Tradition is great. We respect it. However, what if borrowing an idea or two from another tradition could create a memorable, unique wedding reception or dinner party? We have combed through a treasure trove of ideas directly from several international eating rituals that could serve as a muse as you plan.
Hosts are seated in the middle of one side of a table or another or both (if a couple). Treasured guests are seated to the right of the host. Consider oblong tables with seats on all sides to create a familial, communal dining experience. While you’re at it, an alfresco (a style of dining that is casual and often party-like) lunch or late dinner would certainly be Tuscan as well as festive.
Spaniards eat lunch as their main meal between 2pm and 4pm daily. Like Italians, they eat dinner very late in the evening, eating their largest meal at lunchtime. Another custom is Sobremesa or “over the table,” a practice of eating leisurely and taking breaks to converse with other diners in a meaningful way, then eating and drinking more. And, the country is filled with snackers, thus tapas. Imagine designing a dinner party that somehow incorporates all three practices.
In Zulu culture, guests are greeted, announced and seated by the host. That could be somewhat problematic at a large wedding reception, but a twist could be to have the newlyweds in the reception area BEFORE guests arrive, especially in western culture where guests cannot eat until the newlyweds arrive. Switch it up and make guests feel special as they walk through the door.
If “eat, drink and be merry” was a country, it would be Trinidad. Hosts and guests are believers in giving food, drink and good vibes as gifts – one to the other. Sharing is essential. For a small wedding reception or dinner party, interpret it and encourage it as a way of setting a wonderful tone for the gathering.
Morocco is a country known for its amazing hand-crafted furnishings that include colorful tiles, rugs, lanterns and pillows. Every touch of a Moroccan home is inspired to provide comfort and beauty. An intimate dinner party or wedding dinner under a veiled cabana, where guests can luxuriate on oversized pillows under the glow of metal lanterns would make for a memorable, comfortable event. Pampas is great for your table-setting and decor. The overall theme is comfort and beauty.
We love the idea of borrowing from traditions but we are not keen on appropriating. As your wedding or event planner, we promise to pull out those things that pay homage without insult.