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Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi


*Ruchi & Dave*

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

Longtime readers (or even short-time readers) know Ruchi from the comment section. She’s always the one leaving the comment so articulate “Think of it as there being two parallel realities…” that everyone else just nods and points and comments, “What she said.” So it comes as no surprise that her post on inter-cultural, inter-faith weddings, about something so profoundly complicated it’s often hard to string words around it, is just as articulate. We’re running it in Working Together week because, well, first, one does not pull of an inter-cultural wedding without a huge amount of teamwork (like it or not). And second, her husband Dave will be joining us on Friday to give his perspective on the wedding and planning process (talk about teamwork). Till then, here is to adding another Hinjew wedding to the internet’s limited inspiration archives on the subject. Cheers to that!Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

When I was very little, my identity was simple. I used to say that I was half Indian and half American and that made me one whole person.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

But then I got a little older and realized my youthful naïveté because of course I was actually half Gujarati and half Marathi and somehow wholly Indian and also wholly American. But that would make me three people, which didn’t really work mathematically. Perhaps I was fractured or divided, I thought. That way the math would work out! I saw my identity as a mosaic—little tiles coming from India and America to produce one whole, albeit slightly confused person.

But maybe you are wondering what any of this has to do with a wedding.

Well, what is a wedding if not a public, highly charged identity transformation? Which kinda explains why it’s so damn hard.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

In the course of planning my wedding, I was told that my wedding was a “hippie wedding” by my sister, who was highly annoyed by the lack of bridal party, floral centerpieces, and limousines. I was told that my wedding was “extremely traditional” by my mother who didn’t understand how I, a former non-consumerist and general eco-nut, now wanted a wedding that included dinner, dancing, and toilet paper for 250 people.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

Dave’s family, anxious about wearing Indian clothes, wondered if the wedding would feel “very Indian.” Meanwhile, my family worried that, without a Hindu pundit, the wedding would not be Indian enough.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

Everyone was doing the math. Hippie + traditional + Indian + Jewish = FOUR weddings. And yet we were only having one.

One wedding might not seem like a controversial choice, but in fact, no one in our families, including Dave and me at first, knew quite how to honor our disparate identities with only one wedding. The other Indians I knew who had married non-Indians had either had one completely secular ceremony, one completely Indian ceremony, or had two ceremonies—one Indian, one not. And while all of those options are perfectly valid and wonderful, none of them resonated exactly with us. A secular wedding was problematic because, while both Dave and I are spiritually agnostic, the rituals of religion and our cultural traditions are extremely important to both of us. A completely Indian ceremony would have honored my culture, but would have ignored the nearly four thousand-year-old practices of Dave’s family. And while two ceremonies would have allowed us to honor both cultures and give both equal weight, Dave and I were having trouble working out the arithmetic once again. Perhaps one Indian woman + one Jewish man = two weddings, but we only had one marriage and one life together. For us, the answer seemed to be to integrate our cultures into one ceremony.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

At first the task seemed daunting. There was no playbook for how to have a Hinjew wedding, and neither of us had ever been to one. I searched the internets high and low and found record of three or four other Hinjew weddings. Excited, I sent them all to Dave and devoured the few details available. One wedding featured a chuppah with sari fabric wrapped around the poles—I dutifully filed this away in my inspiration file, a folder destined to hold few images.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

We started talking to Dave’s family’s rabbi who had questions and concerns. How could he perform our wedding without it being overly tilted to the Jewish side? How did my family feel? How could we incorporate Indian and Jewish traditions in a thoughtful and respectful manner?

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

And Dave and I began to seriously discuss and articulate why our respective cultures were so important to us in ways we had never thought of before. For me, I realized that my Indian identity was very wrapped up in food, clothing, and names. For Dave, it was the rituals of Judaism that were the most important. From there, we were able to start integrating our cultures into our wedding and into our lives. Dave asked his family to wear Indian clothes for the ceremony and started cooking tandoori chicken for all our barbecues. I learned about Jewish holidays and life-cycle rituals. We went to three separate Passover seders and I hummed “Ma Nishtana” under my breath for a month.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

