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South Asian Weddings

super long read! sorry! but I need help! opinions appreciated! :)

Hello everyone :) I'm new to the boards, so I just wanted to introduce myself and ask your opinions on a few things. :) 

FI and I got engaged recently, but due to graduation/work plans, we won't be getting married until 2014.  

FI and I are both Indian.  However, I have grown up in the U.S. my whole life, and FI has grown up in India.  He came to the U.S. about 3 years ago to study.  

Growing up in the U.S., I never imagined that I would get married in India.  My whole life is here, so I always assumed I'd be getting married here, too, in the presence of my close family friends and everyone I've grown up with.  Of course, everything changed after I met FI, and I couldn't be happier.  

BUT, with FI's entire family (immediate and extended) and friends and all important people in his life in India and my extended family in India as well, it would just be more suitable for us to marry in India.   

I have to admit, I'm more than a little bummed about not being able to get married in front of the people who have invested so much into my life, and instead, celebrating this day with my grandparents' second cousins and a bunch of relatives/friends of relatives, many of whom I've never met before!  (I’m not saying I don’t want my extended family at our wedding, I would just like to celebrate with my family friends AND our relatives, if at all possible.)

 I know that of course not everyone can travel from here to India for a wedding.  But, I DO think that there are some who would be willing and able to travel to India, provided they had significant advance notice.  

So, here is my dilemma:  Should I invite everyone that I would normally invite if I were getting married here?  Or would it be silly to even think that they would travel so far for a wedding?  If I did invite them, how early should I invite them? 

One thing I hadn’t even thought about until I saw someone else post was that, if you invite lots of people whom you know won’t be able to attend, it will look like you are gift-grabbing.  I definitely don’t want people to think that!  I genuinely would like for them to be a part of this special day!   

Is anyone else in this situation?  Sorry this is such a long read, but ideas/suggestions/opinions would be appreciated! 

Oh, and having 2 weddings (one in India, one in the U.S.) is not an option. 

 Also, I know this is super early to even be thinking about all this, but I just love wedding planning/everything wedding-related, and this has been on my mind since before we got engaged! Lol :)

Thanks in advance!  :)

Re: super long read! sorry! but I need help! opinions appreciated! :)

  • Hi!  Congratulations on your engagement!

    I'm American and DH is from India (came to the US as an adult).  We did have two weddings, which for us was the only way it would work.  It was very expensive and tiring, so I understand wanting just the one.

    You are right:  a lot of people won't come to India.  It is expensive, far, you have to take a lot of time off, it's hard to plan and travel there, and many Americans just won't like the idea.  Even some Indian-Americans (who are used to going to India) won't come because of the expense.  My best friend is Indian-American and she didn't come to our India wedding for that reason.  And she desperately wanted to.

    As far as inviting people:  Invite whoever you would invite if it were here.  It is their decision whether they can go, but they will appreciate knowing you value their support and have invited them.  We invited everyone who attended the US wedding to the India wedding, too.

    The gift issue:  I think this is over-blown.  We get invitations to weddings all over the world, which we obviously can't attend.  I have always appreciated that I'm important to the couple/family, and I have never felt obliged (or even expected) to send a gift.  I would find it more offensive if a cousin or close friend just didn't invite me.

    Time-frame:  If you can, I would send a save-the-date out a year ahead.  If you don't have details at that point, I would start letting people (close friends and relatives in the US) know roughly when and where it will be.  People tend to plan major trips well ahead of time (our 2013 India trip is already loosely planned), and some of your friends may be able to go if they have ample time to save.  Relatives, too, who may go to India anyway can then work around your timing.
  • I'm in a similar sistuation, only I'm not Indian-American, I'm just plain American so I never ever envisioned going to India at all let alone being married there. But I fell in love with an Indian man nad I'm actually moving to India.

    We weighed the options and it's way more practical for us to get married in India legally. We decided to have two weddings.... then realized we couldn't afford it. But I couldn't let go of not having my loved ones there, so now we're going for two again, but we're not sure if it's going to happen. At this point the first wedding in the US, were it to happen, would be a non-legal ceremony and then a reception at a picnic shelter that rents for $100 for very informal food so that the whole reception would be about $500. But again, we dont know if that will happen. It's way below my expectations for a wedding with my loved ones, but once the option of not having a wedding in the US at all happened, I readjusted my expectations and this seems fantastic.

    But if two weddings isn't an option for you, I have a few more suggestions. My father had said he was okay if we got married only in India and that we could have a vow renewal ceremony in a few years in the US (my parents won't be able to come to India).  This way you'd get the weddign experience and all with your US loved oens... just not now.  It's a great option... but it's not the same. And I also know many friends who say they'll have a vow renewal but life happens (kids, a house, medical bills, whatever) and it never happens. So if you go that route, you'd have to make it a priority.

    Another thought I had is that if I don't get the US wedding I want a killer bon voyage party. By killer I don't mean it has to involve a lot of money. But just like most everyone close to me (at least the local ones) and a lot of sappiness and probably a slide show nad just a big send off to my new life party where loved ones can celebrate this new chapter with me. It can be pizza and soda for all I care, but just lots of love. My FI doesn't have to be there, which is part of our problem (since he lives in India, basically if we can get a visa and we can find the money for him to come here, we will havea US wedding) but this way I get hte send off.)  I was also thinking about doing something like a bachelorette party with my girl friends, only not the kind where you get drunk and go with strippers. That's not my style. But like a fun trip to teh mountains or something.

