It is wedding season again in India, which means that every weekend and on particularly auspicious days even during the week there are several weddings taking place all over town. I don’t really like going to weddings but my wife Ramona does and she and Purnendu often also take our guests at the Ashram along. When they recently came back from a wedding, Ramona remembered how she, too, had been full of questions when she went to an Indian wedding the first time. I thought you all might enjoy reading about the impressions and questions of Westerners on Indian weddings:
1. Before starting to the wedding: Is it really okay if we come along?
Oh yes, it is absolutely fine! It is actually more than fine, everyone will be very happy if you join us! Indian hospitality is not famous for nothing! When a wedding invitation comes to our home, it normally comes addressed to one of us, saying ‘and family’ on top. Indians have big, joint families and they actually truly mean it.
Of course organizers try to have an idea of how many people will come – they will count their invitation cards and a certain amount of people per family. They all know that not everyone will come with all children and siblings but if they did, there should be enough food and they would be warmly welcomed!
When you are guest at an Indian home, you are a part of their family and you will be treated as one. This is Indian culture, this is their hospitality! So when you have guests at home and have an invitation for a wedding, they are just like your family and you can bring them along! So don’t worry, everyone will be happy that you will be there as well.
On top of it, if you are obviously non-Indians and the party is in a town where international tourists are not a daily sight, you will be an attraction. Other guests will be double happy – they can busy themselves by asking you for your name, where you are from and what you are doing there!
Indian weddings are usually filmed so that the groom’s and bride’s families have a movie to watch after the event, a memory to show to their children and grandchildren. As you are standing out of the crowd as a foreigner, it is well possible that you are going to be filmed a bit more often. Just smile and laugh – the wedding couple will look at their photos and film together later and will be happy about your happiness!
2. So can we take pictures as well?
Oh, please do! We Indians love pictures! Of ourselves, of us and of you! There may be children asking you to take their pictures and even adults. Everybody will get into pose when you take their photos and the organizers will be proud of their setup.
Yes, come along, enjoy, take pictures and get pictures taken – it is an event you won’t forget!
Tomorrow I will describe a whole such celebration in detail for you.