Friday, October 16, 2015

Ask Firangi Bahu: "Who pays for the wedding???"


Sharing a letter from a reader....


"Hi Alexandra,

We are currently planning our wedding and I am in a dilemma - maybe you can ask this question to your readers. In an intercultural relationship - if the male partner is Indian and the female partner is European - who pays for the wedding???

While in India it is expected that the bride's family organizes and especially pays (!!) for the wedding.... in Europe (or at least in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, etc.) the couple themselves saves, pays for, and also organizes the whole wedding. And how some Indians are, even if it is obvious that their son is in an intercultural relationship, they of course still expect the girl's family to pay for a full-on Hindu wedding with nothing from the other culture included.

How can the Indian family expect the Western family to pay for the entire wedding which is not of their dreams???

I wonder how other couples handled their wedding planning.

Of course, if the girl's family is wealthy then I'm sure there would be no discussion. But when the girl's family is an average, hand-working family, is it normal for them to pay for the entire Indian wedding?"


--------

Dear readers, who paid for your intercultural wedding?
And how did you decide who was to pay for it?
Do you think there are some stereotypes at play here (ie. all Westerners are filthy rich)?
Is it reasonable to ask only one side of the family to contribute financially?
How did you honor both cultures in your intercultural wedding?
SHARE:

23 comments

  1. I have some experience with this since my husband is first generation Indian American. In short, your in-laws my THINK that your parents are going to pay for a huge Hindu wedding, but the reality is that your parents are not Indian and do not have the same expectation, so they’ll need to be corrected on that one My advice to you is to sit down with your husband, just the two of you, and discuss what YOU envision for your wedding. Do that now before the parents get too carried away with wedding planning. Once you know what you and your husband want, you can set appropriate boundaries. Maybe you decide you want a Hindu wedding, but that the size of the guest list will need to be small or closer to Western standards. Maybe you decide that you want to blend both cultures in the ceremony. Whatever it is, make sure you and your husband have a vision for what you want so that you can present a united front when dealing with parents and their expectations. I personally wish that my husband and I had done this in the beginning – it would have saved us a lot of stress. As far as your in-laws expecting your parents to finance this 100%: they’ll need to be told that this isn’t a rule in Western culture, and furthermore they don’t get to spend other people’s money. Letting them know that your parents will be contributing 20k, and you and your husband are going to have a blended wedding, or a small Hindu wedding, or whatever right from the start is the best thing that you can do. Be very clear and specific on this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi LW - with two different cultures and two different way of doing things I think you guys need and should pay for your own wedding. Not only will this spare both set of parents to get into their savings or going into debt to bank the wedding but also you will have control and say in everything that goes on. Things will be done your way.

    My hubby is Indian and I am Latin and we paid for our wedding. We had a non-denominational ceremony in Long Island,NY.

    My family knew not to interfere but his mom was always trying to insert herself in everything and doing things behind our backs in India. My hubby had to tell her to back off and that all she needed to do was to show up and enjoy the wedding (hard to say and swallow since he is the only son). We had a fantastic time and actually she was so happy and surprised as how good everything turned out

    We surprised each other - he hired a mariachi band and I change into a lehenga mid reception. Neither one of us knew what the other was doing. But honoring some part of his culture was important to me as apparently was to him.

    Don't overthink this. Talk to your fiancee and decide what will be best for you both. There is no wrong way of doing things just think that things are not black and white anymore when it comes to who is financing a wedding. Good Luck,

    Millie B

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I (Indian) and my wife (Japanese) married, we paid for everything including wedding and receptions. We married in court in US and had a reception in US that was attended by both set of parents and siblings who live in India and Japan. We paid for the reception and travel expenses for both set of parents.

    For reception in Japan that was not attended by Indian-side, my in-laws arranged everything (much easier for them than us remotely) and initially paid. For reception in India that was not attended by Japanese-side, my parents arranged everything and initially paid. Though we never asked how much both sets of parents spent on events in Japan and India as it is considered impolite culturally, we gave both of them enough cash indirectly to cover the expenses from our guesstimates.

    > who pays for the wedding?

