Click here to read “Wedding Tips”, an article containing the top five tips I gathered from interviewing twenty couples in researching my book “Bollywood Weddings: Dating, Engagement and Marriage in Hindu America”.
Needless to say, I’ve inadvertently built an expertise in Indian-Hindu wedding planning. With the vast majority of my friends and family now married, rather than let my niche knowledge whittle away with age, I thought I’d write down what I consider the five most important wedding tips for the Indian-Hindu bride. “The Indian American” magazine published the piece in their July-August ’09 issue, but feel free to contact me if you’d like a copy or have any questions about Indian-Hindu wedding planning!
“The Indian American” magazine July-August 2009
“Wedding-Planning Tips” by Kavita Ramdya
Discussing beforehand the details of important ceremonies key to a perfect wedding, especially for Indian-American brides who would like to blend the traditions of the East and West.
THIS YEAR’S wedding season for Indian-American Hindu brides is drawing to a close. The days are gradually growing shorter and, before we know it, Diwali will be just around the corner. What can we learn from this bridal season’s many Hindu nuptials so brides to celebrate their marital unions with style and ease? Here’s a list of top 5 tips for Indian-American Hindu brides to keep in mind while planning their nuptials.
1. Discuss the rice ceremony. Let’s face it, your parents have hired at least two to three professional photographers and a videographer to record every moment of your wedding day. You’ve even hired a MAC-trained hair and makeup artist to ensure you look appropriately bridal on your wedding day. For those of you having a Telugu wedding ceremony, be sure to discuss with your bridegroom in the rice on your beautifully-coiffed hair.
2. Decide who buys your wedding sari and reception outfit. Indian and American customs bride should wear on her wedding day differ. Whereas American culture assumes the bride will choose her wedding dress, Hindu tradition dictates that the future mother-in-law should pick what the bride should wear on her special day. Don’t forget married life is about compromise; many of your predecessors have given into wearing their future mother-in-law’s handpicked sari before wearing a self-chosen, westernized lehnga for the reception.
3. Talk about the wedding kiss. Before the big day, it is best to talk to your bridegroom about whether you should kiss on your wedding day. If he and you feel comfortable with that level of PDA (public display of affection), discuss how your immediate and extended family will feel. Also, where in the ceremony or reception can you most tastefully integrate your first kiss as a married couple? Friends and family will enjoy witnessing your love confirmed with a kiss.
4. Make sure you carefully vet who will speak at your reception. After the wedding ceremony, your guests will look forward to a delicious Indian meal. The only thing standing in the way is the speeches and toasts. Make sure you and your bridegroom carefully vet who you should invite to speak at your wedding reception. And, remember, your reception shouldn’t be remembered as a C-SPAN conference. Ask family members and friends who are not only close to you and your bridegroom but who will respect your proposed time limit (five minutes) and won’t embarrass you with sordid stories from your bachelorette party. Feel free to sit with these your expectations for a brief yet classy toast.
5. Practice your first dance as bride and groom. The modern Indian-American Hindu bride degree but often times a graduate education, manages a career and maintains a tight diary of social events with friends and family. Despite the SAT prep, promotions at top institutions, nowhere do Indian-American Hindu women have the opportunity to practice walking, much silk sari. Wedding guests yearn to see a couple express their love gracefully in their first dance. Why not prep for the first dance the way you would for your driver’s test or New York Bar exam? Be sure to practice walking and dancing in a sari during the days leading up to your wedding and be as prepared for your debut a married woman as you were for your first spelling bee.
Remember that for your wedding day, every detail deserves your attention. Although weddings can sometimes spur awkward conversations with friends and family, it’s best to have had these tough conversations so you can focus your time and energy on having a great time on your wedding day.
Kavita Ramdya is author of “Bollywood Weddings: Dating, Engagement and Marriage in Hindu America” http://www.bollywood-weddings.com/Home.html