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Weddings....costs, traditions, multicultural


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I am going to presume everyone answering saw my thread about DD24 and if you haven't, the gist is that DD24 has confirmed out loud that a wedding is in the works.  

There is no engagement ring and no wedding date yet, so in terms of planning, I feel very in limbo.  And when I feel in limbo, I try to take over what I can.  And what I can do is start the financial planning process lol.

 

Her BF is Indian by nationality....and Catholic by religion.  Neither he nor his parents are strongly practicing Catholics, and my whole family is also Catholic, though also not strongly practicing.  

SO....given that...talk to me about money.  

If she were to be marrying someone from central Indiana, of a Catholic or basic Christian faith, I would expect a reception food cost of $6k to $8k, and then another $1k to $2k to be spent on odds and ends like wedding dress, invites, decor, etc.  I would expect the couple to take on some expenses such as perhaps the DJ/reception music, perhaps assist with the decor, etc.  And I would anticipate that the groom's family to take on some things like the rehearsal dinner, contribute to some other odds and ends, etc.  So, for us, I would expect to be looking at around $7k to $9k.....ish.  

 

But because of cultural differences....plus the fact that his entire family lives in India and will need to come here for the wedding (because one thing I am confident in is that they intend to marry and live here.  He is already doing what he can in these strange times to gain his citizenship,) there are costs and traditions that I am not sure about.

My question is basically two parts.....what to expect regarding differences between a very basic Catholic/Christian wedding, and what to expect for a midwestern frugally based wedding with those caveats, in terms of what sort of financial plan DH and I need to work with.

 

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I would find a $$ number that you are able to give her for the wedding, and let her do all the planning, unless she asks for your help. I wouldn't try to itemize what everything might cost. Just find a number that you and DH can give, and let them know, when the topic comes up.

As for the actual celebration, your dd and her fiancé will learn a lot about each other as they plan and negotiate. 

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First, I am both Catholic and from the Midwest. When DH and I married, my parents basically said a version of "this is how much we can contribute. You can use it how you want, but anything more is up to you." Also, fwiw, the amount (for various reasons) was not the same as the amount as they were able to help my older sister.

I fully intend to take the same route with out children. I mean, some might want a small, super fancy wedding, while others want a ceremony with lots of guests but a reception in the backyard. 

Also, are you sure his family will be able (allowed) to travel? When a couple close to us got married, not even his mother was able to obtain a visa. IOW, the only people from the groom's side were 2 cousins who had already come here to study as well. 
 

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4 minutes ago, Tiberia said:

I would find a $$ number that you are able to give her for the wedding, and let her do all the planning, unless she asks for your help. I wouldn't try to itemize what everything might cost. Just find a number that you and DH can give, and let them know, when the topic comes up.

As for the actual celebration, your dd and her fiancé will learn a lot about each other as they plan and negotiate. 

I am only trying to get an "itemized" idea because I am specifically trying to figure out what sort of amount we can realistically pay for lol.  I am not trying to "itemize" in a detailed fashion....just trying to plan out a savings plan lol.

 

Yes, I anticipate they will learn a lot about each other and cultures.  I am however also looking to learn.  They live in another state from us and we haven't had a lot of opportunity to get to understand him and his cultural things.   Truth is....she knows a LOT about him and his culture...............but I don't know a lot about the cultural traditions.  

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My Italian Catholic wedding in NJ was over $30,000 and that was in 2003. I think it will be impossible to figure any of this out without knowing the norms and expectations of his family. We went to one Indian wedding and it was HUGE, easily cost as much or more than mine, which is typical for NJ.

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3 minutes ago, barnwife said:

First, I am both Catholic and from the Midwest. When DH and I married, my parents basically said a version of "this is how much we can contribute. You can use it how you want, but anything more is up to you." Also, fwiw, the amount (for various reasons) was not the same as the amount as they were able to help my older sister.

I fully intend to take the same route with out children. I mean, some might want a small, super fancy wedding, while others want a ceremony with lots of guests but a reception in the backyard. 

Also, are you sure his family will be able (allowed) to travel? When a couple close to us got married, not even his mother was able to obtain a visa. IOW, the only people from the groom's side were 2 cousins who had already come here to study as well. 
 