The coolest part of this process of integrating our cultural identities came when I realized that there were some things about Judaism that I cared more about than Dave and vice versa. Dave had never had a mezuzah in his life, nor had he ever thought about it. But it was important to me, so we got one. Meanwhile, it was Dave who insisted we boil over the milk when we moved into a new place. It was Dave who peppered my mom with questions so that he could learn to make whatever Indian dish she had made that night. And I feel certain that it will not be me but Dave who carries on my family’s specialty dishes.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

Still, as much as Dave and I were becoming adept at integrating our respective cultures into our shared life, the wedding planning wasn’t easy. A wedding is, after all, bigger than the two people getting married, and our families weren’t yet at the same place we were. We fought over the littlest and weirdest things—my family didn’t understand how Dave and I were going to stand during our ceremony, because of course the bride and groom sit. Meanwhile, Dave’s family was uncomfortable with sitting, because the parents always stand around the chuppah. It seemed silly, and yet it wasn’t. Everyone was being asked to do things foreign to them that they weren’t completely comfortable with. Dave and I learned that we had to be understanding, but that we also had to stay firm. After all, these issues weren’t going to go away. Our lives and cultures were going to be forever integrated; better to deal with this now than the day before our first kid’s bris. But I worried that our families and communities would feel uncomfortable during the ceremony. Would it be too weird? Too hard? Too different?

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

Meanwhile I was going through my own process of feeling alone and frustrated. We had been spending all this time working on the ceremony, and almost no time on the aesthetics, which scared me. I knew I wanted our wedding to be pretty and sh*t, but I had a hard time visualizing our wedding. Other people feel oversaturated by the wedding media—me, I was in a desert. All these ideas and pictures and inspiration boards and none of them for me. I threw several pity parties for myself and shook my fist at the powers that be. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most diverse places in the country, if not the world. I had never really felt “othered” until my wedding when I realized that all wedding media works under the assumption that a bride in a white dress is traditional. For me, wearing white would have been untraditional. But that perspective isn’t represented by the wedding industry.*

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

Eventually, though, I came to see the dearth of inspiration as freeing. Where one might see a wedding blog and think, “Oh that’s beautiful, I wonder if I can fit that in at my wedding,” I was able to think, “Oh that’s beautiful.” Period. As hard as it was to be different, I was able to see pictures of weddings as lovely for other people. Meanwhile, without all the saturation, Dave and I were able to craft the wedding that was lovely for us.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

And in the end, it was perfect. We had a horse and a hora. The seven marriage blessings traditional to Jewish weddings and the seven steps around the fire traditional to Hindu weddings. We took off our shoes for the ceremony and still figured out a way for Dave to stomp on the glass. Dave’s family wore Indian clothes (as did his friends, my friends, and even our amazing photographers!). And my family and friends proudly sat with yarmulkes perched atop their heads. As our rabbi said during our ceremony, that day, two ancient cultures came together. And it felt magical.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

It looked magical too. Turns out, that when you have a bunch of women wearing beautiful saris, you don’t need to worry about the aesthetics. Also turns out, that Meg is, as always, right. I didn’t read her book until after my wedding, but in it she writes, “If you create a really meaningful wedding ceremony, you can put less effort into the rest of the party. If your guests are on an emotional high after basking in your love and wiping away their tears, they are much less likely to notice that the centerpieces never showed up.” I definitely found this to be true. When I made my rounds during the cocktail hour, I was emotionally exhilarated which I thought was pretty normal. But what surprised me was how emotionally charged our guests seemed to be.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

As we begin the rest of our lives together, I realize that the math still doesn’t add up. And I realize that it doesn’t have to. Because, in the end, our identities are so much more complex than mere arithmetic. We are able to hold multiple disparate identities—Jewish, Indian, American, San Franciscan—without necessarily having to fracture and divide them. As beautiful an image as the mosaic is, I don’t think it works anymore. Instead, maybe our identities are more like kaleidoscopes, with our various cultural histories refracting into one beautiful interweaved pattern.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

Looking back on the day, I remember with complete clarity the private breakfast Dave and I shared. I remember how gorgeous my mother-in-law looked and felt in her sari. I remember my cousin proudly announcing she had stolen Dave’s shoes. I remember my mother’s expression of excitement and terror when she was hoisted up in a chair during the hora. I remember my wedding and can’t help getting excited. After all, as wonderful as it was, it was just the beginning.

