Introduction To Indian Marriages in USA Starting in the nineteen sixties, thousands of Indian families have settled in various parts of the USA. Over the last 20 years, the second-generation young people, born and raised in America, are getting married in increasing numbers. They have strong ties with the Hindu Culture and the Hindu way of life, either through bring up at home, or with their participation in local cultural activities, or through their friends and yes, even through Bollywood movies. Many of them have chosen their soul mates, not only outside their own caste, religion and language but also from USA, England, Germany, Mexico and many other countries. All of them do feel that they should avail themselves of the rich and noble heritage of Hindu way of married life. I have put together this website to introduce them to the basics of the Hindu marriage ceremony and associated logistics.
Although the basic marriage ceremony is same across the breadth and width of India, the details can be different because of specific regional, local and even family traditions, within different parts of India. Further, many marriages in the USA are between an Indian and a non Indian. Hence, we need to blend the best of eastern traditions and western logistics in such a way that the overall ceremony is custom tailored and meaningful, not only to the bride and the groom but to the families on both sides and the invited guests.
The marriage ceremonies must address the social, religious and legal aspects of the marriage, which tend to be different in the USA than those observed in India. The Pandit needs to be cognizant of these differences and tailor the celebrations accordingly.
The Hindu marriage ceremony is typically conducted by a Brahmin Pandit or a person with thorough and clear understanding of the Hindu beliefs, basic tenets, Hindu way of life, various Sanskars and marriage rituals. He needs to be reasonably fluent in Sanskrit and English or the local language. In addition to being the Pandit, he needs to be the planner, coordinator as well as the Master of Ceremony.
I have conducted many weddings across USA over a period of last 17 years and often get asked about various aspects of this important milestone in every body’s life. The focus of this website is on education, planning and the logistics associated with this most important event in every body's life. To that effect, I have included the details regarding the engagement, Graha Shanti, a traditional kick off ceremony, essential steps in the Hindu marriage ceremony, the Do's and Don'ts based on my experience and responses to the frequently asked questions in the following sections.
I hope this website will help the prospective brides and grooms and their parents on the essentials of planning a successful Indian wedding.