    IMO, I will suggest that you both pay for everything wedding, reception and associated events related wherever the events are held. You both pay for everything irrespective of where the events are held.

    > still expect the girl's family to pay for a full-on Hindu wedding with nothing from the other culture included

    Just pay for the wedding and say it came from girl's family.

    > How can the Indian family expect the Western family to pay for the entire wedding which is not of their dreams?

    Two different cultures are marrying so you need to oblige to both cultures. Whenever there is a clash of norms between the two, pick the one that creates the least friction for everyone. This will go a long way to harmonious marriage and relationships with everyone. This applies to not just wedding but also to the life after wedding.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, as a westerner also planning a wedding with an Indian man, honestly, in this case you're going to need your fiance to step up. My boyfriend knows that my parents have absolutely no room in their budgets for paying for our wedding, and right from the beginning it was decided that we would pay for the wedding ourselves. If my in-laws want a bigger wedding than we can afford, then they can pay for the extras, beforehand (my MIL has a habit of promising money and then never delivering). If the both of you are at an agreement, then you have each others support. Dont let someone bully you into a wedding that you either dont want or cant afford. Its your wedding, not your in-laws.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well as for me and my husband, we had an hindu Indian wedding in a small village in Punjab (we now live in France). The small wedding itself was paid by ourselves; first i had to talk with my husband to make him understand that I didnt want to invite the entrire village and I certainly was not going to get a huuge amount of money from my parents (and i had just done my masters so i hadnt that much money saved) snd asked to split costs between us two. He agreed. The wedding was during daytime, around 2pm. We had food only for my side of the family (the building was a old haveli so it had three floors) after all the ceremonies. From my side maybe 20 people were there. The whole thing lasted not too long. We said to his parents that whatever more they want they have to arrange. So, in the evening we had a BIG reception from husbands side. I let my mother in law to decide, invite and plan everything as they also paid. Only that i didnt want a stage as i wanted to make myself comfortable and dance and enjoy my own wedding.
    I designed my own wedding lehengas (one for day and one less heavier for the reception) and got then done in India for 1,5 lakhs together. Jewellery took another 1,5laks. All togehter with the buses from Delhi to countryside (we rented our own comfortable bus for a week) and everything else, it was around 10 000€ all together, not at all that much when splitted in half. Big cities are the most expensive, i wanted to be in udaipur so much but with the prices it was not an option.
    I must say be very clear with your in-laws and make sure your future husband has the courage to explain to them. I tried but due to language difficulties (my hindi has accent and their english is also not the best) its better if he does it and then they also feel less hurt by that. But before that make sure you both agree and he isnt going to then agree with his parents!! I did this mistake with ring creremony (engagement party) and that wasnt at all fun as my idea of a small event is 60 guests and his was 400 guests so be very specific.
    Best of luck to you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And moreover, you have to discuss about the details of your relationship beforehand, like what to say. In the engagement party, one of his uncles said that we should buy a house in India and not return to France (he had lived in France several years) and I loudly announced that we actually live together already. He happened to be something like a priest also. So he was really shocked.
      After that my husband was really angry to me but I was also to him, why should I have lied about us, its nothing shameful to live together. After that we greed that I may tell it to the younger members of the family but not the older ones.
      With his parents it was never a problem. A lot of blogs seem to say that you should try to please your indian mother in law. I don't believe there is anything special you should do, as a french woman I was raised to think that you should be nice to everyone but not forget your own happiness.

      Delete
    2. Hi...I am the letter writer

      I have the "same" problem as I only graduated a few years ago and have not too much saved up already (and what I have saved up i don't want to spend fully on a wedding). The thing is, my parents are not "poor" or something but they aren't filthy rich either but in my culture, parents don't start so save money for the kids wedding once it is born...in our culture it's the couple who sets the dates, plans and also pays for the wedding. The parents do contribute for sure but it more of a symbolic thing like let's say they pay you the dress or the wine at the dinner or so....

      But here the Christian wedding is not even subject and nonnegotiable for his parents. They said me and my parents need to organize (aka pay) for everything but it needs to be in India, etc but didn't ask me what I want at all. My bf and I planned something on our own but this excludes western influence too as we plan a "western" wedding maybe a year later and pay on our own when his parents have no say anymore...but actually they shouldn't have a say it in now either.

