8 Differences Between Indian and American Weddings

Do Indians really throw a better party than Americans? The ceremony length, the number of guests, and even the rituals–all of these aspects of a wedding in Indian cultures are completely different from that of American weddings! Here at Castleton Farms, as we prepare for yet another Indian wedding, we have done some research to provide you with a breakdown of just how different these two cultures really are in terms of weddings.

Differences between Indian and American weddings

The More, The Merrier.
The guest count is the most noticeable difference between the two culture’s wedding days. This is where the bride’s family likes to show off their money and hospitality–not to mention, Indian families tend to consider everyone they meet family–so they will typically invite as many people as he can afford! The guest count for an Indian wedding can range anywhere from 200 to 1,000 guests! In America, however, weddings remain a bit more intimate. Depending on the budget, the bride will send invitations only to close family and friends, bringing the average guest count in America to 130 or less.

Differences between Indian and American weddings

But What Will I Wear?!
In the United States, it’s typical for a bride to wear a white dress, though it’s becoming more common to see ivory, champagne, and even blush wedding gowns. The groom either sports a tuxedo or a suit, usually with a white shirt underneath and a splash of color in his tie. It is traditional, however, for Indian brides to model extravagant red, silk sarees on their wedding day. These beautiful and intricate pieces of handiwork can cost just as much as a wedding gown, if not more! Indian grooms wear embroidered sherwanis.

Differences between Indian and American weddings

A Girl’s Best Friend.
While American brides tend to choose simple diamonds, pearls or color coordinated pieces that fit their wedding day theme, Indian brides can vary greatly on what jewelry pieces they choose to wear on their big day. Some will wear an abundance of gold pieces and others may choose the royal rani look that features large polki diamonds. Either way they go, their lavish jewelry pieces will always be a matching set that compliments their wedding attire!

Differences between Indian and American wedding rituals

Differences between Indian and American weddings

More Than Just ‘I Do.”
We could write an entire book on the differences between Indian and American wedding rituals, but we’ll try to keep it short and simple! We’re all familiar with the American wedding processional order–begins with a traditional leading in of the groom and groomsmen, then follows the mothers and grandmothers. Next up: groomsmen, bridesmaids, and finally, the bride makes her big entrance, walking down the aisle, teary-eyed, with her father to meet her groom at the altar. The bride and groom then stand to exchange their vows and seal it with a kiss. However, Indian ceremony traditions are completely different than anything we’re used to. Their ceremony includes the barat, where the groom arrives at the venue on an elephant or horse, surrounded by his family who dance to music the entire way, and is welcomed by the bride’s family. Also, the Saptapadi is said to be an important ritual where the bride and groom will walk around the Holy Fire while saying a vow each time around. Whereas American ceremonies take as long as one hour at the very most, the main Indian wedding ceremony can last up to 3 hours.

Extravagant Indian wedding reception

Party of the Year Goes To…
The traditional American wedding reception immediately follows the ceremony and includes drinks, cutting of the cake, dinner, and dancing to follow. However, Indian brides, grooms, and their guests have to freshen up in between ceremony and reception because it’s such a long day. The Indian wedding reception is the huge celebration of the bride and groom coming together. Rumor has it, you don’t want to miss out on these parties!

Differences between Indian and American weddings

Are We There Yet?
Traditional weddings in America last the entire day for the bridal party and a few hours for the guests, with a ceremony lasting about 30 minutes, followed by a cocktail hour, and a 4-5 hour reception. Get this–Indian weddings can last anywhere from 1 to 3 whole days, if not more! These days consist of amazing rituals, including henna tattooing the women’s arms, hands and feet and eating LOTS of food.

More Than Just a Piece of Paper.
American wedding invitations can really be anything that the couple enjoys, whether that includes engagement pictures, beautiful calligraphy, or eye-catching artwork. Custom monograms are quickly becoming something every couple desires because it goes further than just the piece of paper. You can include custom monograms on your chalkboard signs, menus, and even the dance floor! Along with the American trend of choosing what reflects your wedding theme, Indian wedding invitations also have some brilliant artwork on them. However, the artwork on these invitations is extremely bright in color and has a cultural significance. The envelope that contains the invitations isn’t just a piece of paper to protect the card. It’s also made of silk, natural fibers, and bright colors–how cool!

Differences between Indian and American weddings

Forget About the Price Tag.
The average wedding cost in America depends on how many guests are attending and how much the bride is willing to spend on decor, flowers, the dress, and more. Typically, American brides will spend anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. On the other hand, Indian weddings tend to be over the top! The bride’s family spends their whole lives saving their money to spend on this one occasions, and the guest count, as stated earlier, is huge! Indian brides will have a ballpark budget of $50,000 to $100,000.

