Enjoy Indian wedding customs at your non-Hindu wedding event

The Indian community in America is growing in size, and Indian music, Indian food, and Indian movies are growing in popularity. Yet Indian wedding traditions remain unfamiliar to most non-Indians. The typical Hindu wedding is a large, lavish affair, with a guest list and wedding budget 2-3 times bigger than the U.S. average. Staging a traditional Hindu wedding presents intense public relations demands, as two separate families are united and divergent interests must be served. And to many guests the meaning of Hindu wedding rituals is as incomprehensible as Sanskrit, the ancient language spoken by the pundit, the priest who presides over the Hindu wedding ceremony. But the colors, sounds, and tastes of a traditional Indian wedding have universal appeal, as evidenced by the popularity of Bollywood-style Indian movies and English-language films such as 'Bend it Like Beckham' and 'Slumdog Millionaire.' Indians in America are refreshingly open-minded about mixed marriage, flexible about rules, and happy to insert non-Indian elements into a Hindu wedding when the other partner isn't Indian. This tolerance is delightfully contagious. It has made Indian food, Indian music, and Indian movies even more appealing, and multicultural marriages between Indians and non-Indians increasingly commonplace. With a little inspiration and some imagination, Indian wedding customs are also being adapted to add extra color and excitement to non-Hindu wedding celebrations.

Indian Wedding Culture Is Complex, but Some Hindu Wedding Customs Are Easily Adapted

The traditional Hindu wedding unites entire communities, with elaborate preparations and carefully choreographed rituals of ancient origin. In America today, where wedding planning is complicated by full-time careers, traditional family tasks are often outsourced to professionals, typically Indian wedding planners who are familiar with Hindu wedding practices. But any Indian wedding remains a marriage of two families, not just a union of two people, with large guest lists, multiple interests, and complicated logistics. It's often a challenge to find wedding venues that permit the fire ritual that is central to every Hindu wedding ceremony. Reception sites that accommodate 1,000 or more guests are also in short supply. But hotels, vendors, and venues in American cities with significant Indian populations have made it their business to attract their share of the lucrative Indian wedding market. You don't have to be Indian to become your area's Hindu wedding expert, to service your local Indian wedding market, or to incorporate Hindu wedding elements tastefully into your non-Indian wedding.

Photo courtesy Purvi Shah

Course Video Tutorial: 'An Indian Wedding Planner Teaches Hindu Weddings and Music' (31:09)

Purvi Shah, the owner of Avant Planners, is a sought-after Indian wedding planner serving a growing portion of Silicon Valley's wealthy Hindu wedding market, a mobile community of technocrats with family and friends who travel frequently between the West Coast and India. These jetsetters commission and attend Purvi's elaborate Hindu wedding celebrations at hotels, temples, and wineries from Napa Valley to downtown San Jose. The information that she shares with Members is vital for non-Indian wedding planners, vendors, and venues wishing to tap the growing Indian wedding market or adapt colorful Hindu wedding customs, but lack cultural orientation or personal experience with this specialty. In this course video tutorial, Purvi teaches Members in-depth detail on key aspects of the traditional Hindu wedding ceremony and celebration, providing practical advice on how to adapt these elements to enhance a non-Indian wedding event. She conducts a live demonstration while directing the vendors for a 500-guest Indian wedding reception being held in the main ballroom of a major Hindu wedding venue, San Jose's Fairmont Hotel.

Purvi Shah, Indian Wedding Planner

Learn 12 essential elements of Hindu wedding tradition, Indian music, and Indian wedding customs:

  • The meaning of the Hindu wedding fire ritual
  • The role of the pundit and the place of Sanskrit in the ceremony
  • Traditional family obligations before the wedding day
  • How to choose an auspicious date and auspicious colors
  • Popular Hindu wedding design themes and how to carry them out
  • Alternating theme and color combinations between the ceremony and the reception
  • The sari, the turban, and the jewels
  • Traditional Indian music and tasty Indian food for any wedding event
  • Three common characteristics of traditional Hindu wedding clients
  • Three cultural facts every non-Indian wedding vendor needs to know
  • Three options for structuring the Hindu wedding planner's fee
  • The qualities required for a successful wedding planning career

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