Deval Parekh and Isha Gandhi are owners of iDev Event Company, LLC., a wedding planning company that specializes in South Asian and Fusion Weddings. They offer services such as wedding and event planning, Month and Day-of coordination, bridal and party henna, Mehndi, and live Bollywood singing and music. iDev specializes in ethnic weddings. Their motto is, “No matter what the event, never compromise on food, alcohol, and music.”
Isha joins us to talk about her journey into becoming the expert in weddings and event planning that she is today and answers burning questions about Indian and Fusion weddings.
Most weddings last from 1-3 days, with 2-5 events involved. In the US, an Indian wedding typically starts 2 days before the ceremony. The first pre-event is a henna event with the bride and the immediate family. The next event is a ceremony where a paste of turmeric, rose water, and sandalwood (or similar) is applied to the bride and groom to make them look prettier on the day of the wedding. The one after that is music, a coming together of the family. It is a day of celebration. There are a lot of dances, food, and sometimes speeches involved. The day after is traditionally the wedding which is ceremony, lunch, and the reception that evening.
In fusion weddings, incorporation of the mandap is a colorful and photogenic addition even if the wedding is light on cultural additions in other areas. The mandap is four pillars, the priest sits down and invites lord Ganesha to come into the ceremony and bless the couple. The fire is a holy fire. Depending on the culture, you might be asked to take rounds around the fire that are promises and vows you give each other in presence of the holy fire.
After you’re done with the asian ceremony, you should announce you are proceeding with the Catholic ceremony, so the crowd doesn’t get up to leave to find food, etc.
Traditionally Indian weddings are very colorful. Avoid black and white. Use accessories, etc.
A lot of venues have a preferred Indian caterer. If not, make sure they allow outside catering, verify the caterers have insurance, and ask for a prep kitchen!
Conflicts usually arise when the budget is not in place, or the person who is paying for it isn’t communicating fully. iDev gives a realistic breakdown on the price differences (ie, live band vs DJ, real flowers vs fake, etc). The bride and groom need to sit down and figure out what their financial flexibility looks like. Know your non-negotiables.
A wonderful way of dealing with familial/in-law differences (especially in religion, etc) is understanding where they are coming from, and include them in your life. Research on your partner’s culture. Ask questions, be interested!
Links we referenced
iDev Event Company
“I think if I can pull this one off, I can pull off anything. Because 525 guests for six events, of which about 200 odd guests come from out of town, that was a lot.” - Isha
“We give them a few options. We tell them these are some of the ways you can minimize stress, and this is how you can open conversation.” -Isha
“The way you deal with [in-law’s fear of losing son] is you include her in your life. Make her part of those little things that they are always used to doing.” - Isha
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