Have you ever crashed a wedding—or at least wanted to? I get the feeling. Free food and drinks, romance in the air, dancing…what’s not to like? But what if you could pay to crash a wedding? This is exactly the kind of service JoinMyWedding offers. Working exclusively with Indian weddings (for now), JoinMyWedding gives foreigners a chance to experience a once-in-a-lifetime wedding crashing experience.
How Does it Work?
Well, it starts with a native Indian couple taking interest in opening their wedding up to foreign guests. After the couple signs up, their profile is added to the JoinMyWedding site, advertising their specific type of wedding and weekend plans. Yes, I said that correctly: “weekend plans.” Many Indian weddings are a community event lasting a full weekend.
Back to the process; after you’ve chosen the wedding you’re interested in attending, you select how many days you’d like to participate. The rates are reasonable; some couples report paying around 200 dollars for their two-day excursion into an Indian couple’s traditional ceremony. Once you’ve paid through Paypal (the only payment type accepted by JoinMyWedding), the site takes a small commission and sends the rest of the funds directly to the couple. After confirmation of payment, you receive a detailed wedding profile with exact location, details of your hosts, and a contact person appointed by the hosts. This person will greet and take care of you prior to and during the event.
What to Expect
While every wedding is different, JoinMyWedding works hard to make your experience as smooth and stress-free as possible. The first thing you do before the festivities begin is meet with the couple. You can take this chance to chat and get comfortable with them, as well as ask questions. To ensure you get the experience you’re looking for, JoinMyWedding details the different parts to each Indian wedding.
Unknown to most foreigners, the Indian wedding tradition has multiple parts. One of the most popular is the pre-party known as the Sangeet, which is a celebration with music and dancing with both families present to celebrate. Another famous portion is called the Mehendi, where the bride and her female guests get henna painted. If you choose to take part in this portion of the festivities, you will be bedecked in henna which, according to JoinMyWedding, in Indian culture signifies your well-wishes and ties to the bride.
What Else Should I Know?
JoinMyWedding gives interlopers a chance to be included in long-time Indian cultural traditions. If you are looking to be immersed in Indian culture, this could be your ticket in. JoinMyWedding promises access to coveted knowledge while wedding guests teach you dances and cultural norms. These gifts and the wedding experience all come with the ticket. But where will you stay when you’re in India? JoinMyWedding even helps line up accommodations for you (and sometimes they’re with the families of the bride and groom). In addition, JoinMyWedding has answers to common etiquette questions such as what to wear to the wedding and what to bring as a wedding gift. If you still feel nervous about the experience even with assistance from the site and couple, you can also purchase a travel buddy. JoinMyWedding has a service where an inbound traveler will go with you to the wedding.
Did you know India hosts more than 10 million weddings every year? About 80% of Indian weddings are Hindu in nature and these couples are happy to share their traditions with you. If they sign up for the program, it’s safe to assume they won’t mind having outsiders at their wedding celebration. Many Indian couples who are a part of the program say the chance to meet foreigners and make connections is just as appealing to them as it is to those who want to experience an Indian wedding.
If you’re already planning a trip to India, this might be a fabulous tourist opportunity that makes you feel more like a local. While this service may seem overwhelming to some, many who’ve done this talk about how immersive the experience truly is. If you do decide to participate, you won’t have been the first. Over 100 couples have taken part in JoinMyWedding’s services so far. As the company’s tagline suggests, “Celebrate Together.”