The 1st The Shaadi Shop Blog

Hi friends!

My name is Shaina. My parents immigrated from Pakistan, and I was born and raised in America. My parents worked hard to pass down their traditions, as well as for me to feel assimilated into American culture. This created a fusion of cultures/traditions from both societies into our household. In November 2016, my mother's dream came true, and I got engaged to a fellow Pakistani-American. I was lucky our shared experiences of growing up as first generation Pakistani’s, as well as our personalities and families, brought us closer together. When it was time for the wedding, my husband and I both wanted to balance the events with a fusion of South Asian and Western traditions. See the table below for a brief recap of some differences and general observations I’ve made over the years.

Western Weddings

South Asian Weddings

  • Generally, maximum of 300 guests, if not less
  • Generally, minimum 300 of guests, if not more (including people neither the bride nor the groom knows)
  • Events last a full weekend
  • Events last at least a full week, if not months
  • Guests tend to follow itineraries/structure
  • Guests don't tend to follow itineraries/structure
  • Structured dinner plan
  • Buffet-style, non-stop eating, guests get in lines 
  • Guests dress elegantly but make sure not to upstage the bride
  • Guests dress up glamorously in lavish outfits and finest jewelry
  • Background music, and a designated time for dancing at the end of the event
  • Loud, festive music with dozens of choreographed dances, as well as freestyle, from beginning to end of every event festivities

 

Overall, I love so many aspects of both South Asian & Western weddings, and I strived to incorporate the best of my two worlds into my own. I wanted a traditional Pakistani wedding; full of colors, music, and festivity, with the structure, intimacy, and elegance of an American wedding. Balancing those items was a lot trickier than it seemed. Examples of my attempts to do so include:

  • Guest Size: As much as I tried to wean down the guest list, it still ended up being over 600 people. I did, however, still make a detailed seating chart to bring about some order within the chaos, and it is still one of my greatest accomplishments to date.
  • Vows & Nikkah: We personalized our Nikkah to fit us. Although we had the South Asian tradition of an Imam officiating during the Nikkah, we also added a hint of Western traditions by saying vows to one another.
  • Bridal Party: This was another tricky part, because I had about a dozen of my closest friends and cousins in my bridal party - something that is common in South Asian weddings, but I had designated coordinated outfits for each of them for our events.
  • Dances: Similar to Western-style weddings, I had a DJ for free-styling on the dance floor, but maintained the South Asian tradition of numerous choreographed dances by my closest friends and family. I also had the first dance with my husband and father, but threw in a Bhangra dance into the mix as well.

As I planned ‘the biggest event of my life,’ I realized I was so focused on the traditions and logistics, when it was actually the involvement, support, and joy of my loved ones, which made it an incredible experience. The most important similarities between the two culture’s weddings include lots of happiness, sharing it with loved ones, and a strengthened partnership between the bride and groom. The planning and wedding itself brought me closer to my fiancé, our families, and friends, as well as all of them to each other. I began The Shaadi Shop (TSS) to reflect that a wedding is not solely about the bride and groom, but also about family and close friends, and planning it can be a fun process rather than stressful.

So, this blog will provide a platform for myself, and other people to share their ideas and thoughts in the form of helpful tips, tricks, and templates for planning a South Asian wedding, with a Western twist. The topics will range from planning different types of wedding functions, what to wear to each event, and ideas for guests and brides to enjoy the wedding as much as possible. Many of the topics will pertain to lessons learned from my wedding, similar to the items I mentioned earlier. It can be overwhelming to try to think through and plan everything, so TSS is here to provide some support for you all! #TSSSupportTeam.

 


1 comment

  • Love it! Can’t wait for more :)

    Munsha Shekhani

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