      Well, it's complicated...so many other factors which make the whole thing super complicated...

      Delete
    3. Hi letter writer,

      Could this perhaps be a power/control issue or a way of approving-but-not-approving of the marriage? The truth of the matter is, if they make it too difficult for you and your family to jump through hoops, you can register a marriage in either country and it's legal and then they're stuck with having a married son but no wedding. They need to listen to compromise or this can very easily go on without them.

      Delete
  6. I went through this as well. Deciding how you want to celebrate your big day (one ceremony, two ceremonies, integrated, separate, big, small) will be really helpful to coming up with a budget and figuring out how you can make your special day come to life. I will say that my husbands family expected to be involved in the planning and therefore were more open to contributing financially. It also makes it easier if you host your own wedding, because you can own all of the decisions.

    My husband and I decided to have one intercultural wedding because ultimately we felt our partnership was about unity and bringing our cultures together. We made a budget that my family, his family and we all contributed to. For example my IL’s covered the Mandap rental and mehndi party among other things. Overall, no one had an issue contributing, especially when they knew what the money was going to and how much it cost (and was within the budget we agreed to). My parents covered the majority of the wedding expenses, but my IL’s covered the rehearsal dinner and an engagement party, so it probably came out even. In case it is helpful, my wedding was in My Big Fat Indian Wedding awhile back and has more details about our planning process: http://thebigfatindianwedding.com/2013/natalie-rahuls-stylish-maine-fusion-wedding

    This is such and exciting time, but it can also be really stressful. Do what you can to enjoy it as much as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am an Indian woman married to a French. We had three weddings in France: official court wedding, Indian and a French wedding. While the court has no expenses, the other two weddings were totally financed by the two of us. However in the case of the French wedding reception, my husband's family paid the cost for the invitees that they had invited (work colleagues, close friends of theirs) for their son's (my husband's) wedding. We also had a wedding reception back in India that was totally paid by my parents. It was my parents' decision to host this and so they planned and financed everything.

    I would personally say that the two of you should finance the wedding while the parents may choose to help or not.

    Good luck to you!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was the first commenter, and I wanted to come back to say that I agree with most of the posters who think that it may be best for you two to just decide what you want to do and pay for the wedding(s) yourself.

    My husband and I ended up having two events: a hindu wedding (largish) on Friday night after our church rehearsal (so kind of like a huge rehearsal dinner with a hindu wedding thrown in) followed by a church wedding on Saturday and a huge blowout wedding reception. Friday night was planned and paid for by my in-laws, and Saturday was planned by my husband and me and paid for by my parents with help from my husband and me.

    Part of the reason that we ended up doing two events is because my MIL is super controlling, and we knew she wouldn't let us have the wedding we wanted to have, in particular if she was contributing financially. (Even after we decided to have two events she was calling my parents' caterer and asking them if they could serve Indian food!:) On the other hand, my parents gave us a monetary gift from the beginning and made it clear that they were happy as long as we were happy, and that we could spend the money however we wanted.

    So, while my parents were really gracious and amazing with their gift, it won't necessarily be like that for everyone. If you think that EITHER set of parents will want to make demands in exchange for helping to pay for the wedding, then I do think it's better to pay for it yourself.

    Wedding planning is really stressful, but it did turn out to be an amazing, perfect weekend for me and I hope it does for you too! Get on the same page with your husband - just the two of you without the outside parental influences - and have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  9. We had two weddings, one, Christian and official, in my country were my parents helped with cost and one, Hindu cum reception (same day) in India were his parents helped with cost. Both weddings were organized mainly by us, help was given if asked. Both were smaller-medium sized (80 in my country, around 130 in India) wedding (why to spend money for random ppl, as well his parents thought so). We had his family in my country to attend wedding party and my parents and family to attend wedding party in India. Overall all cost were like 50/50 (perhaps a tiny bit more in India).

