Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Mixed Racial wedding

Hello everyone! I need help!!!

I am planning a wedding with my nonreligious fiance but he is from a relaxed Hindu family from Southern India. I am white, born and raised in California without any ties to religion at all. My dad is paying for most of the wedding, with my fiance and I covering the rest (my dad gave me a really small budget). His parents MIGHT cover some if we need it, but they just put his brother through med school so they are kind of tight right now.

Here is my problem:
My fiance's mom (dad doesn't say much, but they are married still) wants a traditional Hindu wedding from start to finish.
My dad thinks that would be "cool" and good for me to "embrace his culture".
I want to do the traditional Hindu stuff in the days before like they do and then the symbolic Hindu things on the ceremony day in the morning. Then I want to do the traditional American ceremony in the afternoon where my dad walks me down the aisle and we say I Do. The Hindu ceremony is done in Sanskrit, which is a dead language no one except the priest can understand. He will give a translation for us, but we will be sitting there while he says the vows that we "agree" to without actually knowing what he is saying. That isn't a problem for me, but I just don't think it is romantic.
My fiance is getting so irritated by his mom and me "clashing" silently about this whole thing (we are still in the preliminary phases of the planning) he wants to go to city hall and say I Do and be over with it. After all "All I want is you, not the ceremony" is what he says every time this topic comes up. I know fiances are usually like that, but still it would help to have his input. The only "input" he will give me is "I dont want to upset anyone, and remember I am the first born" even though his little brother is about to start planning a wedding with his girlfriend and it will take place in India (nothing non-traditional about that!).

What should I do? Should I go with my plan and tell everyone that it is the closest to getting the best of both worlds? Or should I be done with it and cave in to my MIL and dad's wishes?

Plan B: Do the Hindu wedding only using fake rings and no paperwork and then do a private "elopement" on our honeymoon alone the way we want it. FYI mine and my fiance's idea of a perfect wedding (we ironically both wanted this when the topic of wedding first came up a long time ago) is me, him, my mom and dad, his mom and dad, my sister and brother in law and niece, his brother and sister in law if she exists, and one close friend of each of ours somewhere on a beach in May with a small private restaurant reception (if you can call it a reception) with those people that were at the wedding.

Re: Mixed Racial wedding

  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    If you and your FI aren't religious you shouldn't include religion just to please your parents. Your wedding is about the two of you, it should incorporate things that represent you not your parents.


  • I hate double weddings, but this is one situation where I can understand it as long as you are perfectly honest with everyone involved.  I have a friend whose husband's family insisted on the very Hindu ceremony.  She did not want that as she was Catholic, and wanted her PPD.  They went to Canada and did the Hindu ceremony early in the morning, and then came back and changed into her white gown and they did their Catholic ceremony in the afternoon/evening.  So it wasn't really a double wedding, but a double ceremony.  Everyone was happy with how it worked out.  
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  • if you want to elope and be alone, i would do just that and not have a "fake" hindu wedding.
  • Figure out what your FI really wants to do.Is he OK with a compromise, and if so, which one?
  • My FI is from a not-too-strict Jain family (similar to Hinduism), and I'm from a secular white family.

    Our decision was this: we're having a mehndi night the day before the wedding, with Indian food and music plus mehndi artists; the wedding is going to be a mostly secular Western ceremony (white dress and vows, but we are incorporating some Indian traditions) and the reception is very much a mix of both cultures; and then the following day we are having a traditional Jain puja.  So three days of things.

    When we were planning, it was important to me that all parties feel like a wedding had taken place.  I know that sounds kind of strange, but I was worried that FI's parents would feel like we weren't really married without including some elements of their culture, and I worried that if we only had a traditional Indian wedding, I might not feel like I was married (I wanted some kind of a Western-style vow as part of it).

    If you're okay with a long day, a traditional Hindu ceremony is usually done in the morning, so you could do an 11 am or 12 pm Hindu ceremony followed by a light lunch, and then do the Western-style ceremony at, say, 6 pm followed by a reception.

    Also, please come over to the South Asian Weddings board, there's lots of us planning masala weddings!
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  • You mention race in the beginning of your post, but the potential conflicts for you seem to be more about religion, culture and nationality. 

    If you are not religious nor a person of faith, then having any kind of religious ceremony seems disingenuous.  It sounds like elopement and/or a small destination wedding would be more your speed.

    I wish you the best of luck!
  • If you can, I would do the small wedding on the beach in May which seems to be what both of you really want.  And, yes, it is a "reception" even if there are only a small handful of close family and friends present.

    I agree it would be disingenous to incorporate religious elements into your ceremony which do not reflect either you or your FI's beliefs.

    Finally, for me personally I wouldn't "agree" to any vows I could not understand and state myself.  DH and I keep our vows posted on our refrigerator so we can see them every day.  To us, those vows are very weighty and something we take very seriously.  If vows are spoken in a language foreign to a good majority of the guests, I would make sure to arrange for translation. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_mixed-racial-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:790a62d1-8796-4345-920f-acce8c1aa1dcPost:d34b27af-5074-478f-9217-8ac17c0aae01">Re: Mixed Racial wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]My FI is from a not-too-strict Jain family (similar to Hinduism), and I'm from a secular white family. Our decision was this: we're having a mehndi night the day before the wedding, with Indian food and music plus mehndi artists; the wedding is going to be a mostly secular Western ceremony (white dress and vows, but we are incorporating some Indian traditions) and the reception is very much a mix of both cultures; and then the following day we are having a traditional Jain puja.  So three days of things. When we were planning, it was important to me that all parties feel like a wedding had taken place.  I know that sounds kind of strange, but I was worried that FI's parents would feel like we weren't really married without including some elements of their culture, and I worried that if we only had a traditional Indian wedding, I might not feel like I was married (I wanted some kind of a Western-style vow as part of it). <strong>If you're okay with a long day, a traditional Hindu ceremony is usually done in the morning, so you could do an 11 am or 12 pm Hindu ceremony followed by a light lunch, and then do the Western-style ceremony at, say, 6 pm followed by a reception.</strong> Also, please come over to the South Asian Weddings board, there's lots of us planning masala weddings!
    Posted by andamu[/QUOTE]

    If you're OK with having a two ceremony day and it doesn't interfere with your budget, then I agree with what andamu suggested. It's "common" amongst masala couples to do that.

    Otherwise, I would go with your plan B since that is what you really want.

    PS andamu is right, there are a lot of ladies over on the South Asian Wedding board who planned/are planning mixed weddings. I was/am one of them :)
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