If you’re visiting India, you likely want to cram as much culture into your trip as possible. A traditional Indian wedding is as culturally rich as it gets, but there’s probably one problem: You don’t have an Indian friend getting married. Usually, that would be a pretty big obstacle, but that was before Join My Wedding stepped in. The Australian start-up company is making it easy for travelers to experience the energy and liveliness of a traditional Indian wedding. And the best part? You won’t have to make awkward small-talk with cousins you haven’t spoken to in six years.
The company’s co-founder, Marti Matesca, came up with the idea when she was invited to an Indian wedding in Tamil Nadu. She told Lonely Planet that the event was an amazing experience, thanks to “all the traditional elements of the ceremony, down to the beautiful saris, accessories, generous hospitality, colorful lights… ambiance, smell, and decorations.” Inspired by her experience, she wanted to give other foreigners the same opportunity.
Join My Wedding allows you to become an active participant in an Indian wedding’s many celebratory customs. Most are multi-day affairs, and you can choose to attend for either one day or several. In addition to the wedding itself, you will also be exposed to traditions like the Sangeet ceremony — for women only, centering on dancing, music, and laughter — and the Mehndi, where the bride and relatives are painted with henna designs.
It might sound a little strange — and borderline cultural appropriation — for a tourist to attend a complete stranger’s wedding, but the Indian couples who consent to this experience understand the rich cultural significance and are often eager to expose foreigners to their traditions. So don’t worry, you won’t be labeled a “wedding crasher.”
Guests can attend weddings for a single day for $150 or two or more days for $250. You can browse available wedding options by filling out this form.