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  1. Winifred Rosenburg

    My husband and I received four invitations (in one envelope) for a Hindu wedding and related events. I have so many questions!

    1) The first invitation is for a Mehendi Ceremony. The invitation lists the ceremony for 3:30pm onwards and dinner at 7:30pm. Should I plan on being there the whole time or would it be alright for me to stop by for a little while to say “hello” to everyone? I’m wondering because of the use of the word “onwards” and also the fact that unlike the other three invitations this one does not request an RSVP.

    2) The second invitation is for a Raas Garba. My extremely limited knowledge of this event is that it is a dancing festival. Will everyone be expected to participate in the dancing? In other words, if I’m not an adventurous dancer, should I not go?

    3) The third invitation is for the wedding itself. It lists Barat at 9:15am, Wedding Ceremony at 10:15am, and Lunch at 12:00pm. I believe Barat is a procession of the groom’s family. Since I am not part of the groom’s family, should I go to the Barat or just be there before the ceremony starts?

    4) The fourth invitation is for the reception, starting at 6pm. I know it is normally frowned upon to go to a wedding reception without going to the ceremony, but if my husband is not able to take off work that day would it be alright for him to go to the reception after work? I’m wondering because the ceremony and reception are two separate invitations with two separate lines on the response card. I plan on going to the ceremony and reception regardless, and if it would be rude for my husband to just go to the reception, I’ll go by myself. Also, the invitation says “We respectfully request no wrapped boxed gifts.” I’m guessing this means not to bring boxed gifts to the reception but I could still send a boxed gift ahead of time? Or does it mean only monetary gifts are acceptable?

    Thank you in advance to anyone who knows the answers to any of these questions!

    • Alicia

      First I am not 100% sure on my answers as I only have been to one wedding like this.
      Mehindi- yes assume it will take a very long time as likely you will get henna on your hands and designs as well as dry time as extensive. It is one of those rare yet awesome fun things to do. Try it.
      Rass Garba- No you do not have to dance but the dancing is there and so much fun and different then typical american wedding dances do try and have fun
      Barat- I am not sure
      Reception- yes have husband go to reception even if can not make rest of wedding due to unable to get off work

    • What a fabulous new experience! I have no idea how to answer any of your questions (helpful, right?!), so I would suggest asking whomever it is you know about the various ceremonies. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to admit your ignorance of these traditions and I’m sure your friends would love to teach you!

    • Elizabeth

      I went to a Pakistani wedding, and the Mehendi was the song and dance event combined with the ritual application of henna. It sounds like in an Indian wedding these two things are separated.

      In any case, I think your questions are best addressed to the hosts of the wedding. “No boxed gifts” sounds like they would prefer a monetary gift, though if you want to give a physical object I would send it to the home in advance rather than bring it to the reception.

      I think you are in for a treat! Wear your most colorful clothes! The food should be amazing as well….

  2. Nina

    I have no idea about the rest, but I think the “no wrapped boxed gifts” refers to the fact that they may have no way to transport dozens of large boxes away from the wedding at the end of the day. I think many brides and grooms try to discourage bulky gifts at the wedding itself for that reason, but I’ve never seen it on the invitation. A card, with or without a monetary gift, would be find, because even 100 cards will still fit in someone’s handbag. I’m not sure whether they’re indicating they don’t want physical objects as gifts at all–if so, that’d be kinda tacky so I’d just assume not. Give what you were going to give, but if it’s an object, send it before or after the big day.

    And have fun–sounds like an amazing time!

  3. Becky

    will the couple have to fly with the gifts afterwards? if so, the no ‘wrapped’ boxed gifts could relate to airline regulations rather than gift preference.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      No, the couple lives close to the wedding, but I thought they might be concerned about there not being a good, secure place for the gifts during the reception. Thank you all for your insights!

  4. Katie K

    Hello Winnifred, I am not an expert on Indian weddings, but I can offer some insight on your questions.

    1. For the Mehendi ceremony: I believe it’s fine for you to “drop in”. You can have henna painted on your hands if you’d like. It will last a day or two.

    2. There is a lot of dancing, but its fun and casual. You will not feel out of place if you can bob in time to the music!

    3a. You are welcome (and encouraged) to join in the Barat, which will be a fun outdoor “street party” as the groom and his family process to the wedding. Be ready to clap in time to the music!

    3b. The wedding ceremony is very different than a “western” wedding and you may be surprised at the amount of activity going on in the room at the same time. Sometimes snacks are served during the ceremony!

    4a. Yes, it’s ok for your husband to attend the reception even if he wasn’t able to attend the ceremony (that’s why they sent separate invitations for each event).

    4b. Cash is the traditional gift given at Indian weddings; but you certainly may give a different gift and have it delivered to the bride’s home.

    Wear colorful clothes – even a sari if you want to. We were asked not to wear black to the ceremony, but it was fine for the other events.

    Of course, you can check with the bride or groom for more specific information.

    Indian weddings are fun, family oriented events, and I’m sure you’ll have a great time!

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