You’re aware of what goes on at the standard “American” wedding.
White poofy dress, tossing bouquets, throwing rice, tin cans on car bumpers — the whole nine yards.
As an event planner, though, you have to be aware that not every event you help put together will be what you’re culturally used to.
It’s important to be familiar with other cultures and their traditions in order to be a well-rounded individual. When you’re an event planner, it’s part of your job.
That’s why it’s essentially you need to be familiar with these Indian wedding traditions that will most likely be a part of any traditional Indian wedding receptions you help to host.
A Wedding in Three Parts
The standard American wedding will have two parts held on the same day: the wedding and the reception. In Indian culture, there are actually three parts: the pre-wedding party, the wedding itself, and a post-wedding festivity.
The pre-wedding party is the part of the tradition that will matter most to you as an event planner. It’s important to understand this party is before the wedding instead of after, like most receptions.
On this day, the families of the bride and groom get together in order to meet each other, dance and make merry.
The day of the wedding is decided by a Pandit, a person who selects the wedding date based on both the bride and the groom’s horoscopes. This signifies a blessed day for both of them, which explains the fervor before the wedding.
It’s traditional to not eat before the wedding if you’re the family of the bride. For some, this starts as soon as midnight hits on the day of the wedding. For others, this begins during the pre-wedding party. Set up a system for identifying members of the bride’s family and instruct any servers to not offer them food if they start fasting during the pre-party.
The final day , what most would think of as a true reception, is much more loose in nature.
Much of the traditional Indian wedding rituals were performed on the day of the wedding, which is typically a much more intimate affair. Indian weddings, and some pre- and post- wedding rituals, are held at home.
This party is perhaps more in line with what one typically thinks when they talk about a wedding reception.
There are drinks, music, dancing — some are more in line with tradition, like the common Punjab folk dance “bhangra,” while other aspects are more modern.
Finally, the most important aspect of a traditional Indian wedding is knowing the families involved, what they want and where they’re from.
Some want a blend of Western and Indian ideals, while others want strictly traditional ceremonies.
Depending on whether they’re from the Northern or Southern part of India, their food wishes may differ.
It’s always essential to know the person — or people — you’re hosting an event for.
The more information you get from them, the better the event will be.