I can say with confidence that DD is not expecting "here are X dollars, use it how you want"   I know a lot of folks work that way and a lot of families that don't work that way have some controlling elements but I hope it's clear that neither part of our own traditions.  I have absolutely no desire to control my DD's wedding....and at the same time I have no desire to completely detach either.   

 

In terms of his family's travel.....I suspect that will depend on the actual wedding timeline and the pandemic.  I know his parents were here back in late January/early February, for a visit.  So at that time, it was no issue.  If DD were planning a wedding any time in the next 6 months....I suspect that things would obviously be incredibly difficult.  But, as I said, right now, there's no date.  I am anticipating that a wedding will take place anytime between 18 months and 36 months from now.  So say, for example, we are looking at January 2022.   Well, I have no idea what travel or visa conditions might exist at that point, given the pandemic craziness that exists now.  Who knows.  Which means that at this point..........I am presuming the wedding will take place after the vast majority of the pandemic restrictions have lifted and that there won't be legal issues with them travelling.  

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3 minutes ago, kristin0713 said:

My Italian Catholic wedding in NJ was over $30,000 and that was in 2003. I think it will be impossible to figure any of this out without knowing the norms and expectations of his family. We went to one Indian wedding and it was HUGE, easily cost as much or more than mine, which is typical for NJ.

See and my Polish Catholic wedding in Indiana in 2002 was less than $10k and there were still like 200 people.  

And yes, I think it's the norms and expectations of the other culture that I am so unsure of.  

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If you haven't been down the rabbit hole that is an Indian wedding (even an Indian-American fusion wedding)......brace yourself.  I'd make no assumptions whatsoever...even about his intentions if he hasn't introduced her to his family and had an engagement party.  Like, all bets are off on calling this a modest Midwest wedding until the couple declares that's what this will be. I'd figure out what you can contribute and let her take that on.

I've yet to see an Indian wedding (traditional--Christian or otherwise) that was less than $100k and a 3 day affair.

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52 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

See and my Polish Catholic wedding in Indiana in 2002 was less than $10k and there were still like 200 people.  

And yes, I think it's the norms and expectations of the other culture that I am so unsure of.  

India is an very big and diverse country. I would think that wedding traditions would vary greatly there, just as they do here. Are they expecting you and your husband to pay for the majority of the wedding?  It sounds like they will be closer to thirty than twenty by the time the wedding actually occurs, so maybe they plan to handle most of the costs themselves. 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

I can say with confidence that DD is not expecting "here are X dollars, use it how you want"   I know a lot of folks work that way and a lot of families that don't work that way have some controlling elements but I hope it's clear that neither part of our own traditions.  I have absolutely no desire to control my DD's wedding....and at the same time I have no desire to completely detach either.  

 That's all or nothing thinking and not an accurate representation of what people are suggesting to you. Don't make the mistake of assuming those of us who give our daughters a fixed amount to do with as they see fit are completely detached. Quite the opposite.  We give them the  purse so they control the purse strings and at the same time we joyfully participate in whatever aspects of the planning, preparations, ceremonies, and celebrations they want us to participate in, and it's usually a lot or most of it.

And don't assume we do that because it's part of our family traditions. No one else in my family ever did it that way, but so what?  We do that out of respect for them as brides and out of respect our budgets. Every tradition starts somewhere and last for a while then ends or evolves at different rates.

Figure out, based on your finances, a budget that makes financial sense for you and don't bother yourself with irrelevant factors like norms or traditions to do that.  Your financial situation is what it is regardless of wedding norms in your area.   After the budget is set, based on strictly financial factors, then it's time for the bride and the groom to think about what scale of wedding they want to have and whether or not it will look like a typical wedding your area or his home country. Factoring in what others usually do when making a budget is a recipe for trouble.

Also, you're not in limbo. You have the ability to figure out what you can afford based on your finances now no matter if there's a date and a ring and citizenship and international travel or not.  She's in limbo without a date and a husband who is trying to get citizenship.  That might be a bigger limbo these days than it was in years past. Everyone needs to mentally and emotionally prepare for possible scenarios.