Despite the many differences between Indian and American weddings, at the end of the day, both cultures place a strong importance on uniting the two families and each hopes for a long, wonderful married life together for the newlyweds.

The First Look: A Bride’s Perspective

It’s incredible how ‘anti-first look’ I was up until about 3 months before our wedding. “No way is he seeing me until I walk down the aisle,” I told everyone (even when they didn’t ask for my opinion on the subject). I adored that traditional aspect of a wedding. I wanted it to be this grand, unforgettable moment – walking down the aisle in a white dress I’ll only get to wear once, Corey crying like a baby as he sees me for the first time, and our guests surrounding us, witnessing all the feels and emotions (and if it’s really dramatic like I expected, maybe Corey’s reaction would end up on Pinterest).

Groom's reactions on Pinterest

However, it only took about 10 minutes of observing post-ceremony family portraits at Castleton to change my mind. Instead of spending the first 45 minutes or so of wedded bliss alone, this couple spent it posing and smiling with 30 other family members, trying to get the kiddos to look at the camera, and sending bridesmaids to find cousin Jimmy, who’s already introduced himself to the fruit and cheese display. After all of that, the two still had to take bride and groom pictures! Guests travel from near and far for YOU, and trust me, they get a bit antsy when you’re not around because the party truly doesn’t start until you walk in.

As a bride who’s been there, done that, these are just a few reasons why I would choose to do a first look again and again:

Sharing initial emotions. If we had waited for the initial reaction to happen during the ceremony, I wouldn’t have been able to hug and kiss him and tell him how much I was ready to marry him. I wouldn’t have been able to hear him say how excited he was or if he liked my dress. We would’ve missed out on that private, intimate moment together.

Aisle jitters and distractions. I can’t explain how nice it was to see Corey, for the first time, while it was just the two of us, instead of in front of every single guest we invited. Walking down the aisle, I was too busy worrying if I had lipstick on my teeth or how fast we were walking or oh! there’s Claire, so happy she could come! Don’t get me wrong, it was still an emotional experience – you’re walking towards your best friend, your forever teammate. I still almost cried (I’m not a big crier, folks), Corey still quivered his lips, and our guests still made comments about how sweet his reaction was. Having a first look, for us, didn’t ruin “the big moment” of walking down the aisle.

Seeing you for you. The first look was a chance for Corey to assess my dress and adjust to how much makeup I was wearing (I’m a mascara-and-go kind of girl). At the ceremony, since he had already taken in how I looked, he could see me for me – his bride, walking to him ready to begin our life together. It was able to be more of a “Wow, this is really happening” moment.

Post-ceremony privacy. Because we agreed on seeing each other before the ceremony, Corey and I were able to have a much more intimate moment immediately following our announcement as Mr. and Mrs. We were able to knock out our bridal party and family photos before the ceremony, so afterwards, we could escape and be together, just the two of us (and the photographers and videographers, of course).

However, all of that being said, choosing to do a first look is completely up to you! It’s what worked best for Corey and I, but that’s not to say it works best for everyone. Talk to your fiancé about it! He might surprise you by having an opinion. In the end, it’s about what YOU want, not what the Internet tells you to do.

Read Corey’s perspective on our first look here.

Cayla + Michael: An Intimate Wedding


When Cayla + Michael approached us about their vision to have an intimate wedding at Castleton, we immediately knew this would be something incredibly special. The couple’s vision didn’t include a guest list of 250, a propped out photo booth, or enough DIY decor to fill our 108 acre property. They wanted a timeless event that was to be celebrated with their closest family and friends, so that’s exactly what we gave them.

With only about 20 guests, the wedding was simply charming. Cayla + Michael’s ceremony was held in the Bridal Pavilion – literally in the Pavilion, guests and all! Afterwards, they hosted an elegant dinner party in the Great Room of the Manor for their guests. All Occasion Catering brought in one of their finest menus, and the guests topped off their dinner with delicious creme brûlée. One of the best parts was Cayla + Michael didn’t have to spend hours saying “hello” and “thank you” to their guests – they could just say it across the table!

What fun we had planning this wedding, and we wish the newly Mr. & Mrs. Michael Dickenson nothing but absolute joy and happiness!





















