Congratulations on getting engaged and welcome to the Indian culture! The Indian culture is an amazing whirlwind of traditions and customs but also its fair share of fun. Plus, there’s always something to learn (even for me).
And if you’re an Indian bride getting married to your non-Indian fiance, get excited!
There’s so much culture to share with your new family. Whatever path you take in planning a fusion wedding, choose your own way. There is no right path. Read on for 9 essential fusion wedding tips to prepare you (fusion bride) for the unexpected! [Don’t get scared..]
1) Don’t get intimidated!
Yes, the Indian culture is intimidating and overwhelming at times. Don’t sweat it! You’re not expected to know everything. Be prepared to get confused – it’s OK. If you choose to include Indian traditions into your celebration, there’s a lot to learn. Take one step at a time. You have your new family to help you along the way.
FUSION WEDDING TIPS: Talk to your fiance’s sister/s and/or cousins. Chances are many of them grew up in the US (or another western country) and they can relate to being a part of each culture.
2) It’s OK if you don’t wear traditional Indian clothes to your wedding.
Yes, it’s OK if you don’t want to wear Indian clothes. There are so many ways to incorporate an Indian look without actually wearing Indian clothes. I may be the first to tell you that many Indian clothes are not comfortable. That said, there’s so many gown designs that look like they’re Indian already (not to mention quite modern). Add on some Indian accessories – including a tikka or a cute headpiece – and you’re good to go.
FUSION WEDDING TIPS: Check out my guide for fusion wedding tips on how to pick your dress.
3) Get ready for the dress changing
If you desire, change outfits many times! It’s normal to change into a new outfit for every event at an Indian wedding. Even guests change between events. That said, it’s your wedding. Make it what you want. Choose to wear one outfit throughout the day or change for each event. That’s the beauty of a fusion wedding.
FUSION WEDDING TIPS: If you plan to wear different outfits, pack each outfit in different bags (including accessories, back up accessories, hair accessories and shoes). You’ll have what you need when you need it without getting things confused.
4) There is no such thing as a Rehearsal dinner
Yup, you got it. No rehearsal dinner. If you’re having a Hindu ceremony, plan to go over the Hindu ceremony before going through it on your big day. Think: an informal walk through. Ask your future in-laws to go over some of the customs you’re planning to include in your wedding events. It’ll help you know what to expect before the big day. You’ll also be able to figure out if there’s anything you want to tweak at your events.
FUSION WEDDING TIPS: Use this time as bonding time with your new in-laws 🙂
5) Help your guests understand the traditions and encourage participation!
Once you get acquainted with the traditions and customs, help your guests do the same. Encourage participation whether you’re having a sangeet night (music/dinner/dancing event) or an all-in-one pre-wedding event. Guests want to be included and they’re more open than you think to trying new things. Who cares if nobody knows how to dance properly – they’ll all have fun dancing!
FUSION WEDDING TIPS: Give friends a heads up about dancing or activities that’ll occur and encourage participation ahead of time. That way, you’re not rounding up a crowd to dance during the actual event. Or better yet, delegate this task to a bridesmaid!
5) You have to play at least a sliver of Indian music if you want your Indian guests over the age of 40 on the dance floor.
I admit I’m not the biggest fan of Bollywood music myself, but it does get you dancing! Bhangra music is another fun favorite. Ask your DJ to get this music going and you’ll see your guests on the dance floor in no time.
FUSION WEDDING TIPS: Discuss your music plan with your fiance. If you’re keeping music at one event Indian and another not, set expectations beforehand.
6) Indian Aunties will come up to you like they’ve known you for years. It’s normal.
Even if you don’t know the aunty, it won’t be surprising if she talks to you like you’ve been friends for years. That’s her way of welcoming you to the Indian side.
FUSION WEDDING TIPS: Become BFF’s with as many Auntys as you can because you can get some yummy food from them soon!
7) Traditional Indian wedding planning is a family ordeal
Indian weddings traditionally involve the entire family. From the point of getting engaged to planning the wedding, to the actual wedding events. It’s never us and them. Keep this in mind when planning your wedding. You may get some extra involvement from your MIL (good or otherwise) that you weren’t expecting. Set expectations with your fiance and use his help with facilitating conversations with the family.
FUSION WEDDING TIPS: If there’s one thing you’re willing to compromise on, do it! [Yes, you can pick ONE thing.] A little compromise goes a long way with any type of wedding planning.
8) Embrace the journey
The great thing about being Indian is that our culture is so welcoming. “You want to be Indian? Sure, come and join us!” says any Indian person. Also, it’s OK if you don’t like spicy food (I don’t). Your journey to being a part of the Indian culture has just started – embrace the journey!
FUSION WEDDING TIPS: Immerse yourself in Indian culture before your wedding. If you have the opportunity to attend an Indian wedding before your wedding, go! You’ll get a head start on knowing what to expect.
9) Take it all in and enjoy yourself!
Whether you’re a fusion bride or not, take a moment and take it all in. I didn’t realize what simple yet important advice this was until I did it myself at my wedding. Enjoy yourself! Nobody will remember if you messed up while trying to dance to Indian music. They’ll remember the exciting experience (and you’ll remember having fun)!
So don’t get intimidated. The journey is part of the fun. Make your wedding what you want it to be, and don’t forget to have fun (and some samosas) along the way.
Related Post: What to Expect as an Indian Wedding Guest
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