Join us for the finale of our Royal Wedding special celebrating you and your multicultural love stories. If you missed part one, be sure t catch up! I have absolutely delighted in putting your love stories and tips together. Who doesn’t love a love story ? Thank you to each and every one of you for sharing a snippet of your world for Nu Bride readers.
Paola and Robert
Photo: Hush Pictures
Meet Paola (Popular photographer at Paola de Paola Photography) and Robert
Italian and Caribbean-British
How did you meet?
Paola says: We met at university when I was studying photography and he was studying graphic design at London College of media in elephant and Castle. I could barely speak English and he was very friendly and a very happy soul. I was not looking for anyone as I was coming out of a very rough time with a previous BAD relationship. So it just happened. We clicked. We were absolutely best friends.
We got married in 1994. We have now five children together and we have been married twice t(o each other), once in Italy and once in London.
On Overcoming prejudice
Of course life is never easy. We went through a very tough time as one of our children wasn’t well. But if you manage to stick together and get to the other side, it feels wonderful.
Sometimes it is not easy being in a mixed race relationship. We have not always been accepted from each other’s communities and I have difficulty being accepted in Caribbean hairdressers (for my daughter) and my husband sometimes gets bad looks when we visit in Italy.
I have personally experienced prejudice and stupid remarks from the black community and so has my husband from the white community, but we do not allow this to affect us. We try to teach our children to be open-minded, kind, always do the right thing, even when nobody is looking, and care for others.
We are very fortunate to live in London, an incredible place full of different energy, religions and backgrounds, we feel completely at home here and so do our children.
We have never question the colour of our skin. We are best friends, we love each other, we are together and all the rest is not important.
Our Tips to a happy marriage
There are many injustice in the word, that is why is very important to try to focus on positivity. We have many friends and a wonderful family, we are really lucky because not everyone has this.
We always celebrate what we have and look at the future with a smile.
There isn’t a magic wand, for perfect Marriage
Marriage is the union of two individuals, so respect and appreciation of each other is a must.
Have fun, shared interests and spending time together is really important.
Jenny and Emiko
Meet Jenny and Emiko of Hip Hip Hooray they’ve been together for 12 yrs and married for 5 years, with two girls.
British and Nigerian
How we met
We met on a night out.
Getting together in the early days, when his parents first found out about me it was pretty tough! Their first question, where did you go to university?
What was your job?
Answer: A waitress!
What did my family do?
Answer: small business owners
Added to that, my husband had to drop the bomb (in the same phone call) that I was pregnant 😱 (we’d been together 3 yrs but it was not planned). His parents are devout catholics, so this was a massive challenge and one I probably still haven’t recovered from 😂 I thought I was a catch until this point!
Oh and the wedding!! It was amazing, but trying to please both cultures was really hard. My mother in law doesn’t really like the ‘rustic’ trend and at first thought our fort wedding venue (which was very rustic and romantic – or so I thought) was a dungeon. (Nu Bride: HILARIOUS!!!) She’s much more into opulence, luxury and gold! So that was interesting. But everyone loved it on the day.
Navigating Cultural differences
In general, getting my head around Nigerian culture and how to marry into it has been a huge learning curve, including having to adapt my language for example when speaking to my in-laws, to be respectful using Aunty and Uncle as a sign of respect, for example.
Parenting has brought another set of challenges as from what I can tell African moms parent very differently and our styles don’t always match up. Also expectations and attitude towards education and Academia are very different, largely due to the fact that here we tend to take it for granted and can be much more relaxed about it.
I’m sure this will continue as I know he’d love it if the girls turned out to be doctors, engineers, scientists, lawyers etc and to be honest, I’m happy with whatever makes them happy (to an extent!)
Our tips to a happy marriage
Always respect each other and understand the importance of communication.
I love our relationship and I love being in a multicultural marriage and all that it brings, it adds so much joy and flavour to life, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Larissa and Shawn
Meet Larissa (photographer) and Shawn
American and British
How you met?
Shawn and I met in a Yahoo chat room in 1999. When internet relationships were still a novelty and a strange thing. Shawn lived in Wichita, Kansas and I lived in Newcastle Upon Tyne, uk.
We carried on our relationship over the internet between flights and short trips and eventually got married in a judges chambers in Wichita in 2003. The plan was that I would move to America but Wichita was really badly hit by sept 11th and so it would have been a lot harder for me to get a job. So we decided it was better if Shawn came here and he arrived 10 months after our wedding day.
At first the cultural differences were more obvious. He would wonder why roads were so small or why we didn’t have air conditioning as standard. And his accent made him stand out more. But he sucks up accents and so it wasn’t long before you couldn’t quite tell where he was from.
