You and your soon-to-be spouse have made an important decision. Your wedding will not just be a union between a man and a woman, but it will also be a celebration of your two proud cultures -- Indian and American. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can incorporate touches into your upcoming wedding and reception that will create a unique event that celebrates your two special cultures.
Traditional American or Indian
Your first decision will be to choose what type of ceremony you will have. Will it be a traditional American or Indian event or a fusion of both cultures? Here are a few options that you may want to consider:
- Have two ceremonies. Perhaps you can start with a small, private Indian ceremony with close family members that is then followed by a larger, more elaborate traditional white wedding in a church -- or vice versa.
- Choose a church wedding and then incorporate Indian touches into your reception.
- Incorporate a little of both cultures into both your wedding ceremony and reception. Perhaps, for example, the bride can wear a traditional white gown during the wedding and then change into a traditional Indian outfit for the reception. Or the groom may want to incorporate the baraat -- the traditional groom's procession to the wedding.
If your groom has decided that he wants to ride a traditional white horse or an elephant in his baraat, you may have to choose a reception venue accordingly as some sites will not allow these animals on their grounds. Fortunately, there are a number of venues -- especially in the bigger cities -- that have become familiar with Indian wedding customs and have learned how to accommodate them.
One of the best ways to incorporate the Indian culture into your reception is by asking your catering service to add some traditional Indian dishes to your reception menu. For example, you could offer Indian appetizers such as chicken tikka puff or mushroom masala quiche in addition to standard American hors d'oeuvres, such as bacon-wrapped scallops. It's also important to take into consideration that a number of Hindus are vegetarians, so make sure that your caterer offers plenty of non-meat dishes to your guests. You should also:
- If you are offering a buffet, ask your wedding catering to label the different dishes. If possible, they should include pertinent information about each dish's ingredients so that guests with allergies can choose their fare accordingly.
Plan Your Budget
Incorporating two cultures into your big day can add significantly to your costs. Why? For one thing, you may be buying two different wedding dresses or paying for an elephant, which according to Washingtonian, could set you back approximately $8,500 per creature. In addition, Indian weddings typically cost more than American weddings. According to Fortune, the average number of guests at an American ceremony is about 140, with the average cost being about $29,000. On the other hand, a typical Indian wedding held in America will have 500 invited guests and will cost on average around $65,000.
Book Special Services in Advance
If you do plan on having an elephant or a white horse at your wedding, you should book them well in advance of your wedding. Before booking, however, check to see if there are regulations in your area that may restrict the riding of elephants. The city of Washington, D.C., for instance, currently prohibits this practice.
A wedding that fuses two cultures can be a beautiful, exciting and unique event for all in attendance. In that manner, the wedding is not just a union of the couple but also a way for guests to get a fascinating peak at the wedding traditions of another culture.