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How Indian Weddings in America Became so Grand

The United States is a cultural melting pot. People come to this country from all over the world, bringing their customs and religious traditions with them. By simple exposure, all of these marvelous traditions turn into something that is both breath taking in its beauty and completely new to the human experience.

This includes Indian weddings and all of the marvelous ceremonies attached to them. As Indian nationals settle in this country, they bring the best of these marital traditions with them. All the glamour and beauty have combined with the liberal-minded approach to celebrations inherent in the American ethos to create something that you have to see to believe. Here are some of the ways this delightful evolution had changed what an Indian wedding means for witnesses, the newlyweds, and their families.

Increased Cost Over Time

It is no secret that Indian weddings are typically more expensive than Western ceremonies. The numerous events, large crowds, and focus on extravagant ceremonies all lead to a hefty bill.

The increased number of Indian expatriates in the United States, both those who settle down and those who wish to eventually return, bring with them the same expectations for their weddings regardless of where they occur. This has resulted in increased pressure to “one up” every other couple by doing something different. Thus - increased expenses.

Changes in Ceremonies

Indian couples getting married in the United States face the simple fact that a large number of attendees are not from India. They have no experience with Indian culture or traditions, thus the need to either incorporate western elements or to include education.

Thus, for traditionalists a new “ceremony” has been created - the explanation. Like many things involved in Indian weddings, explaining what is going to happen can be an elegant and fun process. It also helps in introducing Americans to Indian culture in a way that Indian food or Bollywood cannot match!

The ceremonies themselves have changed to incorporate the fact that American culture is less nature-focused. For instance, instead of using a horse or elephant for the Baraat ceremony an older car may be used instead.

Additionally, the limited number of venues capable of holding hundreds of people at any given time has resulted in the number of attendees to shrink somewhat. This is a good thing, in a way, when you consider how many relatives may have to travel clear across the world to attend!

Possible Future Changes

The single greatest likely change to Indian weddings held in the United States over the next several years is the increased emphasis on technology. Specifically, any tools that will make it easier for people to participate without being physically present.

For instance, live streaming services can enable elderly relatives to attend without having to undertake an arduous plane ride. Or it could make it easier for that sister busy with her medical internship to send her well-wishes between taking care of patients on the other side of the country.

Beyond that - who knows? Who could have expected to see older cars take off in popularity, or even helicopters dropping down on the ceremony (as seen in a couple recent weddings!)

How did Indian weddings in America become so amazing? The simple answer is that they were always extravagant affairs that highlighted the most beautiful aspects of Indian culture. The more nuanced answer is that it changed because we all changed. Indians came to this country for a chance at building an amazing life, and brought this optimism with them. This desire to create a beautiful life has permanently changed the traditional wedding ceremony, making it something that will stand the test of time as the epitome of beauty, love, and dedication.

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Indian Engagement Rings for Brides-to-Be

Discovering the perfect engagement ring can be a nearly insurmountable challenge for a regular marriage. For an Indian wedding, however, the situation can appear to be nearly insurmountable on first glance. The reason is simple - you are not only gaining the approval of your betrothed-to-be, you will have to seek the acceptance of both sides of the family for the union. That means every detail must be perfect. Here are some tips that will help you make the right choice when it comes time to find the right engagement ring for your special someone.

What Does Your Spouse Like?

Your engagement rings will stay with you for the rest of your lives. Thus, it is essential that the two of you find a set that neither will have any problems wearing for decades. Make a day out of the search - go to a wide variety of jewelers and see what pops out.

Here are some tips to make the process go more smoothly:

  • Be honest about your budget
  • Make sure to know about any metal allergies your spouse may have
  • Discuss possible designs before going out
  • Talk to her parents about family traditions or older rings
The Type of Ring

While love is the only essential thing to have in a future marriage, the design of the ring plays an important role to boot. Here are some of the most popular types of engagement and wedding rings used in modern Indian weddings today.

Traditional Diamond

A true classic throughout the world, diamond jewelry stands out as among the most common form of engagement and wedding rings in use today.

Polki Diamond

A truly “Indian” take on the diamond ring, this design popular in Mogul India utilizes an older cut of diamonds. Their rougher cut makes each ring truly unique.

This is especially popular for women that value antique jewelry or has a sizable collection passed down through her family.

Antique Gold

A favorite for women seeking to balance the “flashy” appearance of modern jewelry. This form is especially popular among those who wish to bring the fashion of yesteryear into the modern day. For couples that plan the wedding before getting the rings, this is a good choice for themes that utilize older traditions and themes.