    ReplyDelete
  10. Like the others we had two weddings. A HUGE one in India (about 1000 guests) and a church wedding in the US. We paid for the Indian wedding....but my in-laws didn't know that. They thought my parents paid. It was important to me that they think that.

    In the US we had a lovely India-themed wedding (saris, garlands, Indian catering, etc.) that my family did pay for. We had it in my parent's backyards and it was beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My personal opinion is that the couple should pay for their own wedding and do it their way, not how the society family expects them to. To be really honest, I think large weddings are a waste of money. I personally would prefer using that money to travel or fund some of my life goals. But that's just me and maybe some people do like weddings. It does have some of its own advantages like meeting all relatives and friends at a go but that does not work for me.

    How can the Indian family expect the Western family to pay for the entire wedding which is not of their dreams???
    - They expect because they are not footing the bill. It is unfair, so do not do it if an Indian wedding is not what you want and why the hell should anybody pay for a wedding that does not include their rituals and traditions?

    I wonder how other couples handled their wedding planning.
    - Luckily both of us wanted a really simple no fuss wedding and we just had that. Not having a lot of money was also a defining factor and we would have flipped if we had to spend a lot on a wedding because that much money means a lot to us. I described my wedding on my blog. Basically, we both did and included things which we wanted and stuff that meant something for us, not for others. If you and your spouse want different things, compromise and respectfully including something each person wants would help. So you would need to have an honest and open discussion with your spouse in terms of what you want from your wedding. If you are an intercultural couple, ideally both of you could split the wedding costs and add in rituals from both cultures just like your relationship. Pick and choose what means the most to you both. That's the fun. It is your wedding. You can do it the way you want.

    In India, the wedding is not the way the couple wants, it's the way the society and family dictates which is lame.

    Of course, if the girl's family is wealthy then I'm sure there would be no discussion. But when the girl's family is an average, hand-working family, is it normal for them to pay for the entire Indian wedding?"
    - This one fact is responsible for so many female foeticides in India that I abhor this practice. Pay as a couple and how much you can afford. Why the hell would you pay for stuff you don't like and want?

    Dear readers, who paid for your intercultural wedding?
    - Us with a little help from parents but our guest list had 4 people :P

    And how did you decide who was to pay for it?
    - I would absolutely not let my parents foot the bill and I never wanted a large wedding because I feel this is one of the reasons people don't want girl children. My husband feels that people should pay for their own weddings. So we were in agreement. I doubt I would have dated a guy who thinks that the girl should foot the entire wedding bill. This is something I am pretty vehement about and I would not have agreed to even if his family insisted that my family foot the bill. Would just not happen. Either we split (if my husband desired a grand wedding) or they could foot the bill because I don't want a large wedding anyway (if my husband didn't want a large wedding but his family did and he goes along).

    Do you think there are some stereotypes at play here (ie. all Westerners are filthy rich)?
    - Yup, after all they are earning in $$$ (1$ = INR 65) and they all have large cars and houses ha ha

    Is it reasonable to ask only one side of the family to contribute financially?
    - Never. Even if they can afford it.

    How did you honor both cultures in your intercultural wedding?
    - Choose what holds the most importance to you and include it in the ceremony.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I fully agree with you! The LW

      Delete
  12. I haven't read the other comments I just thought I would pop in with my experience. My Husband is from Hyderabad, his family has lived in Australia for 25 years but never really integrated. Hubby grew up in Australia so he is as Aussie as the next guy. However he was forbidden from dating and expected to have an arranged marriage. It was a big shock to find out he had been secretly dating me for 5 years and we were living together!

    After 6 months of coming to terms with it, our families met (it went extremely well) and our fathers talked and agreed that we would have 2 weddings. A white wedding in Australia organised and paid for by my parents and a hindu wedding in Hyderabad organised and paid for by the grooms family. We secretly paid for most of the Australian wedding ourselves, as culturally my parents never expected to foot the bill for my wedding. They ended up contributing much more than they ever expected after realising how much weddings cost and how much his parents spent on the hindu wedding.

