View Full Version : Indian summer? Nope an Indian wedding!

1st Sep 2008, 13:08
The wife and I have just been invited to the wedding of an Indian couple who are friends of a (Indian) friend.

The couple are Hindu and I've never met either one and I don't think my wife has either. The invitation has a line on the bottom saying 'No boxed gifts.'

I'm sure I'll be able to find out these things elsewhere, but thought I'd asked fellow JBers if they know how we should approach this. Do we buy the couple a gift? If so what, we've never met them.

Is it like a Chinese wedding where money is the gift? If so, how is it presented? EG In China (Hong Kong) it was in a red lai see envelope.

Or don't we give anything?

Anything else we should watch out for? Luckily I love Indian grub!

1st Sep 2008, 13:26
It Normally means that gifts in the form of CASH.

Hope this helps

Track Coastal
1st Sep 2008, 13:36
I've never met either one and I don't think my wife has either
How did you score an invite?

I love weddings, especially ones with exotic cuisine (and good 'refreshments'). If there is some methodology in getting invited to weddings of people you are not related or aquainted with - I want to know!

1st Sep 2008, 14:24
Knew I should have explained in the original post!

We got the invite cos the girl in the couple is the niece of our Indian friend and she's met our kids while helping supervise a sleepover at our Indian friend's.

So we're being invited because our kids obviously behaved that night! :confused:

1st Sep 2008, 15:11
Crikey, I wish I could afford to invite the parents of a random child my better half had met to our wedding!

1st Sep 2008, 15:52
Sounds to me more like a business venture than a celebration, thought up by the distaff side.

The business plan goes like this:

If we hire the hall/hotel/marquee for £xx, and spend £xx on catering, and invite yy guests, we'll be spending £zz/couple. Assume we get an average gift of £aa, then we'll make £bb profit overall.

I'd turn down the invitation, and send a condolences card to the groom.

1st Sep 2008, 16:11
If it says no boxed gifts, yer can get away with givin em a can of beans.:E

1st Sep 2008, 16:14
Why not ask the niece herself as to what the protocol is. I know at a Sikh wedding it'd be cool just to turn up and bring your smile with you, that's more than enough.

1st Sep 2008, 16:18
Comically at a Sikh wedding the following can be taken as gospel, well almost but should give you some idea of what to expect. (I posted this some time ago and knew it would come in handy again).

If you are invited to a Sikh wedding, dont panic, here is an insiders guide to what each bit on the invitation card really means.

1.Reception of Barat

The Barat is the Grooms tribe which invariably arrives late in dribs and drabs and in a state which thinly disguises the fact that many have had a skinful from the night before and very little sleep. The reception usually takes place at the entrance to or in the courtyard of the Gurdwara (temple) and takes the form of much shouting and wailing (mainly by women and girls) commencing from the moment the hordes first come into view.

To the finely tuned ear it is obvious that these tongue-in-cheek juicy insults are attempted to be set to a tune but very little rehearsal time may be just one of the causes of the non-synchronised efforts. But hey whatever tickles their fancy and after all it's tradition (or so I'm told).

When the 'opposition' has been lined up in a stand off position, the Ardas (equivalent of the Lords Prayer) is mumbled by the Giani (Priest, the learned one or someone on a visitors visa and here for the money :) and mimed by the rest of the shameless (likes of me I'm afraid). Non-Sikhs are advised to take off their shoes and cover their heads (not with the shoes silly) and observe and copy the rest in silence or else. :p

2.Milni & Tea

Milni is loosely translated as to meet and is the formal meeting of the heads of the households (who wears the trousers). It takes the form of exchange of token gifts (like team captains at football matches swapping pennants) but some flash gits have ruined this otherwise laudable tradition and try showing off by showering all the chieftains from the Grooms tribe (his old man in particular) with tons of unsavoury and tasteless jewellery. This could involve hundreds of people some of whom only come out of the woodwork at this time and are seen only at weddings. This palaver goes on for what seems likes hours but but is over in 20 minutes tops.... The more orthodox concentrate on perhaps the Bride and Grooms legitimate fathers and one or two decent uncles.