Ruchi & Dave, by Ruchi | A Practical Wedding

*Just to be clear—I don’t really blame the wedding industry for its lack of representation of people of color and people of different traditional backgrounds. Ultimately, wedding media and wedding blogs work with the weddings they are given. If people of color don’t submit their weddings, they won’t be shown.

The Info—Photography: Emily Takes Photos (APW Sponsor) / Venue: San Francisco Galleria / Day Of Coordinator: Lowe House Events (APW Sponsor) / Ruchi’s Wedding Sari: Roopkala in Mumbai, India / Ruchi’s Reception Lengha: Ushnakmal in Delhi, India / Ruchi’s Ring: Turtle Love Co.  (APW Sponsor) / Dave’s Wedding Kurta: Mumbai, India (we can’t remember the store!) / Dave’s Sherwani: Benzer in Mumbai, India / Ketubah: KetubahKraft / Mehndi: Kamala at Henna World

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  • http://smittenimmigrant.wordpress.com pluis

    I’m not sure what it was: the eloquence and insight in the words or the explosions of emotions and colours from the pictures. Maybe both.. I’m all blown away and it’ll be a while before I’ve recovered.

    Ruchi, Dave, you have made an impact. It’s stunning.

  • http://everythingcomesfromnow.blogspot.com/ E3

    This may be my favourite post on this site of all time. What an absolutely beautiful experience of two cultures integrating respectfully and with true honour. Thank you for sharing the best possible outcome of such a true joining together.

    Also, my god, the clothes. Gorgeous.

  • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

    EVERYTHING about this post is so beautiful…your words, how much sentiment emanates from them, your sari (OMG!), the love in both your eyes, the general sense of happiness, cheerfulness and community that every picture transpired…so, so beautiful!
    Congratulations!

  • Caroline

    This is a gorgeous and impressive post. Thanks for sharing your story and your beautiful pictures!

  • Claire

    Ahh, Gorgeous! So wise and beautifully written. Thank you for this lovely story.

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

    There’s some serious wisdom here. I love that you two worked so hard to incorporate what was important to both of you about your cultures and traditions into one integrated wedding, and even more that you really worked to get to the bottom of what, in particular, is important to you and why.

  • rys

    This is one of the most beautiful, thoughtful, and eloquent essays I’ve ever read on intercultural and interfaith wedding planning and marriage. The descriptions of the process elegant, the evolution in thinking profound, and the mathematical analogies genius. Thank you!

  • KH_Tas

    Beautiful, wonderful, amazing, inspiring. Love.

  • http://somethingshavehappened.blogspot.co.uk/ Siobhan

    I love every little thing about this post. Everything.

    Also – “Well, what is a wedding if not a public, highly charged identity transformation? Which kinda explains why it’s so damn hard.”

    This is why people get “post wedding blues” a lot I think. Identity transofrmation. It is HUGE. I’m currently having a little identity crisis two months in to being married as this whole being a wife and having a new name thing (I chose to change my name, I chose to get married) are both hard to get my head around even though I wanted both of them.

    This is one of my favourite posts anywhere. Thank you.

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    Spec. Tac. U. Lar!!!

    (In the best way, not in that it was a spectacle.) YES, your guests will delight in a meaningful ceremony, and not care about the other details. We had a much simpler, though still interfaith and nontraditional/multitraditional, wedding than yours, but the richness that you get by doing that work is just hard to replicate any other way. Worth it, for sure. THANK YOU for sharing, Ruchi!!!

  • Fermi

    “I don’t really blame the wedding industry for its lack of representation of people of color and people of different traditional backgrounds. Ultimately, wedding media and wedding blogs work with the weddings they are given. If people of color don’t submit their weddings, they won’t be shown.”

    Loved your post and your last comment!

    • KB

      Word, to the nth degree! I am not a person of color and yet I have found most of my inspiration from so-called cultural weddings because I’m attracted to the colors and the thoughtfulness behind so many of other ceremonies. This is just my opinion, but I feel like the normative Christian wedding is so run-of-the-mill to me (probably because I grew up in that tradition!) and I really gravitate towards the symbolism in the rites of other religions. I wish more people would post more weddings like this on mainstream websites because then it would inspire even more people!

      • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

        I used to wish I came from some other culture than British. All my ancestors are British. And that just seemed so boring to me. No colorful clothing. No high stepping dances. Shirt ruffles and powdered wigs can seem so blasé at times.