    It worked well for us because they got full control over throwing the wedding of their dreams in India we basically turned up and smiled (I cried a few times because it was incredibly stressful and the language barriers didn't help!) and I had the white wedding of my dreams in Australia. The only conflict was the timing, we booked our Australian wedding 11 months out and suddenly the Indian wedding had to happen first which made those 11 months very hectic and stressful.

    I think there were a few reasons they were so agreeable to paying for the indian wedding. They had only 2 sons so they wouldn't have any other weddings to pay for. They had seen western weddings and knew they cost a fraction of what an indian wedding could cost so probably thought we would never understand paying so much. And I think pride also paid a role, my mother in law loves to be generous to other people, loves to throw parties and have people visit, and this was going to be the biggest party she would probably ever get to throw! She probably wanted it to be the best wedding her guests had been to and that would only happen if she planned it herself, so she was happy to pay for it herself. Just like I wanted the Australian wedding to be the best my guests had been to!

    ReplyDelete
  13. We had a small court wedding and paid for everything and that was it.

    I am surprised about this idea that the girl family's should pay for all because recently, we went to the wedding of one of my nephews in India, and first the bride's family vetoed some ceremonies because of money issued and second we (my husband and his brother) had to give money to buy a certain amount of gold for my nephew's new wife... Anybody else has this experience ? (Pad)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Not necessarily, now a days boy's side pay for everything or better say arrange everything, bcz of you know screwed sex ratio in India. and in your case, if it is Hindu marriage we Indians will arrange and if it is church marriage you have to arrange.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wedding planning is supposed to be stressful (world's biggest secret) and especially if it is an intercultural marriage then there are more customs and traditions to blend, which can be really hard.

    I think it is unreasonable for only one side to help pay for the wedding - I think both families should ultimately contribute - however much they can.

    For our wedding, we saved for years and paid for most of it. We also had 3 different wedding events - Hindu temple wedding, big Indo-Western wedding, and then reception in India. A wedding reception in India was actually not too expensive. We just rented out a hall and then paid for the food which was like $500 USD. It held up to 500 guests, and was kind of like a formal meet and greet. For our temple wedding, it was a $500 donation to the temple. Our big Indo-Western wedding was more expensive, but it wasn't a crazy amount because we had it at my parents' place.

    I would really sit down with your future in-laws and say that unless they are willing to contribute financially, there are limits to what you can afford.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi, im filipina and got married to an indian guy last year. In my culture, couples would pay for their dream wedding. This is completely different in indian culture where parents pay as they feel like its their "last" responsibility to their child. From what i know, both sides would have its own reception but the wedding ceremony would be paid by the girl's parents.
    Our case was different. His mom insisted to have a wedding in india and theyll take care of everything financially. I didnt like the idea but it makes sense that they pay something that they planned and saved for their beloved son . I told them im ok with it as long as its a small gathering as im not comfortable with too many people especially that ive never met them. Unfortunately their idea of small is 200+ (pretty small as usual is 500 to thousands guests, crazy!) and 2 events. His mom planned everything including my gowns and what to say to guests.
    So to answer your question, his parents paid and planned the whole thing. They didnt honor my culture or my religion. Its all about theirs. So i suggest that know what you want, talk to your bf and just do what makes both of you happy. Its your wedding after all. Otherwise, you would end up hating your wedding like i do. If you want to respect his parents.. do it some other way. Dont let them ruin your wedding.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm an Indian guy whose elder sister is about to be married soon.
    Here are some things you need to consider-
    (1) In India, parents are supposed to be responsible for organizing such cultural events. Hence generally expenses are also taken care of by them.
    (2) Being a patriarchial society since a long time, the expenses of engagement and weddings were generally borne by the bride's family, while the event called as 'Reception' was taken care of by the groom's family. This reception is basically a homecoming sort of celebration, where the bride is welcomed to her new city of residence.
    The above said customs are abided by culturally rigid families (rich or poor), while those urban families having a modern outlook split up the expenses between the two families.

    My opinion is, there should be a consensus on how things ought to be done, from how expenses ought to be settled to how the event has to be planned.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Qual medida minimo para saque e quanto tempo morosidade.

    ReplyDelete

Respectful comments only, please! (That means you, anonymous.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Madh Mama. All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE DESIGNED BY pipdig