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South Asian Weddings

America - Punjabi blended wedding & reception

Hi!  I'm hoping some of you can give me a few ideas.  We are working towards a fall 2013 wedding and my groom to be is Punjabi and I'm american.  I want to blend both cultures into the ceremony and reception so that everyone can see aspects of their traditions in the event.  We are going to do ceremony and reception at traditional wedding venues, but I'm looking for some suggestions for attire, flowers, decor, etc - that will really make it a special event.  I'm just learning the Hindu cultures and don't have much experience with them - only have been to one Hindu wedding.  Any help you have is greatly apprecaited!!!

Thanks!
Lisa

Re: America - Punjabi blended wedding & reception

  • Hi Lisa,

    I'm also planning an interfaith wedding. My fiance is Jewish, and I'm Indian. We'll be incorporating both cultures into our event. In terms of attire, maybe you could wear a sari or other Indian outfit for a portion of the ceremony or the reception? You could also do a mendhi night (aka sangeet night, ladies' sangeet, etc.) where you can get your hands and feet decorated with henna. Flowers and decor are usually bold and colorful at Indian weddings, with lots of red and gold hues. There are no customary flowers that I am aware of, but roses always look nice. You coul do a jaimala ceremony where you each put flower garlands around each others necks. Decor is usually colorful and festive. Elephants are a common motif, as are paisleys.

    This website may be of use to you: http://www.maharaniweddings.com/idea-gallery/

    Best of luck in planning!!!
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  • My FI is Indian and I am a product of an inter faith marriage (Jewish and Catholic).  I think it's important for the two of you to sit down and discuss what traditions are important to you and your FI.  I wish we had started there.  Instead we went to our parents first to see what they wanted.  My parents were happy with whatever we wanted to do, but my FI's family went to town with demands.  We started off trying to compromise on every issue, but eventuatlly had to put our foot down and only do the aspects that we wanted to do.  They really weren't happy with anything less than having a completely Indian wedding.

    Our ceremony will be a mixture of all three religions- mangal sutra and the seven steps, glass breaking, and a Bible reading.  We gave my FI's family the large wedding (as far as the guest count) that they wanted, but our reception will mostly be American.

    May 2013 February Siggy: Invitations

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  • lisagustafsonlisagustafson member
    First Comment
    edited July 2013
    Thank you so much!  Yes we went to lunch with his parents on Sunday and I started to get a list of "this is how you should do it"  We've decided to do a traditional indian wedding - but shorten it so it's not hours & hours, with a short lunch afterwards.  Our reception will be more traditional reception - other than special guests and special dances.  I plan on wearing sari for the ceremony, but really want to wear a dress more from my tradition for the reception.  
  • Welcome! I am American and my FI is Indian. The best advice I have is to figure out what you both want and accomodate your parents as much as possible, within what you want.  His parents had very strong ideas about what we should do, and we are doing alot of it, but also putting our foot down (respectfully) where we feel strongly.  For the wedding day we are doing a fusion ceremony and reception. We are doing a mostly-traditional Hindu ceremony, with a few American traditions that are important to me thrown in (my father will walk me down the aisle, etc.).  I am wearing a "fusion" dress- we are getting the fabric in India and it will be red and gold, but it will be made here in a more American style dress.  My FI is also wearing a "fusion" style suit.  I have gotten ALOT of pushback from my future MIL for not wearing traditional clothing and not changing between the ceremony and reception.  But it is important to me (and my mom) to wear a wedding dress and I really don't want to change in between, so I have stood my ground there.  My compromise was wearing a traditional lengha for the Ladies Sangeet the night before.  I found this website that had a list of common traditions of both cultures- we are basically picking and choosing what we want to do for the reception (first dance, toasts, buffet).   If you have any questions, feel free to private message me :)

    http://thebigfatindianwedding.com/2012/31-south-asian-western-fusion-ideas/
  • My fiance is also South Asian--he's from Bangladesh. We are facing the same difficulties everyone else is in deciding which traditions from each culture to keep and which to depart from. One way we're mixing the cultures is with the clothing. I am wearing a white lehenga with gold and silver beadwork, and my bridesmaids are wearing red and gold saris. He is wearing a white sherwani to match me. The groomsmen will wear black panjabis with red embellishments. We have agreed that these outfits are difficult to dance in and the bridesmaids and I will likely change towards the end of the reception when we have a more traditional American dancing evening. We are also going to try to have either a white horse or horse and carriage instead of a limo.