        But it’s who I am and I’m embracing it. I’ll dance Greensleeves and remember the 5th of November. I felt ancestral pride watching the opening ceremonies to the Olympics. I wanted to put “Anglo-Saxon” as my “race” for the national census two years ago but my husband didn’t want to be bothered by census takers trying to figure out what that meant so he didn’t let me.

    • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

      Heh thanks. That was my not-so-subtle hint to those ladies (and gentlemen) of color reading this site to submit your wedding grad posts!! They’re important.

    • http://www.rachelwilkerson.com Rachel Wilkerson

      I loved SO much about this post, but this part really stuck out to me. I do think it’s kind of a Catch-22. I probably wouldn’t submit my wedding to a site (hell, I wouldn’t even READ it( if I didn’t ever see non-white or interracial couples on it. That’s part of the reason I read and love APW, because I always feel welcome here. Other sites…not so much. I don’t know how exactly they can solve this, but I’d love to see more diversity throughout the wedding web. Still, I’m glad you were able to turn this into a positive for your wedding planning!

      • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

        Rachel, I do agree with you that it’s a Catch-22. As someone who has worked in the media in various capacities for a long time, I see both sides of it. I remember way back in college, as artistic director of my student theatre organization, debating with my board as to whether we should try and mount a production of M Butterfly the next year. There was a very real fear by many that we just would not be able to find an Asian actor with the necessary chops (I was one of a handful of non-white students in my acting program). In the end, we pushed past the fear, and found the perfect actor for the role, so I’m glad we took the risk. But that kind of thing is often a concern. Of course, as a student in the program, I also knew that many students of color didn’t enter the acting program because they didn’t see any roles for them.

        So yeah, it’s difficult. But I really am sympathetic to a number of the wedding bloggers when it comes to diversity in wedding blogland. There are plenty of issues with some of the big mainstream wedding blogs, but again, wearing my editor hat, I’d wager that most of those big blogs do want to feature weddings with different traditions and cultures, because well … they’re different and interesting for their audience to read about. Again, I don’t really know or follow the big mainstream sites, and I don’t know any of the people who run them, but my gut suspicion would be that as a percentage, they accept way more submissions from say Indian weddings than they would from white Protestant weddings.

        And as for the sites I do read, like Offbeat Bride and A Practical Wedding, I know well enough to say confidently that they are absolutely committed to featuring wedding diversity. And not only committed, but actively encourage and solicit it. And yet, I imagine even for them, it is still often difficult to find diverse weddings to feature. Hence the PSA.

        So yeah, write ladies. We need your voices heard!

        • ferrous

          Wow. Ruchi, your post is very inspirational, and I feel as though you spoke to me directly. I’ll submit our interracial wedding, to “be the change I want to see” and the like. Thank you for this.

  • Corrie

    I have always loved seeing pictures of Indian weddings because I think they are so beautiful. However, your Hinjew wedding takes the cake. Not only are the pictures beautiful, but the way in which you brought your cultures together, and especially the way your families and friends were so willing to step outside their comfort zones to wear Indian clothes and yarmulkes – that is the most beautiful thing. It so warmed my heart to see such a joyous meshing to two very different cultures, and you described it so eloquently. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Shiri

    Thank you so much for this. It was incredibly eloquent and beautiful.

    I got married a month ago (woah) in a Jewish wedding, but we’re an interfaith couple. I remember being so worried about my wedding being “Jewish enough” for my family because it was a symbol of how Jewish our marriage would be. I kept feeling that a Jewish wedding would prove to my family that it was ok that I was marrying outside the tribe, so to speak – that if they could accept and be reassured by the wedding, they could accept the marriage. Thankfully, in the end, the wedding didn’t feel like proof of anything. Like you found, it was the emotions and the joy of the guests that mattered most to me.

  • Allie

    Uber-love this post- thank you so much Ruchi!

    This part is what I found to really resonate:

    “And Dave and I began to seriously discuss and articulate why our respective cultures were so important to us in ways we had never thought of before.”

    To a perhaps less extreme extent D and I are from different cultures. I find it so illuminating and learn things about myself when I have to articulate how and why something is important to me / forms part of my beliefs/view of the world. Sometimes I end up saying “well that’s just nuts – why DO I think in that way?”