Your Budget

Nothing ends a marriage faster than financial difficulties. Talk with your spouse about what the two of you want and what you can afford.

This conversation, while difficult for many, will help ensure that there are no expectations for you to spend too much. In fact, this conversation can lead to a discussion about how the two of you visualize the wedding and kick start the planning process!

In some instances, it is possible to avoid spending any money at all. Many families pass down rings from one generation to the next, so see if there is a favorite one you can use. Or perhaps take the older ring and reset it in a modern setting.

Finding the perfect engagement ring is one of the most exciting, and frightening, experiences any prospective groom will experience leading up to the marriage proposal. Take the time to carefully consider what your spouse wants, in addition to what you can afford. This combination will help direct you to something that everyone will agree is suitable while showing your spouse that you truly understand, care for, and love her. Good luck!

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How to Choose the Best Indian Wedding Catering

No wedding is fully planned until you have selected the caterer and developed the menu. This simple fact is especially true to Indian weddings, where it is not uncommon to see every ingredient carefully selected due to its religious symbolism and connection to both families. Here are some tips that may help you when it comes time to select the perfect caterer for your own wedding.

Budget

It is vital that you face the (wedding) music - you only have so much to spend. Sit down with both a wedding and financial planner to determine how much you can realistically spend on each part of your wedding service. By figuring out how much you can afford to spend in advance, you will be able to avoid sticker shock later on. A bonus tip - try to go below your budget whenever possible. This will guarantee that you have some “cushion” for the inevitable budget overrun. After all, a wedding is like a battle - no plan ever survives contact with the real world.

Tasting

There are recipes that look good on paper and those that taste great. The only way to tell one from the other is to actually taste each item. Considering how extravagant wedding feasts can be, this is no small feat. To make the process go faster (and keep your waistline in check!) have a number of trusted friends and family members help you taste each dish.

Speak with your wedding planner about scheduling these taste testing sessions. Remember - while this is serious, it is also an opportunity to have fun! See which caterer prepares your favorite dishes the best way and guarantee your guests a dinner they will never forget!

Suppliers

Your wedding may require a dozen separate suppliers, depending on how extravagant the plans and how rare the source materials. Speak with your wedding planner and the caterers to determine how to get everything you need to make certain that your wedding goes perfectly. Some caterers have preferred suppliers, while others may use whoever you select. Figure this out now to give yourself time to figure out the supply list and negotiate the lowest possible prices. Your pocket book will thank you the morning after you say, “I do!”

Venue

Your wedding venue determines nearly everything about your else about your special day, and as such should be chosen first. It is only when you get the address that it is possible to find the right catering company – because, simply, the best options is the worst if it can’t deliver!

Consider your catering service to be a much more extravagant version of call-in delivery services. Would you order in dinner from a company located an hour away? No – by the time it got to you the food would be cold and the delivery charge would have shot through the roof.

The best companies will tell you immediately whether or not they can help, just from the address. If the answer is no ask them who they would suggest in your area. It is amazing how often companies work together to make certain that clients’ needs are fulfilled – so a simple referral may point you in the right direction!

Finding the perfect Indian wedding caterers does not need to be an insurmountable challenge. By taking the time to carefully consider your needs and budget you can immediately narrow the field to just the most promising prospects. From there, it is just a matter of comparing their menus, experience, and how well you “get along” with their staffs.

Remember - this is your special day. Reach out to an Indian wedding planner to make certain that every detail is perfect.

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The Indian Wedding Baraat - What Does it Involve?

There are few things that stand out in the average Western mind when contemplating an Indian wedding than the traditional Baraat ceremony. This extravagant event brings the groom to the final ceremony in style - usually a large horse or elephant. Here are some things you should know before witnessing your first Baraat ceremony.

Tradition

The Baraat is a common South Asian ceremony, utilized by a multitude of faiths in order to make certain that the community knew that a wedding was happening at that very moment. A wide variety of vehicles and animals are used, from old cars to elephants. The important thing is that the groom and his family must make a splashy arrival to wherever the bride and her family are waiting.

Upon arrival, the bride’s family applies a special dye to his forehead and perform a ceremony, known as Aarti, in order to ward off the “evil eye.” The final step is where he completed the Milni ceremony with the bride’s male relatives.

Purpose

This ceremony is the final step in ensuring that the bride’s family accepts the wedding and proposed marriage. Both sides of her family have roles to play, during which they individually give their blessing on the union.