Photography by Bryan Allen Photo

767 Days Later

These two waited 767 days to say ‘I do,’ so to say this day was highly anticipated is an understatement. Milestone Pictures perfectly captured every moment and feeling in this wedding video. An adorable (and creative!) first look, Jennifer’s classic look and cathedral veil, and a dance floor that wasn’t empty the entire night – it was a truly unforgettable event!

The Final Rose: Ella Nolan’s Wedding

Ella Nolan dancing with husband

And the final rose goes to…Tate! Ever wonder what happened to bachelorette Ella Nolan from Jake Pavelka’s season of the Bachelor? She recently became a Wallace! She found the one whom her soul loves, and they made it official in March at Castleton Farms. The absolute love and joy they have for the Lord and for one another is so evident, even through their wedding pictures! How lucky were we to celebrate with such a radiant couple. Thank you for loving each other so well!

Ella Nolan and husband's wedding


their story

After her time on Bachelor and Bachelor Pad, Ella had to go through a season of stalkers and endless friend requests. During that time, a guy named Tate sent her a friend request, but unlike the others, Tate + Ella were from the same area and shared mutual friends, and “that’s the only reason he was accepted…besides being a hottie of course!” She was praying that Tate was different from the rest of her stalkers who were ‘in love’ with her, and Ella said “Thank God he was! He was so much more than I could’ve ever hoped for.” Fun fact: Tate had no clue Ella was even on the TV series!


Ella Nolan and Tate Wallace wedding dance


how he asked

After 2 1/2 years of dating and a few discussions about our future and marriage, we set a date–after he asked my son Ethan for my hand in marriage of course!  The ring came a little after that conversation–two days before Christmas to be exact. Tate had been trying for months to surprise me with this big proposal, and I would either ask too many questions and ruin it or everything wouldn’t match up. So after work one night, I came home to a bubble bath and candles and my favorite wine. He started playing one of our favorite songs “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton and asked me then–over wine and a bubble bath!!”


Wedding bands and engagement rings


castleton bride

“In my line of work [at Bangs and Blush], I work with a lot of brides at many different wedding venues. Even though all are very beautiful, Casleton Farms was hands down my favorite! It was like a fairly tale dream of mine to get married there. From the first time pulling up to the gorgeous house and seeing the unbelievable grounds, I knew I didn’t want to experience our wedding day anywhere else!”


Castleton Farms Tennessee venue and property mapElla Nolan getting readyElla Nolan getting ready and dress detailsElla Nolan with bridesmaids getting readyElla and husband getting ready for weddingDress and ring detailsCastleton Farms Tennessee venue ceremony locationElla Nolan and Tate weddingBouquet and dancing at Tennessee weddingElla Nolan Tennessee weddingRustic wedding floral arrangementsRustic wedding cocktail hourRustic wedding 3-tiered cakeRustic wedding reception and moonshine barElla Nolan wedding receptionElla Nolan romantic wedding photographyElla Nolan and husband first danceElla Nolan Krispy Kreme wedding favorsElla Nolan wedding reception send off


| Photography by Ben Finch Photography |

Valentine’s Day Wedding: Until Next Year, Cupid Blitz

The first annual Cupid Blitz, our Valentine’s Day Wedding Experience, went off without a hitch! Our professional wedding staff designed and transformed the Carriage House into an intimate, romantic setting with ivory draping, live greenery, and rustic lanterns.

Valentine's Day wedding

Valentine's Day wedding decor


We kept it playful with a handmade, colorful photo booth, and the couples received a guestbook filled with polaroids from the event to cherish the memories forever.

Valentine's Day wedding handmade backdrop


Wedding guest book

Each bride received a bouquet that our staff arranged, and the delicious cake was provided by Scrumps.

Valentine's Day wedding bouquet Valentine's Day wedding bouquet Valentine's Day wedding cake stand


Sheree + Jordan:

One of the sweet couples shares their love story with us today!

Wedding bride and groom



their story

So, we met in high school. Actually, at a high school prom, but we didn’t go together. I was with an old boyfriend, and he with his friends. Somehow we all danced together and we met, and then we went our separate ways. A few months passed by, and my boyfriend and I had broken up. I went to the movies with one of my friends and we were waiting in the lobby for our movie to start and out walks Jordan with a group of friends. We reconnected and from then on we were the best of friends, with each other every day. After about 3 months of being best friends, we started dating. And now, our favorite “date night” is going to get ice cream and just enjoy each other’s company.