    And 100 times exactly to feeling surprised and overwhelmed by the emotional reaction of your guests- I was totally shocked by the reaction of our assembled friends and their confessions to crying through the ceremony and how moved they were. Being surrounded by that energy on that day and knowing that it will continue to surround us throughout our lives because of the connection of our guests to us and our commitment is just awe inspiring! It’s like some sort of energizing safety net!

    • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

      I think that all couples — even couples of the same religion, same socioeconomic background, and same culture — have to navigate some sort of cultural divide. Each individual family has its own family culture and it can be hard to navigate between your family culture and your significant other’s.

      For example, one of those little weird things about my family is that there is some sort of unspoken rule that when we go to Chinese restaurants, the one thing we would never, ever, ever order is orange chicken. (I’m not sure why this is a rule because I’ve had it and it is pretty delicious.) But I remember the first time I went out to Chinese with my friends and someone ordered orange chicken and I was so confused. I just couldn’t believe anyone ordered it since my family never did!

  • Jashshea

    I’m not Indian, he’s not Indian, but I tried SO HARD to convince him to wear his Kurta to the wedding because it’s the most beautiful piece of clothing either of us will ever own (my gown included). Sigh.

    Anyhow.

    Gorgeous pictures, esp that last one. And great advice – Think about what matters and is meaningful; Use what works and abandon what doesn’t. I think that’s something that doesn’t always occur to (choosing words delicately here) people like me (mutty european mix, not particularly religious) – the ceremony is important and being thoughtful there is more important than thoughtfully selected centerpieces*

    *not that centerpieces aren’t important, too.

  • http://useyourwordss.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    This is. So. Amazing. I’m used to tearing up at APW posts about coming out of tragedies, but this one made me tear up with joy about how “multiculturalism” doesn’t have to be homogenization, and identities can be embraced as multipliers rather than additions and subtractions. Mazel tov!

  • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

    I got chills reading this. LOVE the colors and the insight into integrating different parts of our selves and our relationships. Thank you for sharing, Ruchi :)

    Also, omg, horse!

  • Steph

    This wedding brought back memories of planning our Jewtheran (Jewish and Lutheran) wedding 3 years ago. We had the same feeling of wanting ONE wedding that refelcted both of our religious and spiritual identities, which in the end we were able to pull off :)

    Congrats to you both!

  • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

    This is a fantastic post. Although my fiancé and I are from similar religious and cultural backgrounds, we still felt the battle between families and their expectations for our wedding. I think every engaged couple feels it. That battle (and being in the middle of it) has been, without a doubt, the hardest part of wedding planning. I’m glad you found such a beautiful middle ground.

  • EJ

    Ruchi, your and Dave’s story has fixed something in me that I thought was broken: my ability to actually look forward to my own wedding. We’re two months out and it’s been an endless game of telephone of expectations from both our families, usually with my fiancee and me smack in the middle. After yet another unpleasant argument this weekend I had basically given up hope of looking forward to the wedding and had resolved just to grin and bear it. But your story of holding firm and working through tough issues and emerging to find something unexpectedly wonderful on the end… it’s given me hope and faith at the exact moment I needed it. Thank you so much for sharing this slice of you with all of us.

    • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

      Aw, EJ, big, big hugs. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m thinking about you!

  • Ana Maria

    On describing the family dynamic, this hit home, reminding me of my Panamerican Cathogelical (Catholic-Evangelical??) wedding:

    “Everyone was being asked to do things foreign to them that they weren’t completely comfortable with.”

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      That part hit me too! Our wedding was “weird” to both sides (though for different reasons due to things not aligning with various parts of our different cultural backgrounds/expectations), and somehow (though I worried about it!) it ended up being freeing. People didn’t know what to expect and ended up enjoying the surprise on the actual day. :)

  • Someone else today

    So, I *want* to focus on how eloquent and beautifully written and thoughtful this was…

    But this is one of the most stunning weddings (and stunning brides!) I’ve seen. The colours, the details, the total delight on everyone’s faces… Totally gorgeous.

    • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

      He, I know! I kept looking back to the pictures with my mouth wide open :)

  • Class of 1980

    This makes other interfaith weddings look like a cakewalk! ;)

    Seriously, this was a beautiful and fun wedding and I predict a very happy marriage.

    Also, I’ve always wanted a sari and the bride was wearing my most favorite color. Jealous!