It's fine for you to deal with limbo by trying to take over what what you're responsible for,  but when it's someone else's wedding you have to wait to be invited to take something over what isn't your responsibility.  You might want to find other ways of dealing with limbo because it sounds like this whole scenario has factors you'll have very little control over.

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Congrats ! 

I am Protestant and my Indian wedding was my Big Fat Indian wedding as pretty much everything is. Culturally, the thinking is you marry the family, so the concept of RSVP is not there. The invitation wording of all religions usually states Mr and Mrs X, invite ___ with friends and family on the occasion of the wedding of their son. 

Traditionally Indian brides wear what is called a mangalsutra or thali, a chain which is put around the bride's neck by the groom and exchange rings.  Here is a "modern" catholic wedding. 

 

The parents of the girls pay for the wedding, accommodation of close guests, gifts to close family and many ceremonies plus give jewelry amounting to hundreds of grams in gold for the girl. This is without dowry. The grooms family pays for a reception in their city, plus gives the girl jewelry and saris. Parents of a girl save their entire lives for it. This is for all religions including christians. 

My sincere advice, do what you can. Your daughter's future inlaws will probably have a reception for them in India since most of the family will not be able to travel. Inter culture weddings are fun. Your daughter can wear a sari if she likes, wear mehndi (henna) if she likes or not. Don't stress about traditions or finances, do what you can and enjoy it. There is usually a lot of dancing and fun traditions in Indian weddings even christian, it's loads of fun. So enjoy and do what you can. 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

See and my Polish Catholic wedding in Indiana in 2002 was less than $10k and there were still like 200 people.  

And yes, I think it's the norms and expectations of the other culture that I am so unsure of.  

Are you going to change your contribution substantially based on their norms and expectations? If not, just come up with a figure you're comfortable with and let them know the number. 

And if they do want a traditional Indian wedding, it is a far, far cry from a traditional Midwestern wedding, lol. In style and cost. 

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9 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

Congrats ! 

I am Protestant and my Indian wedding was my Big Fat Indian wedding as pretty much everything is. Culturally, the thinking is you marry the family, so the concept of RSVP is not there. The invitation wording of all religions usually states Mr and Mrs X, invite ___ with friends and family on the occasion of the wedding of their son. 

Traditionally Indian brides wear what is called a mangalsutra or thali, a chain which is put around the bride's neck by the groom and exchange rings.  Here is a "modern" catholic wedding. 

 

The parents of the girls pay for the wedding, accommodation of close guests, gifts to close family and many ceremonies plus give jewelry amounting to hundreds of grams in gold for the girl. This is without dowry. The grooms family pays for a reception in their city, plus gives the girl jewelry and saris. Parents of a girl save their entire lives for it. This is for all religions including christians. 

My sincere advice, do what you can. Your daughter's future inlaws will probably have a reception for them in India since most of the family will not be able to travel. Inter culture weddings are fun. Your daughter can wear a sari if she likes, wear mehndi (henna) if she likes or not. Don't stress about traditions or finances, do what you can and enjoy it. There is usually a lot of dancing and fun traditions in Indian weddings even christian, it's loads of fun. So enjoy and do what you can. 

I was hoping you would post.  I thank you for your info and I will watch that video tonight.

My oldest knows *SO MUCH MORE* about all this than I do.  And that's completely ok.  I am literally just trying to get a handle on what to expect, both financially and culturally.  

I will say.....his family is small.  Much smaller than I am used to in Catholic families.

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6 minutes ago, katilac said:

Are you going to change your contribution substantially based on their norms and expectations? If not, just come up with a figure you're comfortable with and let them know the number. 

And if they do want a traditional Indian wedding, it is a far, far cry from a traditional Midwestern wedding, lol. In style and cost. 

I suppose that depends on what you mean by substantially.....Our financial plan will change based on differences of $1k, $2k or perhaps even $5k.    But if we get beyond say $10k to $15k, yeah.....then we are getting beyond what we can save for.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

I am going to presume everyone answering saw my thread about DD24 and if you haven't, the gist is that DD24 has confirmed out loud that a wedding is in the works.  

There is no engagement ring and no wedding date yet, so in terms of planning, I feel very in limbo.  And when I feel in limbo, I try to take over what I can.  And what I can do is start the financial planning process lol.