    One detail I'm stuck on right now is wedding favors. Since favors is the American tradition, I thought we could give something South Asian. I'm in Bangladesh now, so I'm looking all over for creative favor ideas. Any thoughts?

    We have been very fortunate that our parents are supporting our choices. We also never asked them what they wanted. Don't let the parents' dreams for your wedding suppress your own dreams. You'll just be disappointed. Good luck to everyone!
  • lisagustafsonlisagustafson member
    First Comment
    edited July 2013
    Thanks everyone, and http://thebigfatindianwedding.com/ was a great basic list of traditions from both sides!! This past week we actually hired a wedding coordinator that has done over 500 Indian weddings, and 2000 American style weddings, so she has a wealth of information to keep us informed.  More importantly for me, she is my sounding board for some of these decisions based on her experience.
  • I'm doing a mixed culture wedding too. I look at the ceremony as a blank canvas and all the different components can be mixed and matched.

    I'm wearing a lengha, he is wearing a kilt.
    We'll have bagpipe music, but meet under a mandap.
    We'll walk down the aisle, but greet each other with garlands.
    We'll exchange vows and rings, but also manglasutra and toe rings.
    We'll do a celtic hand binding and also the seven steps.

    It's going to be unique and I think our friends and family will really enjoy the crazy mixture!
  • Hey Lisa congratulations! Adapting to the new culture will be tough at first, but with time everything gets easier. I wish the best of luck to you!

    Also, if you have not decided on the DJ yet, I just want to inform you that I am the owner of an Indian DJ Company and we are well experiences with mixed marriages. At the moment I am offering $100 off the final quote to anyone who mentions this website  when inquiring.

    Below is my contact details, call or email me if you have any questions!

    website: http://www.indiandjnewyork.com
    email: [email protected]
  • RM1982 - that sounds amazing!!!!

    My fiance is Catholic/Italian and I'm Hindu. We're doing a mixed ceremony, starting with traditional Indian stuff: doli, garlands, pheras, mangal sutra

    Then we will have two friends do readings, one from the bible and one from the gita.

    Next an officiant will lead us into exchanging vows that we've written, exchange rings, kiss! and walk down the aisle together!

    I plan to wear a traditional sari for the wedding, but a white gown for the reception.
    He is wearing a tux throughout, with a matching duputta for the ceremony.

    I think all of our family and friends will appreciate the blending of two cultures...I am excited to see how it all turns out! 

    We're very lucky that our families have supported our decisions. We are also doing two menus for the reception, including indian food and italian food. This part seems to be more challenging than the ceremony :)
  • For you brides that are wearing a western dress in a fusion wedding or maybe have bridesmaids in regular western bridesmaids' dresses, I wanted to make one suggestion...  My mom has a sari business and sells these really pretty pashminas/wraps that would be great for bridesmaids.  They could give that bit of an Indian look worn over a bridesmaid's dress and still look very stylish.  The website is www.classicsilks.com.  I was thinking of this type in particular: http://www.classicsilks.com/shawls/ash050m7.html.  They're cuter than they look in the pictures - in fact I'm getting my mom to re-photograph them in a less matronly way so it's more representative of the real thing!  They are a very soft wool with a South Indian sari border and come in various colors.  You can wear them as wraps and shawls, but they're also soft and can be bunched up to be a scarf around your neck in the winter.  There are other silk stoles on the website also, but those are more ethnic.  I just thought these would be cute in that context so I figured I would suggest it.  If you would want to tweak them or wish they came in a different color, feel free to send an email through the website.  My mom is getting things made for people on special order all the time.  I think she has enjoyed doing that for customers over the years because she still hasn't gotten to plan a wedding for me :).  Soon, I hope!  So she has gotten her kicks helping random brides, lol.  Anyway, just an idea... 
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