Wedding Crashers, Nepali Style

For a similar post check out “Invited to the Wedding.”

You know you are in an intercultural-South-Asian relationship when you have run out of invitation cards, and the RSVP date has passed, but you are still inviting people to your wedding.

You also know you are in this type of relationship when you hear other people talking in town about your wedding, who might “come anyway” even though they weren’t technically invited (“Maybe I was invited, but they didn’t have a chance to give me the invite?”), because extra guests aren’t usually that big of an issue back in Nepal.

This has happened to us a few times. In particular it is difficult with Nepalis we know in town through P’s university who might not be our close friends, but who are still part of the local Nepali community, so we kind of feel an obligation to invite them. We used to have this issue with our annual Christmas party too—P and I have had many a debate over why or why not this or that person should be invited. My argument was always, “If you don’t see them or have dinner with them at least every now and then, you don’t have to invite someone just because they are Nepali, especially if they don’t invite you to their things.” But alas, the issue persists, why did I expect our wedding to be different?

Case-in-point, at our Christmas party this year I was talking to one such person (a Nepali who we are friendly with but not really “friends friends” in the close sense) and while making conversation I asked, “So do you have any plans for the summer?” The guy responded, “Other than your wedding, not too much.” Er—he wasn’t at the time on our list, but found his way there!

Something similar happened over the weekend. Two friends of ours (non-Nepali) were eating at an Indian restaurant in town where a Nepali acquaintance from P’s university is working as a server. He had met this friend briefly at a dinner we hosted several months ago, and recognized her when she sat down at the restaurant. While taking her order he struck up a conversation about our wedding—he knew all the details—date, time, place, etc. We hadn’t invited him because he fell into the category of “acquaintance” rather than friend, and we hadn’t seen him since that dinner, but someone must have said something to him. Anyway, since he knew all the details our two friends assumed he must have been invited too. So when he asked them, “Are you going?” they responded yes and asked him, “Are you?”

Nepali acquaintance: “I haven’t been invited yet. I’m sure I will be, but if not I might just go anyway. I’m sure they won’t mind.” (Me: “Whaaaaat?”)

After dinner our friend gave us the heads up. Perhaps this is another person we might have to add to the list at the last minute?

It’s tough to draw the line. With close friends it’s a non-issue, they are obviously invited, but with various acquaintances it’s tough. We live in the same Nepali-community-abroad, so we don’t want to hurt other’s feelings, especially when the culture in Nepal is to invite as many people as you know, but P and I can’t keep adding to the list indefinitely. We have had many a discussion at the dinner table that goes something like,

P: “I feel really bad. We didn’t invite X, we’ve been to her house for momos several times, and even though I haven’t spoken to her in a year, I think she has done bhai tikka for me before as well. She might be sad that she didn’t get an invite.”

Me: “But Y lives near her. We aren’t as close to Y. So he might be sad if he hears that X was invited but not him.”

D: “Yeah—and if you invite Y you have to invite his girlfriend too. And he is always with Z as well, and might bring him along.”

P: “I don’t really mind not inviting Y, and I certainly don’t want him to bring Z along, we barely know him.”

D: “But X and Y see each other every day. If you invite X you will probably have to invite Y… in the end that might mean 4 extra people!”

In addition, we are also not sure if some of our Nepali guests might bring along extra people as well. It’s not such a big taboo in Nepal to do this, heck I was brought along to a neighbor’s wedding the last time we were in Nepal, and I certainly wasn’t listed on the invitation card. With the buffet we have set up for the Nepali wedding it won’t be such a problem, but with the sit down dinner at the American wedding, if extra people show up they won’t have any food.

D was joking at dinner last night, “Well at least the Nepali wedding is first—like a rehearsal to see who might show up for the American wedding. If someone brings along extra guests you can talk to them about not bringing them the second day. Maybe you can get someone to be the ‘guest enforcer.’”

In my “type A”-list-making-American-personalitiy-ism I have been trying hard to keep tabs on who is and isn’t coming, so that I know how many favors to order, programs to print, and table set ups, etc, but I might just have to realize that I won’t know with 100% certainty who will be at each event until they happen. Hopefully the numbers from my list and the numbers who show up are not that far off.

