There is nothing more celebrated in the South Asian culture then weddings. South Asian weddings are like mini festivals, a family reunion of sorts, with excess amount of food and loud music. Your rank in your social circle is determined on how extravagant the wedding is. Weddings in general are the only time when people go all out, some go as far as to take out loans or sell their personal possessions to cover the cost. Planning for the wedding always starts out small, but ends up turning into a full-blown “party of the century”.
The planning starts with determining the guest list first, there are countless relatives and acquaintances to account for and then you have to factor in all the uninvited friends and family, who may or may not show up. After the guest list is composed, you have to book a venue that can accommodate the number of guests. While you are booking the venue, you also have to either arrange your own event decorator or go with whoever the venue has to offer. Now, that the guest list and the venue has been arranged, we come to the most important part of a south asian wedding, the food! Arranging the right caterer (great food and service) can make your wedding and if you don’t give the food aspect at the wedding that much importance and end up arranging a lousy caterer with mediocre food, it’s not going to go down well with your guests.
With a wedding comes guests, and in south asian weddings there is an overwhelming amount. You have to be very careful with who you do or don’t invite, because almost everyone in the south asian community feels entitled to receive an invitation. If you “accidentally” forget to invite someone, who you might consider an acquaintance, and they end up getting word of the wedding, most likely they will bring it up in every conversation they have with you and in your social circle, and in extreme cases they might show up uninvited. Uninvited guests are a nuisance, but nothing beats those guests who RSVP a couple of days before the wedding and then don’t show up.
So, it’s an unspoken rule that sort of has become a tradition at south asian weddings, cash is preferred over boxed gifts. Cash gifts are preferred because the money can be used to cover some expenses after the wedding or the bride and groom can do with it as they please. It’s a whole other issue, but this still happens in most parts of south Asia where the groom’s family asks for dowry from the bride’s family. Hopefully, with time more awareness is spread and this issue is completely rid of.
I love south Asian weddings, but I think as time progresses people are taking away the significance of what a wedding is supposed to be, and turning it into a showing off competition. If you have the means to throw an over the top wedding, it’s completely up to you, but I don’t think anyone should go out of their way and bury themselves in debt just to please some people, who they probably won’t meet until another family event. And, if someone is worried about “what will people think”, then I don’t think those people (your guests) are genuinely there for you, because if they were, then however you arranged the wedding it would be good enough for them. All in all the wedding should be a reflection of the couple and a happy start to the rest of their lives, a time they can look back on as one of the greatest days of their lives.
I wholeheartedly wish whoever is getting married or is married that you are blessed with love, happiness, good health, and prosperity. Remember to pass the cake!
-Ramblings of a Virgo