Her BF is Indian by nationality....and Catholic by religion.  Neither he nor his parents are strongly practicing Catholics, and my whole family is also Catholic, though also not strongly practicing.  

SO....given that...talk to me about money.  

If she were to be marrying someone from central Indiana, of a Catholic or basic Christian faith, I would expect a reception food cost of $6k to $8k, and then another $1k to $2k to be spent on odds and ends like wedding dress, invites, decor, etc.  I would expect the couple to take on some expenses such as perhaps the DJ/reception music, perhaps assist with the decor, etc.  And I would anticipate that the groom's family to take on some things like the rehearsal dinner, contribute to some other odds and ends, etc.  So, for us, I would expect to be looking at around $7k to $9k.....ish. 

But because of cultural differences....plus the fact that his entire family lives in India and will need to come here for the wedding (because one thing I am confident in is that they intend to marry and live here.  He is already doing what he can in these strange times to gain his citizenship,) there are costs and traditions that I am not sure about.

My question is basically two parts.....what to expect regarding differences between a very basic Catholic/Christian wedding, and what to expect for a midwestern frugally based wedding with those caveats, in terms of what sort of financial plan DH and I need to work with.

 

For the future sake of their marriage and children, I would just remind you that for there to be a valid Catholic marriage, the only requirements are the happy couple, a couple of witnesses, and the priest or deacon, and it can happen in the church office. Just in case the BF doesn't want a big Catholic wedding. They could do a private wedding at the church, and then whatever big shindig his Indian family wants to have.

For the rest, if his family  isn't going to put on all the big cultural things, there's no reason to spend thousands of dollars on a reception (because the wedding can be simple). You don't have to have a catered, sit-down dinner. You can have early afternoon finger foods. And the rehearsal "dinner" is just supposed to be cold cuts and iced tea, for the people who are actually *in the wedding,* not for all of the out-of-town guests and everyone. JMHO.

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9 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I was hoping you would post.  I thank you for your info and I will watch that video tonight.

My oldest knows *SO MUCH MORE* about all this than I do.  And that's completely ok.  I am literally just trying to get a handle on what to expect, both financially and culturally.  

I will say.....his family is small.  Much smaller than I am used to in Catholic families.

You're welcome. If you want to ask any specific questions, PM me. 

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7 minutes ago, Ellie said:

For the future sake of their marriage and children, I would just remind you that for there to be a valid Catholic marriage, the only requirements are the happy couple, a couple of witnesses, and the priest or deacon, and it can happen in the church office. Just in case the BF doesn't want a big Catholic wedding. They could do a private wedding at the church, and then whatever big shindig his Indian family wants to have.

For the rest, if his family  isn't going to put on all the big cultural things, there's no reason to spend thousands of dollars on a reception (because the wedding can be simple). You don't have to have a catered, sit-down dinner. You can have early afternoon finger foods. And the rehearsal "dinner" is just supposed to be cold cuts and iced tea, for the people who are actually *in the wedding,* not for all of the out-of-town guests and everyone. JMHO.

If there were no cultural differences at all.....I would actually anticipate that my oldest would get married within the exact same church that DH and I married.   Not because there are long standing family traditions but because there aren't many Catholic churches in the area and although my kid isn't a strongly practicing Catholic......she was baptized there, attended RCIA there, and yeah......as one of the few around...its familiar to her.

 

And for reception......literally every person in my family has had their reception in the same place since my parents moved to the area 30 yrs ago.  Not because of tradition or close relationships...but because it just......................................fits.   

I am not trying to make decisions.  I am trying to make loose financial plans, and also to just get a handle on what sort of differences to expect.  

 

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34 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

 Here is a "modern" catholic wedding. 

The little girls giggling in the pew! 😍

10 minutes ago, Ellie said:

 And the rehearsal "dinner" is just supposed to be cold cuts and iced tea, for the people who are actually *in the wedding,* not for all of the out-of-town guests and everyone.

While it's certainly fine to keep things simple, I've never heard that a rehearsal dinner is "supposed" to be cold cuts and iced tea. That's weirdly specific, lol. 

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40 minutes ago, Ellie said:

And the rehearsal "dinner" is just supposed to be cold cuts and iced tea, for the people who are actually *in the wedding,* not for all of the out-of-town guests and everyone.