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      I have one. I just wish I had reasons to wear it.

  • http://rachael-maddux.tumblr.com Rachael

    Muhhh! Beauuutiful.

  • Emily

    So. Amazing. And holy crap, look at the chuppah!

  • Nasim

    This is AWESOME! Thank you for your story. It is very inspirational to this bride planning an agnostically spiritual/ Baha’i / Iranian / African American wedding ceremony. Your insights were thoughtful, inspirational, and certainly help me keep perspective – unity in diversity!

  • http://whitehindu.blogspot.com Carolyn

    Yay! Hindu wedding!

    Also, this is very helpful for me because when I get married I will also be doing one ceremony that blends Indian and Scottish and American traditions.

  • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

    Everything about this post is such a pleasure. You’ve described everything so thoughtfully, and I can’t help but just be so happy for you two!

    When I was wedding planning (Chinese + American), if felt a lot like trying to integrate the Chinese *into* the American wedding. Thinking about what aspects from both cultures to bring into your own unique wedding is so much of a better mentality, and you did it so successfully.

  • JenMcC

    I love everything about this post and about your wedding. I’m so impressed by your thoughtfulness and wisdom, and this quote, particularly, stayed with me:

    “Well, what is a wedding if not a public, highly charged identity transformation? Which kinda explains why it’s so damn hard.”
    …and will be very useful to remember, I think, as I plan my own wedding.

    I also want to admit to being somewhat jealous of you. I’m a white girl, raised Christian/Agnostic (depending on the year), and I’ve often been jealous of the gorgeous, meaningful traditions I see in other cultures and religions, particularly, as it happens, Jewish and Hindi ones. It was fascinating to read about the challenges you faced in blending these two rich traditions together and then wonderful to see how beautifully you did it. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Jane

    Love, love love this post. Thank you!

    Writing from the world of agnostic white weddings, I STILL feel that there’s nothing like the wedding industry to make you feel like there’s a set of tiny, restrictive boxes you’re supposed fit into.

    I think one of the great challenges of weddings, as you rightly point out, is facing assumptions, and staking out all those identities that matter to you. But just as families have to adjust to the idea of their children becoming married adults, the wedding also forces them to adjust to the many versions of yourself that you have become (together, separately) in the relationship process. You captured this truth in such a lovely way.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Yea!!!

    (Do I have to leave a longer comment than that? Because that’s about as articulate as I am after reading such a beautiful piece.)

  • ElisabethJoanne

    OMG what a beautiful chuppah!! As someone planning a catholic and Jewish wedding in the Bay Area, could I please have more info on the chuppah and the rabbi?

    • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

      The chuppah is the family chuppah of the friends who set Dave & me up! My friend’s mother sewed the chuppah for my friend’s wedding, and then both her brothers were married under that same chuppah. We were so honored when they offered us their chuppah for our wedding. It’s a nice memory and reminder that our home could never have been created without my friend’s intervention. ;)

      But the wedding canopy is actually traditional to both Hindu and Jewish traditions, so our chuppah actually served double duty as a chuppah and a mandap. That’s why the poles are covered in marigolds — they are a traditional and auspicious decoration for mandaps.

      The rabbi is actually Dave’s family rabbi. He performed the b’nai mitvah for Dave and his two siblings and then married all three siblings as well. It was an incredible experience to have someone who was so close to Dave’s family perform the wedding. But unfortunately he lives in Long Island, so I’m afraid I can’t help you there either!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Even if the information isn’t helpful, it’s beautiful. Thank you.

  • Zen

    This is one of my favourite posts here ever. And this: “Where one might see a wedding blog and think, “Oh that’s beautiful, I wonder if I can fit that in at my wedding,” I was able to think, “Oh that’s beautiful.” Period. As hard as it was to be different, I was able to see pictures of weddings as lovely for other people.” Hah! Yes!

  • April

    Oh, I am just sobbing my face off after reading this! The words, the complete joy and love that pours off each picture… Such a moving and beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing…Congratulations, darlings!

  • Jessica

    Is that black and white picture with the skyline in the background taken from maybe Kansas and 20th? I grew up around there, and it’s the second time I’ve seen the neighborhood in a photo on APW. :)

    • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

      Well spotted! Wisconsin and 20th, but you were close!