It is also where the equivalent of a dowry is presented, often a small token in the form of money. This part has been phased out of many modern wedding ceremonies, replaced by a general event where members of both sides of the family give gifts to each other.

Modern Take

The ceremony has grown with modern society, taking into account changing tastes and the fact that it is nearly impossible to take over a decent chunk of the city for an impromptu parade.

Now this ceremony is carefully planned, with details checked by local authorities well in advance. Instead of having a band, music is provided by a DJ and dhol players while vehicles often replace animals.

Vehicles Instead of Animals

This change is especially common in jurisdictions that have very strict animal use laws. Many people find it easier to simply rent an antique car and decorate it in lieu of obtaining all the permits and hiring a cleaning crew for the inevitable accidents.  Having an Elephant or Horse, though, still does occur and really adds to the ceremony!

Merging Local Bits of Culture

Many Baraat ceremonies, especially those that occur in the United States and other western states, typically include local points of interest during the procession. For instance, driving alongside the beach or near a famous park/waterfall. Since vehicles do not tire, and can go faster, it opens up the ceremony to include things never before considered possible.

Have Fun!

A Baraat ceremony started off as a serious event that ensured the legitimacy of the marriage in the eyes of the community. It has evolved to become one of the most fun-filled events for the groom, giving him and his family the opportunity to show their excitement and joy over the rapidly approaching wedding ceremony.

For participants, it is important to have a good idea as to how long it will take, the stops along the way, and how loud it will be. Make certain you wear comfortable clothing suitable for the event and bring hearing protection in case the music is too loud!

For the average Westerner, the Baraat ceremony is what pops into mind when they think of Indian culture. This hallmark ceremony, integral for many couples on their wedding day, has adapted with the times to become something that can be highly customized for each special day. Check with the newlyweds to learn more about how they will add their own spin to this special ceremony.

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Indian Wedding Invitation Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts

The time has come - you and your spouse have settled on a marriage date. Everything is quickly being planned out and all you have left to do is figure out the guest list and send out the invitations. One small quirk, though - you don’t have the foggiest idea as to how to properly handle this task. Fear not - this article will give you the basics you need in order to avoid making a mess out of Indian wedding invitation etiquette. Here are the top things you should, and shouldn’t, do when creating your guest list and preparing to send out the invitations.

Things to Do

Make a Guest List in Advance

It is vital that you do not create the wedding invitations until after you have settled on how many people to invite and who they are. Once you have done this, everything from the location to the date should be vastly easier to figure out.

Mail Well in Advance

Some of your guests may be traveling from overseas.  Traveling overseas is not something you can do on a whim. Visas need to be obtained, plane tickets purchased, and of course the joys of finding a decent hotel from clear on the other side of the globe.

Make certain your overseas guests have ample time to make the appropriate arrangements by sending out the invitations at least 10 weeks in advance. This will also take care of situations in which the letter may be delayed due to bad weather or accidents.

Be Mindful of RSVPs

Traditional Indian wedding invitations do not include an RSVP, though this has changed and most invitations now have RSVP. However, if your wedding includes guests from non-Indian backgrounds, it may be considered proper to include an RSVP card. Just make certain you do not send them to the wrong people!

Things Not to Do

Use Store-Bought Invitations

Indian weddings are world renowned for their extravagance and unique takes on every aspect of the ceremonies. This extends to the invitations. Try to make certain that they are customized for your specific wedding by including elements that will be seen during the happy day.

Request Gifts

On no circumstances reference a gift registry or request gifts in the invitation. This is considered poor form for nearly all wedding traditions, both Indian and Western. Instead, put a note in there saying that the bride and groom are ready to answer any and all questions. If someone asks, take it as an opportunity to explain gift-giving and its role in an Indian wedding.

Make the Invitation Overly Religious

Modern weddings often include guests from a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Take that into account when creating your invitation. If in doubt, go with a secular card. The last thing you need to do is accidentally confuse or insult someone by including a religious quote the recipient may be unfamiliar with!

If you have any difficulties with this, speak with your wedding planner. He will be glad to provide tips to help you create an invitation that is welcomed by all without!

Indian wedding invitations and stationery are beautiful works of art. Beyond that, they symbolize centuries of tradition and reflect you and your spouse’s hopes and dreams for the future. Your choices in how you design the invitations, and who you send them out to, will go a long way to determining how your wedding will play out. Speak with an experienced Indian wedding planner today to make certain that every detail is perfect. After all, this event will signify the start of your lives together. Every detail that can be made perfect, should. The two of you deserve it.

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