So I got engaged at 23, married at 24, and first baby at 28. Sounds pretty great right? Though I am very happy and beyond grateful for the turns my life has taken, I can’t help but look at my friends with envy who are getting married now, with an abundance of resources and South Asian wedding vendors at their fingertips. Getting married in 2010, the South Asian wedding market was skyrocketing, but I hadn’t yet discovered many of the popular blogging sites, Maharani Weddings, South Asian Bride, My Big Fat Indian Wedding, etc. And Pinterest was only beginning to gain momentum at the time. Therefore many of my wedding visions were restricted to what I had already seen and witnessed at weddings I had attended, which at 23 wasn’t very many. That limited vision coupled with hosting a large event in Wilmington, Delaware, where South Asian vendors were scarce, I was really struggling to get the right mix of Indian American culture and heritage to resonate in my wedding. Now I find myself attending weddings thinking, man the bride’s hair looks so good, her saree is draped so well, I wish I could relive the wedding fun all over again! I know, clearly first world problems, it doesn’t keep me up at night, but it does make me excited to see the US embracing and encouraging the Indian-American weddings with such fervor and spurring the creation and establishment of expert south Asian wedding vendors.
But I must admit, there was also a charm in the early years before the social media takeover. Nowadays there seems to be so much fierce competition and an even more intense need to stand out – to have the most delectable menu, to have the most creative centerpieces, to have the greatest wedding entrance, perched atop a horse or elephant or seated in a limo or rickshaw, and to have it all captured beautifully and instantaneously and then immediately uploaded to all of your closest 500 friends. And that burning desire to stand out is especially magnified when individuals are the last of their close friends to get married. Their fears are that their now married friends, mom friends, and jet setting career friends will be too involved and too far removed to even consider participating in all their wedding festivities, let alone be dazzled by their event. They feel like they need to catch up and they feel like now that its their turn, all eyes will be much more critical as we all have seen and lived through the wedding process. In truth, as years pass, styles are ever evolving and the wedding industry is no exception with most all wedding vendors constantly looking for new and innovative ways to please their clients.
Here are few tips to keep in mind when starting out in the wedding planning process. Your save the dates and wedding invitations are your guests’ first glimpse into the heart and spirit of your wedding. You want wedding invitations that capture that spirit and make it hard for people to say no, because of FOMO on a good time! You want to create that feeling of excitement as guests receive your personalized beautifully designed invitations amid all the anonymously addressed junk mail. As largely first generation South Asian Americans, we are all too familiar with the dichotomy of maintaining our South Asian heritage and blending it with our American customs, jeans and sandwiches during the week and cholis and masala dosas over the weekend. Let your invitations speak to that dichotomy and blend of cultures. Clearly address guest names to avoid receiving vague RSVP cards or additional unwanted guests. Additionally, its still quite popular for many brides to purchase traditional wedding cards from overseas, seemingly to be more cost effective, but the added shipping costs, the resulting difficulties in communication, time difference leading to delays in production, and various differences in social etiquette, can really make the design process quite stressful! Not to mention that you fall in love with an invitation, only to bring it home and realize it takes more than two stamps to mail each invitation! Lastly, remember to have fun with your invitations and explore more modern color palettes beyond the traditional colors of gold and red.