Having had embarrassing photos taken of the fake loving hugs during the exchange of gifts, there is usually a mad rush by the Grooms tribe to where the food is. The food (at this time of the morning) usually comprises samosa, pakoras, jalebis, ladoos and barfi served with steaming hot tea in cramped conditions and with disingenuous smiles for the sake of the video man who seems to use up any last inch of space that might otherwise have been available. He also proceeds to turn on all his lights and push the temperature beyond comfortable whilst proceeding to shove his camera in everyone's faces with gay abandon, oh dear ... who needs CCTV this guy will tell you exactly who turned up to the wedding.

Whilst having your tea it's always a good moment of pause to check out all the bad suits i.e. 2 sizes too big, bad colour coordination or any other unsavoury fashion moments. Checking that you've got your carnation pinned to your suit securely you start thinking about making your way to the actual wedding hall upstairs. Maybe the last opportunity before the ceremony to meet a few relatives you haven't seen in a while and hear that they're married now, got that fantastic job paying a fortune, expecting their first child and isn't their new Mercedes parked nicely... I'm feeling ill already.

3.Anand Karaj

This is the religious bit and takes place in the Darbar Sahib (main hall) where the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Book) is present.The Granthis (those who supposedly know how to respect the Holy Book unlike us the rest of the great unwashed) and Gianis force the intended victims (the couple) to sit cross legged in front of the Holy Book with a posse of female minders to prevent any escape attempts with the rest of the sleepy congregation/guests behind them.

The bride is then brought into the hall by her entourage of brothers and members of her family as if she's just cleared some kind of security check. And sits down next to her co-accused (husband to be :)
After the spiritual rituals of identifying the guilty parties (by making them stand up when all else are asleep in a whacked out and uncomfortable to fart positions) and another (silent) Ardas, the religious wedding bit takes place by the Groom dragging the Bride around the Holy Book four times the Bride is usually comforted/consoled by the brothers during each of the laps as they are equally distributed around the good book. The couple attempt to time each lap to coincide with the completion of the verse singing (believe that bit's more truth than fiction) by the now drowsy Gianis before sitting down in their original spots. After the four laps are completed they're married and you almost sense a sigh of relief from the borderline fainted congregation suffering in the ever increasing cross legged position.

Unfortunately this seems to the ideal time for the usual clowns of the Temple committee to subject the couple and the rest to endure a series of hymn singing (no it's not a sing along), advice from hypocrites (always a favourite laugh for me)and pleas for contributions to the building fund, whether natural or man-made disasters and directions to the 'booze palace' before being set free by a final verse from the Holy Book and the receiving of Holy Food (Karah Parshad). The couple then just sit there like lemons so the punters can pat them on the head and pose for photos/video shots of them giving dodgy money (Scottish £1 notes, cheap skates) before pushing and shoving everyone else to find their shoes and illegally parked motors so as to get to where the booze is - fast.

4. Reception

This is often in a hall which is never large enough but miles away in an alien town forcing many to resort to dragging along someone 'who knows where it is' or more comically a long line of people desperately following each other around some City Centre one way system. Anyway having finally reached the hall everyone breathes a sigh of relief. As always the hall seems to be a bit on the small side, the reason for this is two fold one, Western society just cannot comprehend the size of Sikh events (we always want to be bigger and possibly better than everyone else) and two, loads of gatecrashers/freeloaders tend to crawl out of the woodwork knowing there is going to be free booze, food and pretty women at the do.

At the hall, more by chance or luck than judgement or planning, nibbles, soft drinks and beer is laid out before guests arrive by which time spirits start materialising in plentiful quantities. The tandoori chicken, lamb and the like are served to semi-pissed guests who are also semi-deaf by now due to extremely loud music being throbbed continuously since their arrival by some bozzo DJ that 's in danger of getting his gold chain dangled with the turntable.

