Growing up on the north shore of Chicago, I spent many weekends dancing the hora or sitting through a bar/bat mitzvah service. By the time I was in high school putting on a yamaka and saying a blessing over bread was second nature to me. However, when my Jewish and non-Indian friends came over to my house for a family dinner they would experience a culture shock that was beyond anything they had ever experienced. The spices, smells, and colors were so foreign to them that I was always had to explain my culture and traditions to them. This was during the early 1990’s, and a decade before yoga studios, and Indian restaurants could be found in every strip mall.
As an Indian American (born and raised in the Chicagoland area) I take a great deal of pride in how mainstream society has embraced Indian traditions. However, there is still one Indian phenomenon that many Americans have trouble wrapping their minds around…INDIAN WEDDINGS! At our banquet facility hundreds of guests come through our doors each weekend. Singing, dancing, drinking, and always happy. Being an owner is the coolest job in the world because I’m surrounded by happy people all the time. What always cracks me up though, is seeing their eyes almost pop out when we host an Indian Wedding. The elaborate sights, sounds, and smells send the guests into a fun sensory overload. The minute they walk into the hall they are transported to an exotic world they’ve never been to before…and can’t wait to return to. It is with that I wanted to prepare you for what’s in store for you at an Indian Wedding.
Here are five things you’re going to experience:
1.- Beautiful Clothing with Amazing Colors: Yes you can leave your “black tie” attire at home. This is an opportunity to wear bold colors that are vibrant and lively. You’ll see Indians at the wedding dressed in the most gorgeous exotic and expressive saris and outfits. Gold will be in abundance as well, so bust out your finest BLING!
2.- Fusion Music of Bollywood songs with American top mixes: Everyone must dance at an Indian Wedding! That means YOU! Trust me, after a 2-4 hour ceremony there is nothing like the energetic release of hitting the dance floor and partying to familiar tunes with an Indian twist.
3.- Elaborate Food menus throughout the day: Our weddings often last 3 or 4 days, and there’s food to last 6 weeks. However, be warned there is no order to our buffet lines. I suggest finding an entry point wherever you can and fighting your way through it! You’ll thank me when you’re chowing down that delicious samosa, and drinking some yummy chai!
4.- Grand Bridal Entrances: The bride and groom arrive to the reception in something unique like segways, motorcycles, hoverboards, 2-seater bicycles or a sleek Rolls-Royce. What can I say, my people LOVE a good show! Indian weddings are about expressing and sharing abundance. It’s not about being gaudy (well in most cases it’s not), it’s about encapsulating the bride and groom in love and decadence for one weekend so that they start their lives together with a sweet taste of what could be.
5.- Tons and tons of Friends and Family. We see an average of 400 at guests at our Indian weddings at the Waterford: Don’t be intimidated by this number. Especially if you only know the bride and groom. Again, this event will last the whole weekend, so by the second day you’ll have cute/invasive Indian mothers and grandmothers you never knew before. That being said, the “diet” will have to start on Monday because everyone will force you to eat more Saag, Dal, and Naan every time they see you.
For more information on how to prepare for an Indian Wedding, or what to bring to one feel free to call us at 630-279-0270 or email me at Pritesh.Gandhi@waterfordbanquet.com We have a great deal of experience planning Indian Weddings and would love to help you feel more comfortable!
General Manager at
Clarion Inn & Waterford Conference Center