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Rules for an Indian Wedding

July 5, 2010

I haven’t blogged in four days – this is a new record for me!  I’m hoping you can excuse my absence as this past weekend was a whirlwind of wedding events for Ali’s cousin, who got married yesterday.    

The wedding, like most Indian/Pakistani weddings, was an epic adventure that took us from one end of California to the other and kept us awake far past our standard bedtime of 9:30pm.  After four consecutive action packed days, things finally wound down this afternoon.    

Indian/Pakistani weddings tend to throw me into panic-mode because there are so many different events, and jewelry and super fancy clothes are imperative for each.  Talk about pressure.  It’s definitely tricky trying to navigate things, but I came up with several ways to make it easier:   

1. Let your far more stylish mother-in-law pick all of your clothes, jewelry, and shoes.  You can’t go wrong.   

Me, Ali, and Maya at Event #1 - the Dholki

2. Be sure to flat-iron your hair to death to minimize frizz in the chilly, foggy weather conditions.   

Mom and me at the Dholki

3. Stay out-of-the-way of Ali and his cousins when they start dancing…you could get trampled and nobody would find your for hours.   

Dancing at the Dholki...Ali's family never runs out of energy

4. When you are driving 65 miles down to event #2 and your husband is weaving in and out of the carpool lane with one hand on the horn, keep your mouth shut.    

I should have driven...silly me.

5. When you commit the cardinal sin of repeating an outfit you wore to someone else’s party earlier that year, simply deny it by walking away.   

Shhhh...this outfit is brand new!

6. One should never ruin their sleeveless wedding outfit by throwing a shawl on top, no matter what the weather conditions dictate.   

What does one do when July feels more like February? One suffers.

7. When your daughter loudly asks “When are they going to hand out the goody bags?” during the wedding ceremony, pretend to look around as though you too were trying to identify the obnoxious source.   

"Mama, I want to have my 6th birthday here." Sure Maya, why not?

8. Five and a half hours of sleep is not enough to get by on, but through the miracle of Bare Escentuals, even the most exhausted of guests can make themselves presentable for brunch.   

Ali's note when he saw this photo: "I look like the Nutty Professor."

9. Sometimes it’s okay to ignore the auntie’s glares  just so you can be the first girl in the buffet line.   

Scones, bagels fruit, caprese salad, garden salad...way too many choices to list. Omelettes to order, pancakes, potatoes, and more.

Indian station - puri, naan, Karachi-style potatoes, nahari, and chana masala.

10. Celebrations are fun but getting back to real-life isn’t so bad when you think about the fact that you can slip back into your warm sweats, toss your hair into a ponytail, and say goodbye to your makeup for another 6 months.   

"I'm tired and I want to go home Mama." That is the first and likely the last time my daughter has ever uttered those words.

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63 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2010 8:17 pm

    hahah great post! exactly what i needed to do after a long day of studying: laugh :)

  2. July 5, 2010 8:19 pm

    I love all your outfits! Beautiful. I especially love the magenta-ish one and the light turquoise one. Your hair looks gorgeous too! I didn’t know you’re a fan of Bare Escentuals. Me too! I imagine that all those events would be very exhausting, but you look very bright and happy :)

  3. July 5, 2010 8:35 pm

    Wow, Ameena! Firstly, you look so incredible in all your photos, your family is just adorable. And Ali really does look like the nutty professor. Ha! I especially like the picture of him veering in and out of the carpool lane. :-D Um, I like dangerous comedy?

    I had no idea the Indian/Pakistani weddings were so culturally rich! Thanks for the lovely pictoral insight, coupled, as always, with equally insightful and witty commentary. :-) In the end though, I love how you’re just glad to be a no-fuss no-muss kinda gal.

    xo Aletheia :-)

  4. July 5, 2010 8:37 pm

    You look so pretty in your outfit! And seriously, a chilly weather in July? So Cal weather is so unpredictable!

  5. traynharder23 permalink
    July 5, 2010 8:38 pm

    you guys are GORGEOUSSSSSS =D

    I KNOW! she likes ALMOND BUTTER!smooth tho. baby steps. baby steps.

    sorry you don’t like cabbage. i think i eat enough for both of us!!!!

    and F21 SUCKS in that respect!

  6. July 5, 2010 9:51 pm

    Ameena, you look gorgeous in ALL those photos. You are totally photogenic girl! And I absolutely loved all your outfits. You are so blessed with such a beautiful family; yes, the nutty professor included. I especially liked that one of you and Ali in your blue outfit and Ali in blue to match you. Maya’s outfits are absolutely adorable.

    I remember when my friend “Buddycakes” got married, she said it was the longest week of her life cause don’t Indian weddings usually span over a week. Boy you guys sure know how to party! Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures.

  7. July 5, 2010 10:15 pm

    Wow! I dont know if its strange and TMI that I drooled over the buffet on my keyboard! You look gorgeous! This is totally a wedding I would have crashed! My dad and I are obsessed with all things Indian. We are like wannabe Indians, but actually so far from it sadly!

  8. July 5, 2010 10:36 pm

    i wanna go to one too!!! looks like so much fun, and you are quite stunning in all your outfits. ain’t bare escentuals the best?!?!

  9. July 6, 2010 2:47 am

    One of my best friends is Indian and has been going to a ton of weddings lately so I’ve heard all about the epic nature of Indian weddings. I can’t believe how long they are!

    You look gorgeous in all of your various outfits and I love your commentary. You never fail to make me laugh in the morning!

  10. July 6, 2010 3:19 am

    First of all, how gorgeous are you? Good lord…

    Second, holy crap. I want to go, if only for the costume changes and food spreads. I can imagine it’s quite an ordeal, but as long as you really had no work to do for the event other than attending and avoiding dance floor mob scenes, it looks like fun!

  11. July 6, 2010 3:34 am

    You are beautiful. I love all of your dresses. Your mother in law has fabulous taste!

  12. July 6, 2010 3:56 am

    You look beautiful! I love all the outfits!

    I’m so excited to meet you :)

  13. July 6, 2010 4:07 am

    You and your family look fabulous! I love the clothes! Are the shoes just as fabulous?

    • July 6, 2010 6:48 am

      The shoes are pretty fabulous, only because my mother-in-law gave me every single pair!

  14. July 6, 2010 4:09 am

    Oh wow… Indian/Pakistani weddings look even more elaborate than Polish weddings! That looks like one hell of a weekend, and if it even managed to wear Maya out, I can only imagine how you and Ali must be feelings. You were both looking gorgeous, though, if that’s any consolation :)

    Hope you’re able to rest up and relax a bit before “real life” kicks in.

  15. July 6, 2010 4:10 am

    You look gorgeous. Sometimes I wish we got to wear cool clothes like that for American weddings. They’re gorgeous–especially that magenta one. I had no idea Indian/Pakistani weddings were so involved. Multiple locations? I guess that’d be fun only if you didn’t have to go to more than one a year. Then I can see it getting tiring!

  16. July 6, 2010 4:15 am

    Gorgeous pictures. You all look wonderful!

  17. July 6, 2010 4:17 am

    Oh my gosh, Ameena, you look SO beautiful in all of these pictures!!!!! Your outfits are fabulous!

  18. July 6, 2010 4:25 am

    This looks like a blast!! There was an Indian wedding on another floor of the hotel where my friend got married this past weekend. We definitely went and stole a couple pictures. I love the music, the beautiful clothes and hubby loves the food!!

    All of his Indian friends from dental school are (1) already married or (2) planning weddings in India, so I don’t think we’ll get to witness one first hand any time soon :( What an awesome culture!!

  19. ryan permalink
    July 6, 2010 4:31 am

    Looking good Ameena. I told my wife I went on one date with you to the BH cheesecake factory and she got real jealous. lol

  20. July 6, 2010 4:33 am

    You all look great! Love Maya’s comment about her 6th birthday party:)

  21. July 6, 2010 4:59 am

    What a beautiful family!! Love the “goodie bag” comment from Maya! Too cute!! :)

  22. July 6, 2010 5:07 am

    I’ve always wondered how Indian weddings work and now I have a bit of insight. They always seem so colorful and extravagant.

  23. July 6, 2010 5:48 am

    Hey Ameena! I can (surprise) relate to repeat outfit scandal and I pride myself on having had a much more modest (by comparison) wedding, so that no one really needed more than 2 outfits. Actually, I’ve been looking at photos from recent weddings in our social circle and I think that I was much more underdressed at my own wedding than some guests are at other weddings! As for being a guest, I have to say that 4 days of pakoras, butter chicken, naan, channa and mithai gets a bit exhausting! Thankfully, Manski has lots of beautiful kurtas, so I can show up looking like a nightmare, but everyone is more interested in the very tall white man wearing Indian clothes. Score!

    • July 6, 2010 1:16 pm

      Jaya – I was definitely tired of the Indian food after a few days…and being a vegetarian isn’t easy at these sort of events!

  24. July 6, 2010 6:17 am

    Ah I feel like I have been saying the same thing in regards to a whirlwind of a weekend with no time to blog!! What an incredible wedding celebration. Your family is picture perfect. And your dresses are stunning.

  25. July 6, 2010 6:47 am

    what a beautiful wedding! you look so beautiful! Love lil Maya in her dresses too!

    I LOVED THIS. Thanks for sharing.
    I think I own one nice dress. It was my wedding dress and even that was not a traditional one.

    get some rest! and I too prefer sweats and a pony tail! shew!

  26. July 6, 2010 6:51 am

    I think the traditions in weddings of different cultures are so intriguing. I think it’s awesome how many celebrations and how formal it all is. Although, if I had to go to them more than once it would probably get old. I don’t like having to dress up a ton. Plus, it does seem exhausting.

  27. July 6, 2010 7:00 am

    First of all, you are gorgeous.

    Secondly, I loved seeing all of these pictures. I never get the chance to be exposed to different wedding traditions of different cultures so this was fun.

  28. July 6, 2010 7:25 am

    I love love LOVE these outfits and am only somewhat bummed that all of my outfits are now obselete. I told the hubster he’ll have to buy me a whole new wardrobe when we move back to a city where we need to mingle with desi folks again. He didn’t look too impressed :)
    PS: Maya just vocalized what everyone was thinking. Gimme my goody bag so I can call it a night already :)

  29. July 6, 2010 7:41 am

    yay you’re back!! You look so pretty in all of the outfits! I wish I had occasion to dress up in Indian clothes more often! The lipstick on Maya is super cute!
    I agree though Indian/Pakistani weddings are sooo long and exhausting!

  30. July 6, 2010 7:49 am

    I love your outfits!! I’ve always wanted to wear a sari.

  31. July 6, 2010 8:00 am

    Thanks for sharing this with us Ameena…I really enjoyed hearing more about the celebration for indian/pakistani weddings. You and your family look beautiful and I hope you had time to rest up after the whirlwind of events!

  32. louisianagrown permalink
    July 6, 2010 8:13 am

    I’m slightly obsessed with all of your outfits, and these events all look so lavish. Now that you’ve given us tips on how to navigate them, maybe I could go to the next one in your place? ;-)

  33. July 6, 2010 8:44 am

    Love your outfit….very nice! I love learning all about this!! :)

  34. July 6, 2010 8:52 am

    Aw I love it you look hot! This post made me smile.

  35. Leah @ Why Deprive? permalink
    July 6, 2010 8:53 am

    Looks like fun!!

    I completely agree with going back to real life though. Its nice not having to get all dressed and fancy all the time.

  36. July 6, 2010 9:27 am

    I laughed too…real life, stinky…the color, the celebration, the connectedness….all so overwhelming. Like a fairy tale?

  37. July 6, 2010 10:16 am

    Love the outfits and love the colors on you. Your hair looks great as well. Sounds and looks like you had a great time at this wedding. I think the rough part is getting up the workday after such a long event and getting back to the work grove.

  38. highonhealthy permalink
    July 6, 2010 10:18 am

    I want to wear an outfit like that! Although I probably won’t ever have a reason to.. except that they look pretty and I want to skip around in one.

    You and your family look great! As for the weather, it’s been chilly here too.

  39. July 6, 2010 10:47 am

    my younger sister tried to find an Indian boyfriend for years so she could have her dream wedding. lol she found a Haitian guy! he didnt let her wear a sari to her wedding though :(
    you look so beautiful in all your pictures!!!

  40. July 6, 2010 11:22 am

    This was such a cool post to read, all of your outfits were so beautiful!

  41. July 6, 2010 1:23 pm

    The setting looks beautiful. I take it you were on the coast…fog. :) Everyone looked great and I love all the dresses.

  42. July 6, 2010 2:12 pm

    You look so beautiful! Love all the outfits.
    I know how you feel about having to wear different outfits to a whole bunch of different events for one wedding. My cousin got married 4 years ago and he is an orthodox Jew (I’m not, so it was a new cultural/religious experience for me). Anyway, before he got married the family threw parties to celebrate (I was confused, isn’t that what the wedding party is for?) and then after there is something called Sheva Brachot which means seven blessings, and every day for seven days the couple’s family and friends throw them a party. I didn’t go to every single one, but I went to enough that the whole thing was exhausting. I was like Maya at the end. Luckily nobody knew about my repeat outfits because the wedding was in Israel so nobody had seen them before.
    Oh, and I used to use Bare Escentuals all the time..I need to get some more, I loved it!
    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous family pictures! And for helping me learn about Indian tradition…I had never heard of a Dholki.