  • http://threlkelded.net Emily

    Lovely! So, so lovely!

  • Natalie

    I love this post so much! I teared up reading it on the bus this morning when I got to the part about your family wearing yarmulkes and his wearing Indian clothes. What a beautiful expression of each family embracing the other.

    And that last picture! It makes me melt.

  • V

    I just want to say THANK YOU for this post. It’s so rare to see smart, meaningful posts about inter-cultural weddings. I’m so glad to see this content here, and I hope we see more like it in the future.

  • Sarah

    I have no deep insight to share. Just wanted to tell you you guys made one bitter old journalist cry tonight. May you have as happy a life together as your wedding looked and felt.

  • Julia

    For the future reference of people planning HinJew weddings, there is a tradition of Indian Judaism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_India), and a fairly large (in the sense that any diaspora Jewish community can be large) diaspora of Baghdadi Jews; I went to school with one, who married another of our (Ashkenazi) classmates in a beautiful Jewish-Indian ceremony.

  • Julie

    While I realize it’s a bit late, this is one of my favorite sites on the web: http://beautifulindianbrides.tumblr.com/page/30

  • Laura

    This was such a beautiful wedding and you are beautiful people. Looking at these pictures made me cry! Congratulations on a lovely day and best of luck to you in your marriage.

  • Shira

    Ruchi, what a beautiful simcha! It warms my heart to see how enthusiastically and respectfully you and Dave identifide what was important to you and crafted a marriage built in sharing and trust. Mazal tov!

  • Madalyn

    Ruchi,

    Thank you for the thoughtful post sharing your wedding planning experience and the beautiful results. It’s encouraging for me as I try to fathom what a wedding between me (ex-Catholic American) and my fiance (Hindu Indian immigrant) would be like. Just thinking about how to have the ceremony is daunting. It’s even more difficult with all the family involved who know nothing about Hindu traditions and vice versa. You have given me some hope that we could have a beautiful ceremony that’s meaningful for both of us and our families.

  • Lia

    Thank you for such a thoughtful telling of your story (or the beginning of your story!) – my fiance is Indian (British, sort of Hindu!) and I am British British (non-religious), and we’re planning two wedding ceremonies (after spending ages working out what we wanted!) so lots of this resonated for me.

    Congratulations, and the photos are gorgeous! *makes mental note of colourful saris*

  • http://www.michiedoll.com Michelle

    This is beautiful in more ways than one. As a “hinjew” (seriously, I thought my friend coined that term just for me!), I have to say, what probably would have helped you the MOST was to know that there is still a thriving Jewish community in India. A lot of have moved to England and Canada and probably to the States as well.

    It’s hard to blend more than one culture and I think you did a beautiful job. As someone who is uncomfortable find ways to integrate the many tiles (really like that metaphor) of my own identity, it’s nice to see how someone else did it.

    I’ll be coming back here for inspiration!

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

    Beautiful.

    I love how you intentional went about integrating your cultures together. And I love that you both are advocates of the other’s culture…making the specialty dish, etc. What a beautiful way to join your lives, families, and cultures together in so many ways…

  • http://wedding-event.webs.com Alice

    Congrats to Dave and Ruchi. All pics are very beautiful, as a girl i can fell this happy wedding moment. Thanks for sharing your happy moments with us. Enjoy

  • dawn

    I know I’m late to this post and thread, but I just wanted to say that it’s inspiring, even though I’m working with a different combination of cultural and faith traditions. I’m a white, life-long American; he’s Chinese Indonesian who has been in the US a while; we are both coming from a Christian background and share our faith with our parents….but even that part isn’t all that simple. Traditions and practices differ so much. The intercultural surprises just keep coming up, and there really isn’t anywhere to go for a model of what we’re doing. The discussion made me think that, when it’s all over, I should submit our wedding somewhere, if just to help wedding blog editors show diversity!

  • Cynthia

    I am so happy you posted this. I am Catholic and from the USA and my fiancé is Hindu and from India. We have been struggling to plan our wedding, in a way that will bring both cultures together. This may help frame our conversations differently in the future.

  • Aarti

    Thank you so much for your post!!! I never cry, and here we are ….. I love weddings and have contemplated a combined ceremony (christian/hindu) but been too afraid to really allow myself to think of it as an option besides the two separate weddings, when i also strongly believe one life together, one wedding. :)