Valentine's Day wedding in a barn


how he askedHe asked me to marry him when we were dating for about 3 1/2 years. It was on his birthday (which he never wants to do anything for) when he called and told me to meet him at a studio where we were getting pictures taken. We got simple pictures made, and the photographer had me turn around for us to take a picture back to back. Then she told me to turn around and he was on one knee. They told me to look out the window and one of my best friends was standing with a big sign saying WILL YOU MARRY ME? Of course I had to say yes! She captured every reaction, and I’m so thankful to have the memories not only for us to remember, but for us to share with others.


Bride on a swing with ribbon and foliage

They said their next step is saving up for a place of their own, but for now they’re just enjoying the married life! We’re so thankful you all could be a part of our first Valentine’s Day experience and we wish you nothing but the best!

Wedding Video: Love’s the best thing we do

“…Because you’ve never caged me in, clipped my wings or made me miserable. Instead, you made me free.”

Our spunkiest bride yet shares some of the sweetest personal vows we’ve heard in this wedding video. We’ve loved you two from day one and we wish you all the happiness you deserve!

Experience Cupid Blitz

Valentine's Day wedding

Looking to have your wedding in the East Tennessee area but don’t want to break the bank? We’ve created a new way for you to experience Castleton Farms at a fraction of the cost! This Valentine’s Day – Saturday, February 14, 2015 – Castleton Farms is hosting the Cupid Blitz Experience, an all-inclusive event costing you only $2,000.

This Experience includes:

  • Two hours on property
  • Ceremony in one of our premier ceremony locations {The Manor or The Carriage House}
    • Up to 20 guests
  • Licensed Officiant
  • Bride’s bouquet and Groom’s boutonniere
  • Ceremony music – choice of 5 different Bridal Processionals
  • Photography session throughout Castleton’s 4 gardens
  • Image CD {50 to 75 images}
  • 10 spread hard cover album {Photographer’s choice of images}
  • 3 tier Wedding Cake by Scrump’s
  • Champagne toast for the Castleton Couple and up to 20 guests
  • Sparkler send-off

Since we want you to be able to enjoy your wedding day, stress-free, our professional wedding staff will handle all of the decorations so you don’t have to. The ceremony locations will be beautifully draped in soft, elegant fabrics making your wedding romantic and timeless. Fresh florals will be brought in by our florist Sam Franklin.

Elegant barn wedding with draping

Southern and rustic barn ceremony

After the ceremony, you are free to use all 4 beautifully landscaped gardens for a photography session with photographer Katherine Birkbeck.

Rustic fall Tennessee wedding

The Carriage House

Summer garden wedding

The Southern Gardens

Fall wedding in Tuscan inspired garden

The Vineyard

Wedding venue in the woods

The Woodland Gardens

We’re also offering complimentary services to arrange a reception at one of our Preferred Vendors’ locations for any bride who books the Cupid Blitz Experience.

Book before January 31st with a $200 deposit (normally $500!), and you will be entered to win the entire package for free! The drawing will take place on February 1st.

There are a limited number of spots available so book today and reserve your spot! If booked before January 31st with deposit, the balance is due February 1st. If booked after February 1st, payment is due in full.

Give us a call today at 865.376.9040 or email us at info@castletonfarms.com for more information.

Candice + Jim: A Romantic, Military Wedding

The rain couldn’t stop us from celebrating this wonderful couple a few weeks ago! While some brides would be a mess on their wedding day worrying about the rain, Candice saw it as an adventure. These two are beautiful inside and out, humbling themselves to fight for our country and finding the time to grow in love each day, despite their long distance relationship. Thank you for the joy you all have brought us here at Castleton and for reminding us what it’s all about–enjoying every little moment (from torrential downpours to double rainbows) and spending time with those you cherish most.

Rainy wedding dayPink and cream bridal bouquet

Rustic barn weddingMilitary wedding photography

their story

Jim and I met when we started ground school for T-45C advanced flight training in Kingsville, TX. We were in the same class and Jim immediately started asking to come over to study with my roommate and me. I’m still not sure he did anything more than distract us from studying but we had a great time. A few weeks later we were dating and the rest is history.

