I was recently on Twitter when I noticed a tweet from Joelle Duff of Joelle Charming who pitched a very important question to her follower's.
I quickly engaged in a conversation with Joelle on the topic, and was so pleased that she brought it up . Cultural appropriation is a controversial topic, but one that must be addressed, even in the wedding and special event world. How often do we see photographs of weddings that incorporate design elements from other cultures simply for aesthetics?
For those who aren't familiar, and who may be perplexed by what Joelle is talking about - it is trendy within the event industry to incorporate Native American symbolism into the wedding design. I can agree and appreciate that the Native American peoples produce breathtaking pieces, but there is a difference between theme and inspiration.
I am a firm believer in educating others about traditions and symbols from cultures outside of their own. In the event industry, it's become a taboo topic. Many couples are inspired by the aesthetic presentation of many cultural traditions and keepsakes; however, when opting to incorporate these objects into their wedding presentation aren't being mindful of the fact that in many cultures, objects hold sacred meaning.
Emily, the visionary behind the popular blog Oh Hello, Love, also weighed in on the conversation, "If you are interested in incorporating elements from another culture, take some time to think about the connections you have to that culture. Did you spend time in another country? .... Take the time to ask questions and find out the meaning behind the pieces... The problem generally arises when these elements are used out of context or because they have become trendy".
Context is key. By bringing this topic to the forefront, I want to be sure to emphasize that I am not against the use of design elements being brought in from another culture, but I believe you should be mindful of how you are using those elements.
What are your thoughts?