After about two hours, everyone picks themselves off the floor to acknowledge the arrival of the married couple (who no doubt get themselves changed and freshened up before getting to the reception ..... finally) who then eventually cut the cake, attempt to dance and then tuck into their packed lunch (just joking). The main course is served soon after to allow the puke ups to have that special colour and stench before the usual fights break out (don't ask).

Eventually, people start leaving, often of their own accord or with friends/relatives who can still remember where their cars are parked and sometimes accompanied by police or immigration officers.

Though most of the guests are now heading home, just around the corner puking up with a not so sympathetic partner telling them it's all their fault or claims of innocence to his wife that it was actually the girl who came and started chatting him up.

The close family and some of the die hards head back to the girls house to help see her off the very last stage of the day and then after all the emotion of the day is finally over and the last few stragglers start setting off too. At this point people start realise how tired they really are and how bloodly far they have to drive in order to get home. If you're drunk (most probably) then your other half will have to drive ... don't expect any conversation during the trip back other than “I'm can't take you anywhere”.

Next morning, tell everyone at work about what you did over the weekend.

5. Finally

The times on the invites are indicative only and no account should be taken of them add half an hour (at least) for each successive item throughout the day.
As I always say “I only attend Sikh weddings for the chaos”.

Women who definatly wish to wear short skirts to the Gurdwara should only do so if they got legs worth looking at and dont care if they look stupid trying to sit cross legged on the floor with their knickers showing. But hey I'm not complaining :)

There is never a wedding list for presents but book tokens are definitely out.

Spare a thought for the (now) poor bugger who has to pay for all of this.

1st Sep 2008, 16:37
I have no experience of Sikh or other Indian weddings. But if 'boxed gifts' are unwelcome, I'd take it at face-value, literally...

That would mean, if you're giving the newly-weds a new Miele Professional model washing machine, then it should be removed out of its' original cardboard packaging, therefore completely exposed and open to scrutiny to all present. Allowing much uhmming and ahhing and appreciation. If however, your idea of the ideal wedding gift was a miniature fan-equipped fork, then please do wrap it well and ensure there are no 'from-to 'labels affixed...?! I think that's the general idea, but I've been known to be wrong...?! :ok:

1st Sep 2008, 16:55
angels - I've seen "No gifts", "No gifts or flowers" and "Gifts in blessings only" before, but never "No boxed gifts".

So I suppose cash will do, as will a bouquet (or both).

By chance, do you know which region in India this Hindu couple is from? Rituals, like cuisines, differ wildly.

boogie-nicey - Brilliant! I have never been to a Sikh wedding, the only one I am invited for in October is one I will be missing! I have been to a Punjabi wedding, though, and it was not quite the same - it was still a whole lot of fun :)

The times on the invites are indicative only and no account should be taken of them add half an hour (at least) for each successive item throughout the day.

As I always say “I only attend Sikh weddings for the chaos”.

Just half an hour? Wow, they do things rather punctually out there! :p

And what is an Indian wedding without chaos? :D

1st Sep 2008, 18:00
Don't forget the point where the groom rubs the red spot off his bride's forehead to discover whether he's won a filling station or a corner shop.

DX Wombat
1st Sep 2008, 18:17
Boogie, I'm still crying with laughter. Although I haven't been to a Sikh wedding I have heard many a tale from patients (I was a District Midwife) and former colleagues. I have also seen the long cavalcades of lost, but seemingly very happy, guests wending their way through the city eventually parking haphazardly on verges for several streets around the ultimate destination. A truly priceless account. :D :D :D

2nd Sep 2008, 01:01
Thanks Boogie. I just wet my pants. Brilliant. :ok:

2nd Sep 2008, 11:54
That's brilliant. Sounds much like the Muslim wedding my Mum went to. She swears there were at least 1500 people present. :ok:

12th Sep 2008, 15:43
Thank you the kind comments regarding my last post, I think you know how my mind works now... always see the funny side to things in life. But hey-ho as long as everyone's having a nice time then it's all fab!

12th Sep 2008, 20:02
lexxity - hey! we resemble that remark!

Eldest sister's wedding had guests numbering in the high three-figures. And 90% of them were from our side! :uhoh: