White Weddings are “Exotic” too!

I talk a good game about how the Nepali wedding will be so “interesting and different” for my family, but I’m being unfair when I fail to mention that the American wedding will be “interesting and different” for P’s family and some of our South Asian friends as well.

For someone who has the cultural “norm” baseline of white weddings—from movies, and tv, from family expectations and events, it’s kind of easy to forget that this isn’t the “cultural norm” for all. Whereas weddings can be fun and exciting in general, going to one that is different can feel even more exciting because it’s a bit exotic (“the other”), and it is funny to think that something that is normal for you is exotic for someone else.

This hits home when I realize that maybe P’s family doesn’t ask too many questions about the white wedding because they are not sure what to ask, where to start, how it will be different from weddings they are familiar with, or what the event will look like (ours will be their very first one). Or when a few of my South Asian friends who wear pants as daily clothing, but salwaar kameez or sari when they dress up for parties or events, find it kind of fun and exotic to wear a party dress to the white wedding.

I was even kind of surprised when my Nepali friend R was helping me look for a white wedding dress, that she wanted to try at least one on herself. She explained how she always thought it would be fun to have a white wedding dress and do “the whole white wedding party” thing. She admitted that sometimes while walking by bridal boutiques, she would think, as she checked out the dresses in the windows, about how it would be fun to rent or borrow one and do a photo shoot for the experience of wearing it. Why should I be the only one who thinks dressing up in the wedding cloths of another culture is fun and beautiful? R was gorgeous in that dress!

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the intercultural exchange and educational moments of both the weddings—my relatives dressing up in clothing and participating in rituals and eating food they are unfamiliar with and vice versa. I’m excited for both sides of my (new) family to learn more about the other and I think this will be a great way to open up a dialogue about the awesomeness of being different.

I hope R doesn't mind... but she looked too great in that white wedding dress to have pictures of it sit idly in my picasa account!

14 responses to “White Weddings are “Exotic” too!

  1. You’re so lucky you’ll get both experiences!

  2. that is a pretty sexy dress on your friend! it seems to suit her really well!

  3. I’m going to agree with tk above! your friend looks great in that dress. sounds like your wedding (s) will be a great experience for both sides of friends and family. Most Nepali/non-Nepali couples that I know of did both–the red and the white wedding and thoroughly enjoyed both.

  4. I just came to this realisation the other day. I think i want a white wedding too! I feel greedy asking for both.

    • americanepali

      Hi Amanda. I think its great to do both. We scaled back a bit, so both weddings won’t be “over the top” and a little more simple, but we felt it was really important to both and moved forward with the logistics to make it happen :)

    • I only did the Indian wedding (with a courthouse wedding and a small casual reception in my hometown). At the time, that was the best choice for me, but if I had it to do again today, I would do both. I think I got lost in the Indian wedding more than I expected to, and it would have been easier if there was a White/American wedding to ground myself in. One issue for me was that my family did not give any money, and we’re grad students, so I felt like I couldn’t ask for anything and it wasn’t worth going into debt over. Like I said, it was the best choice for me then, but now I think I would have serious misgivings about accepting such a large wedding that I had little part in and would fight to have a budget given for a White/American wedding or else do it all ourselves, in the scale we could afford. I definitely encourage you to think about what you really want, and then work to find the compromises to make it happen!

  5. Interesting – my family never really found the white wedding theme very exotic. Probably because we have a few young widows in our family and a woman dressed in bright white is worn by a woman mourning her husbands death… so…

  6. Ok now I want a white wedding after seeing that dress. I have brought A to two white weddings so far, he loves it. He loves that everyone dances and has a great time…and the open bar also helps!

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  8. americanepali

    The funny thing is– R looks fantastic, but when she showed the pictures to her husband and some other Nepali friends they said– no no, white dresses don’t look good on your tan skin, they look better on pale people. I on the other hand, think that white blends in to my pasty Irish American skin, so I though the white color really popped on her tan skin.

    • Well, for starters it isn’t just white people who wear white dresses and also white brides going tanning for months so we don’t look like blotchy ghosts!

    • It’s definitely because white makes one’s skin look darker, which according to ‘white’ American tanning culture is a good thing, but according to the whole Nepali/Indian beauty stuff it’s better to be ‘fair and lovely.’ Polar opposite ideas. She does look gorgeous in that dress to me! I find the typical bright-red to make me look super-pale, so I’m going to have to pick some other shade of red.

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