We haven’t had to deal with any problems of acceptance or prejudice between our families but it is hard that we can’t be closer to both of them. Flights to mid America are so expensive so we can’t travel often.
There are things that I find difficult when I travel to US. Gun culture is very much a thing in middle America, there is a real fear of anything that is different. Shawns family have very differing opinions to us politically and I think both they and we find that very hard. …..
Our top tips to a happy marriage
Communication is a biggie!
Acceptance of cultural differences is important as well. We had differing opinions about a few things and we had to accept that it is our upbringing in a different culture that has moulded our opinions and beliefs. There are lots of cross overs between UK and US but there are some differences too.
It is important to spent time together doing what you both enjoy. And it’s just as important to follow individual interests and take time out for yourself as well.
Aznim and Simon
Malaysian and British
How you met
We’ll be married for 24 years this August and have two boys.
We are chalk and cheese but just amazing to see how two different people with such different passions can fall in love …
Our Tips to a happy marriage
Multicultural marriage is all about understanding and respect. when I’m with Simon’s parents, I respect and sacrifice quite a lot and look after his parents feelings …. I keep quiet if things I don’t like to hear or disagree … and same as Simon when he was with my Malaysian family back in Kuala Lumpur … when we look after each other’s families we respect each other’s feelings and emotions and culture
Secret of a happy marriage? I think it’s all about patience and sacrifice and laughter, lots of it!
Rebecca and Dave
Meet Rebecca (Author of best Knickers Always) and Dave
Welsh and Caribbean
How you met
Dave and I met over 5 years ago online on OK Cupid (Nu Bride: Another OK Cupid love success story – hurrah!)
He’s from Trinidad and I’m from Wales.
Dave grew up in Trinidad and moved her when he was 17. We’ve both been married before and have 6 grown up children between us! We are loved by both our families. I have felt very welcomed by his family, both in London and in North America.
He’s very much a part of my family in Wales, my children and my wider family. He lives in London and I live in Wales, we see each other a couple of times a month and speak every evening which works well for us right now.
Thankfully we have never experience any prejudice or had challenges with cultural differences (accept for a vast difference in taste of music lol)
Top tips for a happy relationship:
We’re both in our 50s, we’ve had our families, we’ve both got a lot of life experience. What’s wonderful and what I keep learning is how much we support and encourage each other in our own lives. We choose each other rather than ‘needing’ each other and that’s beautiful.
It’s important to always come from a place of goodwill in a relationship. We’ve had our ups and downs. We keep coming back to seeing the best in each other rather than focussing on faults. It works every time.
We’re quite different in many ways, he’s an introvert and I’m an extrovert. I love talking (and talking) and he loves silence. On some level this might be seen as incompatibility, it’s quite the opposite, we learn so much from each other and our lives are enriched because of our differences.
Chenca and Jay
Say hello to Chenca designer and owner of Ritva Westenius and former prima ballerina and hairdresser Jay
Finnish, English, Maori and Chinese
How you met
Chenca says I met Jay in Auckland New Zealand when I was a ballerina with the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet and have two children.
On overcoming prejudice
We didn’t realise that other people may hold prejudice until we were in a relationship together. I mean, why does one even need to think about what “people may think” when you meet the person you KNOW you want to spend your life with?….
I feel the worst prejudice and stereotyping that still affects me today is the given fact that when a child does not look like its mother then ” they must be adopted”…. I am still traumatised by the fact I was always being approached by women desperate for children to ask how did I get them into the country? Where in China did I have to go? How long did it take? How did I manage to get a girl & unheard of BOY out of China…….just small-minded white people with no understanding.
Persuading the foreign office to allow Jay to remain in the UK after being here one year & having a baby daughter was also extremely tough.
What we’ve learned is to ignore those who act towards you or your family with prejudice. Seriously ignore them. Ignore those who want to spread hate. Life is too short… it is just ignorance on their side.
– Understand that relationships don’t stand still
– First tummy churning lust & passion wanes too
– You will both grow
– You will both change
– You will both mature
– No relationship is easy, good & bad times are normal in any relationship & arguing is healthy, so get real!
– Work /children will change the demographics of your relationship. Bringing up children is the most challenging part due to lack of sleep & frayed nerves & short fuses!!!
– Sometimes that little word “sorry” is all you need…….
Love always wins my darlings. Always. And the perfect way to wrap up this series – In the words of one of my gorgeous Nu Bride readers Shenese and Jesse who recently wed:
Live in the moment and Love HARD!
Header image: Photo: Lawson Photography | Aaron and Andrea