    As for gift grabbiness? If we had a US wedding I was planning on the invitations inviting everyone to both weddings. I know probably none of them will go (I know very few  if any who'd be able to. If they have the time, they don't have the money and if they have the money they wouldn't have the time.) But if any at all can come, I'd love them too, even if it's a random cousin or college friend who lives on the other side of the country.

    If we only have an Indian wedding, I hadn't really thought abuot it but I think for me what I'd do is send out feelers. Facebook, email or call those who I'd have invitd to a US wedding and see if any would een think about India. If they could, I'd invite them....

    Then again... maybe I'd do what you are doing. Because I dn't know about you, but when I get a wedding invite I'm like "Yay, they want me to be there. I love weddings". The only time I'm upset by them is if I can't go, and that's not because I feel they're gift grabby but because I regret my inability to make it. So if you don't like any of my other ideas, then definitely send out the invites. I don't think it's gift grabby. After all, you sincerely are sending them because you love them and want them there. That's not gift grabby at all and hopefully they love you enough tor ealize that.
    My blog
    "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." -Isaiah 61:10 NKJV
  • Oh! And I had another suggestion!

    I realized as I was typing the above you didn't specify if youd' be living in the US or India, just that you'd be getting married there. If you're not living there, and you're coming back to the US what about throwing a watch the wedding video party?  You could invite your local nearest dearests and have a fun time watching it with snacks and stuff. Nothing formal, not a gifting event but just to share and let them see it. I picture somethign like a sophisticated SuperBowl party wehre people are snacking and chatting and you're laughing and telling htem "Okay, here is where this thing went wrong and that aunt there whispered this to me. See my face! But it was okay, they found it" or whatever. Fun and just in a spirti of love and sharing.
    My blog
    "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." -Isaiah 61:10 NKJV
  • Inviting people that you truley want to be there is not " gift-grabbing."  There are certain people that might actaully be offended if they are not invited because you assumed they will not come.

    If you want to get a feel for who would come I suggest sending wedding announcements rather than actual invitations to people that you are on the fence about.  You can include major details like the date and city and include a phone number to call for detais.  If they want to attend they will call you.  There wont be pressure to come if it will bea burden bc its not a formal invite, but if they are truly interested they will still feed welcome.

    Also, althought you are nto having two weddings I HIGHLY suggest that you have some sort of local party for freinds and family.  Think about a house warming party, or an 'open-house" at your parents house.  You can show the video of your wedding so people who couldnt make it can feel like part of the festivities.  If you can work out the logistics, maybe even have a live web-cast of the wedding.
  • Invite the people you really want to be there. They can decide whethero r not they canc ome. But I really think you should, as other ladies have suggested, hold some sort of event here so people can share in your joy and so you can get a chance to celebrate with the people who have been in your life and have supported and loved you.
    I really understand what you are going through because my fiance is in London and I am here. Trying to celebrate with both sides is hard.

    I agree 100% with Temurlang.
  • Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! :) It's great to get so much feedback.  

    @SonaliPop: I agree 100% with Temurlang, too.  Great advice :)  I'd definitely like to hold some kind of celebration here, since I won't be getting married here.  And I know what you mean!  It is difficult to coordinate when both families are on opposite sides of the world!  

    @Jenpaxton:  I was also thinking of the webcast idea!  I most likely will do something of that sort, if I can work it out.  It helps that I have lots of time! 

    @Ryan's Beloved:  I like the idea of an informal "watch the wedding video party" with friends.  I think that'd be really fun.  That could possibly be combined with a house-warming party or open house at my parents' house.  I don't know.  I'll figure something out. ;)  
    I'd definitely try to adjust finances to have a wedding here if that were the issue, but having one wedding is more of a decision regarding personal beliefs/ convictions than it is a financial issue. Also, to answer your question, I'm not moving to India, at least not for now.  Maybe someday... ;)

    @Temurlang:  I'm pretty sure you've read my mind on most of this issue. ;) I was also planning to send save-the-dates a year ahead.  I think I'll do that, and that can serve as the wedding announcement Jenpaxton described.  I'd also really like to send invites to everyone whom I would normally invite here.  I can certainly think of a few people who would consider coming to India if they had a year to save.  A few of my friends are already planning!  I totally understand that not everyone will be able to attend, but I'd be more than thrilled if even a few of my friends from the U.S. came to India.  :)

    @all:  About the gift issue, I hadn't even considered it until I ran across it on a post on some other board, and even after I had, I thought it was a little far-fetched.  I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so!  I'm sure my friends and family will understand that my intentions are sincere.

    Thank you all again for the wonderful advice!  It is much appreciated!  

  • My FH and I are both American born Indians, but to avoid having hundreds of people at our wedding without hurting feelings by not inviting, we're going to Aruba! We are inviting everyone that we would invite if we were to do it here--- with NO expectations of gifts whether they attend or not... we didn't even register. If everyone on our guest list still comes, we would be thrilled, but this way, we have a more intimate setting and we're doing something completely different.

    We started telling people about the destination that were going to be invited about 10 months out, we sent save the dates at 8 months and are sending invites at 5 months. We set up the wedding website asap and directed people there for all wedding info.

    At the end of the day, I don't care where I get married or who is there as long as I'm marrying DH-- don't lose sight of what's really important... you are marrying the man of your dreams and it will be fabulous regardless. :)
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