Ceremony "not being for the guests"

posted 3 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 2
9608 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

Could you do both? Do the 4-6 hour ceremony for his side and then have a ceremony that reflects your traditions later that evening followed by a reception? 

Post # 3
2826 posts
Sugar bee

oh man that’s tough! I think I would feel bad asking people to come to that without expressly telling them it wasn’t necessary to, because of both the early hour and then length. But I would also be sad if certain people weren’t there.. Can you do both? It sounds kind of aggressive, but I’d almost want to do that ceremony very small and privately at home, then have a nap, then have your version of the ceremony with friends and family and then the reception? I think it’s important to express the symbolism behind having everyone there to him. 

It might cause venue issues as well.. Are they open that early? Becasue there would also be a lot of set up involved meaning that employees would have to be up at like 4am. And then, is the reception right after that and you have brunch/lunch rather than a dinner reception? Because if you do that and then a dinner reception, what will all of the guests do in the day? and then everyone will be exhausted in the evening if you were hoping to have dinner/dancing.. 

Post # 4
6502 posts
Bee Keeper

My friends in your situation have celebrated the Hindu marriage as what would traditionally be considered the rehearsal dinner day/the day before and then had a Christian wedding ceremony and reception the following day or had the traditional Hindu ceremony in the morning with a smaller guest list and another ceremony in the afternoon with different receptions interspersed.

I was invited to both events in the first version and enjoyed them immensely. Where there is a will there is a way–it’s his wedding too. 

Post # 5
1609 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

The ceremony isn’t for the guests, it’s for you as the couple. You need to keep basic guest comfort and considerations in mind. But I agree with your fiancé that the reception is for the guests. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to have a long ceremony. But have the reason be for you and your fiancé, not because of your guests. 

Post # 6
4468 posts
Honey bee

In theory, they aren’t wrong.  Many things about a wedding are about the guests if you choose to have them – basically anything related to the reception (since the reception is a thank you for coming to witness your ceremony) and anything related to their comfort and well-being (i.e. you’re not asking people to freeze in 40 degree F weather just because you always dreamed of an outdoor wedding). 

The ceremony is the one place where that gets to be all about you, but that is within reason.  If it’s important for you to have guests than the comfort of your guests should be a consideration, particularly in the predominant culture of where the wedding is taking place and that of the guests (i.e. if the wedding were in India then adapting and conforming more towards the Hindu ceremony would be expected as it is the cultural norm, but having the wedding in the U.S. is going to lean more towards the cultural norm here).  Additionally, since this doesn’t appear to be a shared culture and having more than just your immediately family involved is very important to you, I think far more compromise is required – whether that means a private Hindu ceremony and then a more traditionally Western ceremony later in the day, or one ceremony mid-morning that incorporates both Hindu and Western elements with you both giving up a bit of something, etc.

If he’s never seen a Western wedding, I would buy him a wedding guidebook that focuses on weddings that follow Western traditions so he can better understand your viewpoint and see if you can find a television show or example on youtube that presents a fairly realistic average wedding.  Try to find a more tame example of Four Weddings (one that doesn’t necessarily go all out lavish spending hundreds of thousands of dollars).  In fairness, make sure you study up on Hindu weddings to better understand his viewpoint, as well, if you haven’t already. 

It seems a lot of this conflict is borne out of ignorance, which can be overcome with simply making efforts to educate him – the rest is then being able to compromise on those aspects rather than one side winning out over the other.  I guarantee, this isn’t going to be the first cultural conflict you come across (home-buying, caring for parents when they become aged, child rearing, etc.), so better start setting the tone now for how to handle conflict and compromise.

Post # 10
1609 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

akshali2000 :  well, yes, for a standard Christian ceremony, I completely agree with you. But if it’s a standard amount of time for a Hindu wedding I don’t necessarily think so. As long as you put the appropriate information on your invitations (start time, that it’s a Hindu ceremony and end time or duration maybe on a webpage or something) and have places for people to sit and maybe water or other light beverages at the back, I wouldn’t look badly on this. 

Post # 11
3334 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Ive been to Hindu weddings, but the earliest they ‘started’ was like 9, and even then they didnt arrive until 10ish. It was a long day as there was the arrival, then food, then the ceremony, then more food, but it wasnt a 5h ceremony all at once. I would not be able to sit through that. Sorry but I dont even sit for 5 hours at my job, and i get paid for that =\ I would make sure this part is absolutely clear!

eta – the ceremony was 1.5h.

Post # 13
11944 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

What I would do is put the start time on the invitations, but give people who are unfamiliar a heads up as to the length of the ceremony. That way they can decide for themselves when to arrive and they can still be there for the part where you are officially joined in marriage. 

The RSVP is for the reception, not the ceremony. 

Post # 15
2636 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2016


I am not of any culture that has ceremonies like this, but I did attend an Indonesian coworker’s wedding last year (apparently their traditions are very similar to Chinese ones). They had a tea ceremony first thing in the morning (I think, from memory, he said they started around 8am). It was family and bridal party only – they had their parents, siblings, nieces/nephews, grandparents, godparents and a few close aunts/uncles (plus the SOs of any of these people). Once this ceremony was over, they had a small meal for lunch and did some photos. Then they had a church ceremony around 4pm (as they are both Catholic). It was a full mass. The rest of the extended family plus friends, coworkers, etc were invited to this part. Then we went onto the reception.

Would it be possible to do something like this? You could do a more traditional Hindu wedding in the morning with your VIPs (or anyone who wants to attend) and then do a more American ceremony later on in the day with the reception after this?

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