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13 responses to “Wedding Crashers, Nepali Style

  1. i know exactly how that push-and-pull was….i came down hard on the Desi side of things only very certain people were invited etc etc. and rsvps HAD to be in, unbeknownst to me the parents went and invited another 30 people (thankfully we had a buffet…that i had paid for 20 extra people for), BUT the Caucasian side of the family who HAD rsvped ‘no’ ended up showing up in droves, 1/5th of our wedding were people who were from OUT OF TOWN and decided to ‘show up’ since uncle and aunt were driving out anyways. (they were used to big family-centric parish hall- auntys cooking- byob-wedding-receptions….ours was in the city, in a hotel and catered….eek!). it worked out more or less fine anyways….

  2. you poor thing! you might end up having 1000 people at your wedding haha

  3. Well at our wedding we invited 50, told the restaurant to cater for 100 and ended up having over 150. Expect to have extra people then double those expectations! Good Luck.

    • Oh my gosh, seriously?? That’s like my nightmare!

      • My father has been a wedding photographer for 30 years. He used to work closely with a wedding planner, so they could organize together. She always said to expect 1/3 more than the number that RSVP. In a culture that refers to everyone as brother/sister, aunt/uncle its no surprise that the whole ‘family’ feels invited to a wedding. You might need to expect 2/3 more than the RSVP list.

        • americanepali

          1/3 more? Wow. Thats a whole lot more than i was expecting even with the Nepal skew. I think this post only made me more apprehensive :(

          Your dad must have had some interesting stories though!

          • Didn’t want to make you even MORE worried. :/
            I was hoping that if you had a formula you could use maybe you could appease that internal planner side of yourself. It will be fine, I’m sure you’ll have a great time.
            As a planner (well, maybe OVER-planner), I know how it is to obsess over details, want to make things perfect, want to please the family and the friends, want to meet up to expectations, etc. Although I can’t imagine planning one large, but two weddings. I’m even more sure my father fears me ever saying, “I’m ready for my white wedding.”

            All that aside, please please please just enjoy yourself. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful partner that you obviously love and loves you. I hope you don’t forget that both weddings are really just celebrations of your love. Its not about food, the dress, and the cake. Its about a beautiful union. I’ve never met you and only been following your blog for about 10 months, but I am so thrilled for you two. I want to celebrate for you just because it is such a wonderful thing that you have found your partner. As far as I understand it, Nepali’s love this blessed beauty far more than I do. You are very lucky to have so many people wanting to wish you well in your future union. Congratulations, and I hope you welcome these physically absent but sincere well wishes! :)

  4. So true hehehe it happens all the time. in my wedding reception in 2003 we had more than 500 and it was too difficult to manage

  5. That’s definitely a problem in Nepali culture. People will invite all their guests to other people’s events. But a lot of the time, the people hosting the event will be completely fine with it. That’s why they make sure that there’s tons of extra food available at events like weddings, bartamans, pasnis etc. So if extra people do not show up then it’s a huge waste of money. RSVP requests would be considered ‘rude.’

    Hehe, this is one of the bonuses of doing a destination wedding in a foreign country like Sri Lanka. I’m pretty sure my extended family from Nepal [whom I haven’t even seen since I was 10] will most definitely not come and will not get offended that they’re not invited.

  6. LoL. I was trying to figure out who is X, Y and Z–couldn’t.

  7. I did that last year, i mean crashed a wedding. Well i didnt want to but i could not reject either. So dont just blame the crashers. :) Was visiting some relatives and it happens that they are involved with a wedding of some close friend of theirs. So how can i miss it, i mean how how can they leave me alone and go for the wedding :)? So i went, and enjoyed. It was fun. Thing is, in nepali culture anyone can invite for anybody’s wedding (apparently). Btw, hat was in the US too.

  8. Cra-zi-ness. Have a drink. Sounds like you need it!

  9. hehehehe wonderful discussions

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