  43. July 6, 2010 3:35 pm

    haha “deny it by walking away”

    my brother went to an indian wedding for his neighbors. he loved it :)

    wow and what a dress that was! its really quite breathtaking actually!

    xoxo

  44. July 6, 2010 4:05 pm

    What a weekend!!! Those dresses are absolutely beautiful.. as is your family!

  45. July 6, 2010 4:23 pm

    Wow, you have been a busy lady! Looks like a lot of fun though, and your dresses are beautiful!

  46. Michelle permalink
    July 6, 2010 4:53 pm

    The colors and outfits of an Indian wedding is absolutely stunning! I was telling my friend the other day that I wish I was born Indian.

  47. Med permalink
    July 6, 2010 6:12 pm

    I agree! I was so happy to put on sweats today and take a break from the make-up. The hardest part for me was high heels for so many days in a row. It feels amazing to wear sneakers today.

  48. July 6, 2010 8:30 pm

    I know that I’m totally repeating what others have said, BUT here goes: you look so great in the photos! I must admit that I have total white girl envy when it comes to saris. We do NOT look good (or as good) in them, no ifs ands or buts about it.
    I also love the photo of the drive (driver’s hand on the horn – awesome).
    I must admit that I do love returning “to normal” after a weekend like that. It’s super fun on occasion, but to be a total party girl all the time. Shew, I’m too old!

  49. July 6, 2010 9:05 pm

    hehehe… I love your dress! I really do. I’ve always wanted to attend an Indian wedding. Then again…just watch I end up going to one. hahaha…

  50. nadia permalink
    July 6, 2010 11:51 pm

    ameena, you look stunning!! promise you’ll send me more from up close so i can really see your eyeliner and lipstick…promise! and lil maya, such a lil diva, loving her, want more close ups please!! great last couple posts, as always…love all your outfits, your MIL rocks my world!
    XOXOXOXOXO

  51. July 7, 2010 4:29 am

    You look gorgeous in all the outfits and your Mum is so beautiful! I so agree, Ali really looks like “nutty professor”

    As kids, my brother and I would accompany our parents at weddings only if they would forget about us at the venue and let us stuff our face with food. Food at some Indian weddings is so good!!

  52. July 7, 2010 8:22 am

    I LOVE all of the outfits. You have a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing all of this information about the wedding process. I once “crashed” an Indian wedding. I was at a Bar Mitzvah next door and mentioned I could not eat any food as I was a vegetarian, so they asked the Indian couple in the next room if they minded if they took some food over to some guests at another party. The Indian wedding was privately catered, so it was kinda funny that they even asked, but the couple did not mind and was happy to give us some food. I must say Indian cuisine is my favorite. I was amazed by how many Indian restaurants I found in Lisbon. I once read that Vindaloo was based on a Portuguese food dish.

  53. July 7, 2010 9:47 am

    I’ve never been to an Indian wedding…please invite me the next time, it sounds like a whirlpool of fun events! :D And Ameena, you look GORGEOUS in your outfit, and so does Maya!

  54. July 7, 2010 2:39 pm

    So fancy and gorgeous! Beautiful people! Having the weddibg events at various places must be exhausting. I wonder how much such events would cost and whether it is traditionally underwritten by the bride’s family.

    • July 8, 2010 9:11 am

      It used to be that the mendhi and wedding were paid for my the girl’s side and the walima (the party the day following the wedding) was paid for by the guy’s side. At least this was the case with my wedding. But now most families are splitting the cost which makes a whole lot more sense to me!

  55. July 7, 2010 4:56 pm

    I love the colors and your outfits! Gorgeous!

  56. July 7, 2010 7:43 pm

    your outfits are spectacular!! Especially the fuchsia one (I believe it’s fuchsia)

  57. July 8, 2010 11:21 am

    I wish all weddings were like Indian weddings! Four days of fun? How cool!

  58. July 8, 2010 1:06 pm

    I had two coworkers from India at my last job and I LOVED hearing about their weddings. What great parties! You look beautiful!

  59. August 7, 2010 1:41 pm

    Having attended/participated in my share of Indo-Pak-Bangla weddings, I so agree with 4,5,9, and 10!

    You look gorgeous as always!

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