Jim is a Marine and I am Navy so that makes it interesting sometimes. Marine and Navy pilots train together until they earn their wings so that’s how we met in flight school. We began dating on January 28, 2011 and were both stationed in Kingsville until January of 2012. Jim received orders to fly the F/A-18 out of Miramar, CA (San Diego) and I received orders to fly the EA-6B Prowler out of Whidbey Island, WA (2 hours north of Seattle). Long distance isn’t easy, but we were very grateful to be in the same time zone. Since San Diego is a common base of operations for events, I had several opportunities to fly my jet down to visit Jim while he was there. Jim always said he would never get engaged before going through a deployment…he just never dreamed it would be the other person’s deployment. I returned from a nine month deployment onboard USS Nimitz (CVN68) just before Christmas last year and Jim caught an early flight to Tennessee on Christmas Eve to be with me.  We exchanged presents that night and Jim surprised me with beautiful diamond earrings (which he later referred to as his “decoy present”). I was blown away and so glad that we were together. He suggested we go to the airport on Christmas morning which was nothing unusual since my family and I lived there for many years. Growing up there was a dream and it is still one of my favorite places. After walking through the old museum, we went out to where my sandbox had been – just a grassy pile of sand now. He asked “You’ve got a lot of special memories here don’t you?” I said yes and turned around to see him kneeling down as he said “Why don’t we make one more.” I managed to say something resembling a “yes” and that was it. I was so surprised and happy. Jim recently moved to MCAS Beaufort, SC and we closed on our first house this month. We’re still trying to get used to the three hour time difference, but we couldn’t be more excited about the life we’re building for ourselves there. I will be in WA until 2016 but it’s worth the wait. Jim will be leaving for his first deployment just a few days after the wedding and I will begin transition to fly the E/A-18 Growler. Our lives are certainly never boring! Through it all we’re just thankful to have each other and always look forward to the times when we can be together.


Southern military wedding

Military wedding in the woodsBride and groom in a canoe




Danielle + Austin: A Southern, Black Tie Wedding Affair

Earlier this August, we helped celebrate the marriage of Danielle + Austin, daughter of one of our exclusive vendors, Cheryl McMillan from Cheryl McMillan Cake Design. It was hands down one of our favorite weddings to host! This couple’s love for each other is so evident, making them such a joy to work with. They are the reason we love what we do. Not to mention their big day was absolutely stunning! It was elegant, classy, and altogether a perfect day. Read all about their love story and wedding day and fall in love with these two as much as we have! P.S. Stay with us until the end to watch the cutest wedding video!

Southern wedding venue entrance Black tie wedding invitationsWedding dress photography

their story
Austin and I first met when we both transferred into Maryville College in fall of 2010. I was walking with a friend to the other side of campus and we passed a few guys standing in front of Thaw, which is the library at MC. I immediately said to my friend that I thought the one with the short hair was so cute. We were introduced and then we immediately became best friends.  I was seeing someone else at the time but Austin said that he liked me more than best friends but he respected our boundaries for our friendship and he told me that he would wait for me.  He was the first southern guy I really met and had a friendship with so I just thought he was crazy because NO Jersey guy would say that. Our first year at MC was great, we always had classes together, we’d hang out, and it was a great friendship and exactly what I needed after a huge transition with moving from NJ to TN. I even had Austin and a few of our friends over to have a big dinner at my house with my parents and Austin immediately clicked with my mom and dad. It was absolutely amazing! Right after the dinner was over, my mom asked me, “So when are you going to start dating Austin?” Clearly everyone else was on the same page. That next school year, exactly a year after we became best friends, we went back to school, were both single and immediately started dating. There was never a conversation about it, we just meshed together and we were officially an item. As for first dates, we really spent every single day together, we would eat every meal together at school with our friends, and when I would go to dance team practice, Austin was right outside at the baseball field because of course the baseball team and dance team were right next to each other. We would have classes together and would go study and do homework at the library together–well I would do homework and Austin would try to distract me! We’ve always had so much fun because our friendship was so strong and we never let that fade. Our love for each other just kind of happened.

The first time we said I love you and actually realized we were in love was great. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were sitting all the way in the nose bleed seats of the Predators game in December of 2011 and I had an overwhelming feeling of happiness and as I turned to him, he already knew what I was about to say because that’s how in sync we are with one another.  I finally let it spill out and without reservation he immediately told me he loved me back.  Now, as I look back on what seemed to be just an ordinary day, I realize that I will cherish that day forever because it was our first day of saying I love you for the rest of our lives. So we’ve been best friends since August of 2010 (four years) and we’ve been dating since November 26, 2011 (3 years).

Black tie wedding photos I’m a huge fan of this picture, because Austin, myself and my parents have such a close relationship, we literally double date and go out together and hang out together all the time. They are our role models for what amazing love looks like, for being great parents and for being just genuinely amazing people and Austin truly idolizes my dad, so this picture truly makes my heart happy to see such a beautiful connection and the happiness we all share is unlike any other relationship we have with anyone else. It’s one of a kind.