We (me, dh & ds) have been invited to an Indian wedding. My friend who invited us is the sister of the groom. I have asked my friend about the dress code, and I am going to get myself an Indian suit today (not red, white or black). She has told me that we can pick from the programme when we want to attend. This sounds strange to me. Will it not be rude not to come to the Arrival of Baraat or the Milni? Or is that mostly for close family/friends?
Also, what kind of gift should we bring? I've seen the gift bags online - Shagun bags - what do you put in them? Thanks for your help.
Is it a hindu wedding? It sounds like it, hindu weddings are usually divided into parts with different ceremonies. I have been to 2 in my life and they ended up being long days.
The arrival of the bhaarat refers to the arrival of the groom (who in my experience is usually late!)
If its an Indian muslim wedding, then it starts with the arrival of the groom, the marriage ceremony, dinner and the bringing together of the newly wedded couple.
. You dont have to arrive at the start, find out when dinner is likely to be served (depending on the start times of the ceremony it might be delayed a bit) and aim for an hour / 30 mins before. People are quite relaxed about arrival times.
Remember to eat a good breakfast & sandwich on the journey there as it might be 3pm before lunch.
It is not necessary to wear an indian suit. just wear what you would normally wear (ditch the micro minis & low cut tops :-) to a wedding. But you can if you want to, try bombay looks online for affordable suits. If you are going to a shop then take your friend with you as they will inflate the price because you are not asian.Prepare to barter hard!
Most people give cash now so put £20 in with the card and enjoy your day.
If it's a hindu wedding (which does have baarat and milni) then some pointers are
1. Indian timing is shocking! basically we put in our invites, a time minimum 60 mins before we actually want things to start as we know everyone is late. At our wedding, invite was for 1pm, at 2.15 my DH was still waiting in the car park as the hall was still empty!
2. The actual arrival of the groom is very entertaining but lasts about 5 mins. Then you have a very dull 30mins while there are prayers going on in the ceremony (and the guests are just mingling and chatting)
3. The arrival of the bride is normally the best bit and is usually 30-45 mins from when the groom makes his entrance.
4. About an hour into the ceremony is the actual marriage when the bride and groom walk around the fire. It's the bit most associated with indian weddings.
5. Guests are encouraged to eat when they want (it's buffet style) and the food is normally served from an hour into the service and goes on for approx 3 hours. Be warned that the queues can be very long and dull.
6. After the ceremony, the immediate family will then eat and the bride will have her goodbye/vidaai at the end - this is normally only immediate family and close friends.
If i am invited to a wedding and it's not immediate family, i tend to go for about 2-3 hours bang in the middle. So for example, if the invite says 12, i get there for 1, see the bride arrive, watch them go round the fire, queue and eat and then come back and have a photo with the couple (if i have been asked to), otherwise leave after eating.
gifts wise - no need for a shagun bag - this is what the grooms family give gifts in the to bride's family yes, cash is normally the way to go. The Hindu culture believes 1 and 5 are lucky numbers so £15, £21, £25 etc. If you don't know them that well, £21 us the norm. Normally there are 'postboxes' at the front for cards and gifts, and guests should post in the box that belongs to the side that invited them.