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.

Wedding Planning 101: Save the Date Cards

Wedding save the date cards

There’s a ring on your finger, a groom on your arm, and a date in the books! The next few months will be a whirlwind as you begin finessing all the details of your special day, from flowers to cake to accommodations to honeymoon… but, if you’d like guests to actually attend your wedding, one of the first things you should put your mind to is your Save the Date! Here are a few key points to consider when ordering your Save the Date cards:

Letterpress save the date cards

First Impression. This really will be the first thing that your guests see regarding your wedding. This means that as fun and wacky your Halloween picture is of you two dressed up as a hotdog and hamburger, this probably isn’t the best choice for your save the date. If you’re including a photograph, this may be the first picture some people are seeing of your spouse-to-be! And of course, a Save the Date doesn’t need to have a photo at all if you don’t have one you love— we’ve letterpressed many gorgeous save the dates as an elegant first impression.

Visually Cohesive. You want your save the date to feel like it belongs with your other printed pieces. If you’re having a formal, elegant wedding, you may want to consider choosing a more formal save the date design. Better yet, when we work with a bride, we start with the invitation and then work backwards towards the save the date. After the bride has selected fonts and styling for the invitation itself (the main event!), we then apply those same character traits to the save the date, with varying details, and print that piece first. It is important that all of your printed pieces look like they are part of the same ‘family’ and coordinate well together.

Time Frame. The general rule for time-frame on save the date mailing is 5-months to 1 year prior to the wedding. However, traditional wedding invitation mailing etiquette dictates that the invitations mail drop 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding. This means that if you’re mailing the save the date 5 months prior to the event, you’re then mailing the invitation just a few months later.  Personally, I like when save the dates are mailed 6-7 months prior to the wedding. This gives guests ample time to make travel arrangements and book hotel rooms if necessary, but doesn’t feel too close to the invitation mailing date, either.

Content. The save the date typically includes the bride and groom’s names, the date of the wedding, and the city and state of the wedding. You don’t need to mention time or specific venue until the wedding invitation. Also, this is a great place to put a wedding website if you have one and even accommodation information if many people will be traveling. The more information you can give people, the less you’ll be fielding questions from guests! One hard and fast etiquette rule: don’t put your registry information anywhere except your wedding website and shower invitations. Don’t print it on the save the date, rather, direct people to the website where they can glean all of the information they’ll need to know, including registry.

Congratulations! It is definitely time to get started!

Sarah from The Happy Envelope

Tennessee wedding save the date cards