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Photo Credit: Pearl Moon Photography
Thanks to movies, music, and a growing South Asian population in the U.S., Indian weddings have entered the U.S. mainstream when it comes to wedding planning. If you’ve been to an Indian wedding, or seen one depicted in a movie, it’s hard not to covet the bright colors, extravagant entertainment, and general sense of fun and excitement that accompanies the wedding.
One of the best things about living in a multicultural society like ours is that ideas pass back and forth between groups. But, you also want to be careful that you aren’t accidentally insulting a culture by taking pieces of it without fully understanding their meaning.
So, what parts of an Indian wedding can you steal?
In Indian weddings the bride traditionally wears red, not white. The color palette of many Indian weddings is equally bright and bold, often resulting in unexpected combos like purple and orange. If this bright idea appeals to you, go for it.
Although you might love the look of the bright saris, unless you are Hindu you should probably avoid choosing this as your wedding look. Not only could wearing a sari be seen as culturally insensitive, the clothing is deceptively complicated. True Story: A friend of mine wanted to wear a sari and got to her wedding day only to discover that she hadn’t bought the appropriate material.
One of the most distinctive looks of an Indian wedding is the henna covering the hands and feet of the bride and female relatives. Henna is a gorgeous tradition and mehndi ceremonies are a meaningful part of a Hindu wedding. But, if you just want the look of the henna consider hiring a henna artist to come to your bridal shower long before the wedding, so as not to be culturally insensitive. Just remember that henna takes weeks to wear off.
Photo Credit: HennaDC
Over the past several years the trend in non-Indian weddings has been to go small with the guest list. A small guest list allows for a more intimate wedding and more time spent with each of your guests.
In Indian weddings though, extended families and guest lists tend to be large. This cuts down on family fighting, after all, there’s no need to argue with your mom about whether your third cousin is invited, she is, and so is your mother-in-law’s dental hygienist.
If you like the idea of a huge party, there’s no reason you too can’t create a large, festive atmosphere. If so, think about your budget and how to make it happen. Keep in mind that while big guest lists are common for Indian weddings, the first part of the ceremony known as the ganesh puja, generally only includes a very small group. Having some parts of your wedding stay intimate and small while including a large guest list for other parts may be a good compromise for you as well.
There are musicians during the ceremony and both western and traditional music for the reception. There are also frequently dancers to teach non-Indian guests traditional dances, and magicians and other entertainers to entertain younger guests. This is an idea anyone can steal.
Photo Credit: Belly Dance Magic with Daleela Morad
Check out our Pinterest boards for more great ideas you can steal from weddings near and far.
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