While all weddings serve as celebrations of love and union between two people, South Asian weddings aren’t your typical run-of-the-mill I do’s. Not only are they gaining popularity in Cancun, but they're more colorful than anything you’ve likely seen before and filled with unique traditions.
And, quite frankly, they’re often more fun.
If you've been invited to your first South Asian wedding, you may be curious about what's going to happen. After all, eastern cultures differ in so many ways from the west, and a wedding day is no exception.
From grooms atop of gold-adorned white horses to stolen shoes, read on for five of the most interesting South Asian wedding traditions that’ll leave you starry-eyed and considering a move to Mumbai.
Blessings and Body Art
Probably the most-recognized tradition when it comes to South Asian weddings is Mehndi (or Henna) parties. Imagine the ultimate girls’ night in, but instead of manicures or DIY facials, the bride and her closest girl gang have their hands and feet adorned with intricately drawn on henna designs, which signify the blessing of the bond between the bride and her future husband.
You Won't Miss the Groom
Westerners are no strangers to making grand entrances at their weddings, but nothing is quite as impressive as the groom’s arrival at a South Asian wedding.
In the baraat (or groom's procession), the husband-to-be arrives to greet his future bride on an ornately- decorated white horse (yes, he literally rides in on a white horse). After his unforgettable entrance, he’s then welcomed by guests dancing around him to the beat of a drum, followed by the bride and her family who greet him with floral garlands.
A Little Family Thievery
For most husbands-to-be, bachelor party shenanigans are to be expected. But for an South Asian groom, the pranks continue in to the wedding day with a tradition called Jutti Chupai.
On the morning of the wedding, the groom visits the home of his future in-laws, where his bride’s mother washes his feet and offers him honey and milk. While this is happening, his future sister-in-law will try to steal his shoes for ransom, which usually includes cash or traditional gold trinkets, called kalicharis.
Expect Delicacies Galore
You may want to avoid that skin-tight dress or snug slacks when attending a South Asian wedding, because if there’s one thing you can expect, it’s tons of delicious and exotic foods to keep you stuffed throughout the night!
From traditional dishes like chickpea masala, chicken tikka and samosas, a South Asian reception dinner is a foodie’s dream come true.
Boogie Down Bollywood Style
Sure, you’ve probably gotten down with the Electric Slide or chicken-danced your way through a reception or two, but the dances at a South Asian wedding will most likely put all your usual moves to shame.
After a South Asian wedding ceremony, it’s time for the real party - and that includes lots of dancing where wedding party members (and even guests) celebrate the bride and groom with legit Bollywood-style dance sequences, including the bhangra.
So, do yourself a favor and get familiar with some South Asian-inspired footwork before you send in your RSVP.
Trust us, you’ll be happy you did.