to a Brazilian and my brother is dating a Swedish girl. My family loves foreigners!"
- Melissa Lopes
'Adapting to beautiful changes'
"It all started when Josh commented in Filipino to my friend's Facebook page. I was curious why he could speak my native language. We started chatting at Skype and e-mailing. Josh has a passion for Philippines and that's why he was learning to speak in our dialect. He visited Philippines in 2011 for a church related mission trip and that's when we met for the first time. Then, the rest is history.
Most of our relationship was long distance. Even [though] it was long distance, we knew we were meant for each other. I visited New Zealand for a month in 2012 and that's when Josh proposed to me. It involved lots of wedding preparation and planning via Skype. It involved a heck of applications, including visa application, wedding registration paper, and plane tickets. All of these were worth it when we got married in a beach resort in Cebu, Philippines in June 2013. Now, I have been living in New Zealand for more than two years.
While growing up, I always wanted to marry a foreigner. I never had a boyfriend even before Josh, since I insisted that I am more interested in learning a new culture and exploring a new country. Multicultural marriage is a mix of all spices: from culture shock, to being away from my family, and to adapting to beautiful changes. Even looking back, it has been an answered prayer and has been the best decision." - Hosanna Thompson