LifestyleWeddings

Marrying cultures: Ethnic celebrations

This is the wedding of Laura Neufeld of

This is the wedding of Laura Neufeld of Northport and Chirag Desai. A Hindu ceremony and reception was held at NYIT de Seversky Mansion in Old Westbury. A Catholic ceremony was held at Northport's St. Philip Neri Church. Photo Credit: Laura Ryan Moakley

Weddings are all about tradition -- from breaking the glass (Jewish) to jumping the broom (African-American) to symbolic spitting at the bride (Greek). But with the number of multiethnic and interfaith weddings soaring, so has the potential for a clash of cultures.
Happily, the evidence instead points to a meaningful mix -- couples are finding new ways to blend bits of his and her traditions into even the most contemporary celebrations. Ancient rituals, glittering icons, ethnic food, dance and dress -- they all add a colorful extra dimension to a wedding, and even sow the seeds of joyous new traditions.
Take a look at how three Long Island brides and grooms blended the best of their heritages to put a personal stamp on their big day. What better way to celebrate the next link in your family's cultural chain?

Rauly Berrios always knew the food at her
Photo Credit: Gavin Thomas

Rauly Berrios always knew the food at her wedding would reflect her background. So while planning the menu for her October, 2011 wedding, Berrios, 32, who owns a title insurance agency, and her fellow foodie and fiance�, Sergio Maldonado, 32, a hedge-fund trader with Mexican-Jewish roots, knew how important the flavors of home would be to their celebration. "It just seemed like a perfect fit," said Berrios of the Caribbean cuisine, with a heavy accent on the Cuban. (October 2011)

Rauly Berrios in her elaborate wedding dress, a
Photo Credit: Joe Laronga

Rauly Berrios in her elaborate wedding dress, a flamenco silhouette with a sweetheart neck, corseted bodice and dramatic ruffles. (October 2011)

Rauly Berrios and Sergio Maldonado in the ballroom
Photo Credit: Joe Laronga

Rauly Berrios and Sergio Maldonado in the ballroom at the Garden City Hotel, where vibrant decorations of yellow and green lend a Cuban flair. (October 2011)

Rauly Berrios, wearing a Karen Sabag custom gown,
Photo Credit: Joe Laronga

Rauly Berrios, wearing a Karen Sabag custom gown, dances with her husband, Sergio Maldonado. (October 2011)

Rauly Berrios' and� Sergio Maldonado's wedding reception at
Photo Credit: Joe Laronga

Rauly Berrios' and� Sergio Maldonado's wedding reception at the Garden City Hotel. (October 2011)

Rauly Berrios stands in front of an ornate
Photo Credit: Gavin Thomas

Rauly Berrios stands in front of an ornate mirror during her wedding photo shoot. (October 2011)

Rauly Berrios and� Sergio Maldonado play chess during
Photo Credit: Gavin Thomas

Rauly Berrios and� Sergio Maldonado play chess during their wedding photo shoot. (October 2011)

Rauly Berrios and Sergio Maldonado cut their wedding
Photo Credit: Joe Laronga

Rauly Berrios and Sergio Maldonado cut their wedding cake at the Garden City Hotel. (October 2011)

A menu and brown napkin call to mind
Photo Credit: Joe Laronga

A menu and brown napkin call to mind a cigar with a band at the Cuban-inspired wedding reception of Rauly Berrios and Sergio Maldonado. (October 2011)

This is the wedding of Laura Neufeld of
Photo Credit: Laura Ryan Moakley

This is the wedding of Laura Neufeld of Northport and Chirag Desai. A Hindu ceremony and reception was held at NYIT de Seversky Mansion in Old Westbury. A Catholic ceremony was held at Northport's St. Philip Neri Church.

This is the wedding of Laura Neufeld of
Photo Credit: Laura Ryan Moakley

This is the wedding of Laura Neufeld of Northport and Chirag Desai. Pictured here, Hindu ceremony and reception at NYIT's De Seversky Mansion in Old Westbury. Catholic ceremony is at Northport's St. Philip Neri Church.

This is the wedding of Laura Neufeld of
Photo Credit: Laura Ryan Moakley

This is the wedding of Laura Neufeld of Northport and Chirag Desai. Pictured here, the couple seen here after the Catholic ceremony at Northport's St. Philip Neri Church. Hindu ceremony and reception held at NYIT's De Seversky Mansion in Old Westbury.

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding
Photo Credit: Paper Hearts Photography

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding took place at Giando on the Water in Brooklyn. Ghazal Hajizadeh , 29, who is public relations account executive who grew up in Roslyn and now lives in Great Neck, and Michael Hootan Tavakolian, 31, a manager of environmental engineering for a Plainview construction management company. Pictured here, bride and groom fed each other honey to represent sweetness. (April 21, 2012)

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh's wedding at
Photo Credit: Paper Hearts Photography

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh's wedding at Giando on the Water in Brooklyn. (April 21, 2012)

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding
Photo Credit: Paper Hearts Photography

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding took place at Giando on the Water in Brooklyn. Ghazal Hajizadeh , 29, who is public relations account executive who grew up in Roslyn and now lives in Great Neck, and Michael Hootan Tavakolian, 31, a manager of environmental engineering for a Plainview construction management company. Pictured: Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh with a guest doing the money dance. (April 21, 2012)

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding
Photo Credit: Paper Hearts Photography

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding took place at Giando on the Water in Brooklyn. Ghazal Hajizadeh , 29, who is public relations account executive who grew up in Roslyn and now lives in Great Neck, and Michael Hootan Tavakolian, 31, a manager of environmental engineering for a Plainview construction management company. (April 21, 2012)

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding
Photo Credit: Paper Hearts Photography

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding took place at Giando on the Water in Brooklyn. Ghazal Hajizadeh , 29, who is public relations account executive who grew up in Roslyn and now lives in Great Neck, and Michael Hootan Tavakolian, 31, a manager of environmental engineering for a Plainview construction management company. (April 21, 2012)

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding
Photo Credit: Paper Hearts Photography

Michael Hootan Tavakolian and Ghazal Hajizadeh 's wedding took place at Giando on the Water in Brooklyn. Ghazal Hajizadeh , 29, who is public relations account executive who grew up in Roslyn and now lives in Great Neck, and Michael Hootan Tavakolian, 31, a manager of environmental engineering for a Plainview construction management company. (April 21, 2012)

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