I was lambasted by my aunt about so many things I did wrong, according to her upper class social etiquette, at my wedding. This was one of them. Our rehearsal included only those who would be in the wedding and she insisted, as an out of town guest, that she should have been invited.

We have a family friend who will be marrying a man from an eastern European country next year sometime. They've decided to have their first wedding in his country so all his relatives can participate. Then they will have either a very small wedding or, more likely, a reception in the community she grew up in. happysmileylady, don't be surprised or disappointed if that's what your dd and fiance choose, too. I think it can be very difficult to incorporate all the relatives in all the countries, especially if the couple has limited finances.

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1 hour ago, Ellie said:

For the future sake of their marriage and children, I would just remind you that for there to be a valid Catholic marriage, the only requirements are the happy couple, a couple of witnesses, and the priest or deacon, and it can happen in the church office. Just in case the BF doesn't want a big Catholic wedding. They could do a private wedding at the church, and then whatever big shindig his Indian family wants to have.

For the rest, if his family  isn't going to put on all the big cultural things, there's no reason to spend thousands of dollars on a reception (because the wedding can be simple). You don't have to have a catered, sit-down dinner. You can have early afternoon finger foods. And the rehearsal "dinner" is just supposed to be cold cuts and iced tea, for the people who are actually *in the wedding,* not for all of the out-of-town guests and everyone. JMHO.

I have never, ever heard that a rehearsal dinner is suppsosed to be cold cuts and iced tea. Where did that idea even come from? 

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1 hour ago, wilrunner said:

I was lambasted by my aunt about so many things I did wrong, according to her upper class social etiquette, at my wedding. This was one of them. Our rehearsal included only those who would be in the wedding and she insisted, as an out of town guest, that she should have been invited.

Well, I'll raise your aunt's "upper class social etiquette" with my Miss Manners, and I'll win (as did you, because you were right). Also, your aunt loses on basic civility. Hmph.

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3 hours ago, hippiemamato3 said:

I have never, ever heard that a rehearsal dinner is suppsosed to be cold cuts and iced tea. Where did that idea even come from? 

Cold cuts and iced tea sounds like a very specific regional menu.

Edited by Laura Corin
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Admittedly, I’m not big on formal weddings, but that said...
The amount I could contribute would be dependent on my life budget, and not the cost of various wedding scenarios. If I can give $X, they can design a more expensive event and cover the difference or elope and put the money to something else.
I’m always concerned about being “fair” with 5 kids, so my number might be on the lower side to be sure I could do the same for each kid (regardless of gender.) They’re free to be jealous of each other’s choices, but not of my gift, lol.

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9 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Cold cuts and iced tea sounds like a very specific regional menu.

My point wasn't a specific menu. It was that light refreshments were to be served to the members of the wedding party who had labored over the rehearsal, not a full dinner for everyone who had ever known the bride or the groom and happened to be in town for the wedding.

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5 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

The cross cultural weddings I know of (most were Indian American...one was Indian - Trinidadian) there were always two weddings. A typical(ish) American one and then another, Indian one, in India. 

Same.   We both know a lot of people from India and have traveled to that part of the world.  We've seen a 2 ceremony approach to a bunch of these weddings with each family taking more charge of their own event.  

If you have  venue and formality level in mind, make a few phone calls to get a ball park.  It seems backwards to me to not have a budget in mind.  So if you want to take a "what should you save" approach, do the homework on what looks like a normal wedding to you and what you expect to cover.  I wouldn't worry about his side or their particular expectations too hard.  If they have other expectations they will budget for it.  

I will also say my parents just gifted us some money for our wedding (we paid for over half actually - we live in a $$$ area, we were older and both owned homes and were professionally employed for years).  But my mom was still integrally involved with the parts that she was interested in.  A close friend of hers did the flowers.  She planned extra events for my side of the family's traveling relatives, etc.  She attended my wedding dress fittings, gave advice WHEN ASKED, made a few protocol things clear at the get go (if we invite person X, well then we have to invite Y & Z, please make sure the venue is elder friendly), helped with invites, etc.  That really doesn't mean you just show up and say nothing else if you want to be more involved.  It did empower us as a couple to have a budget and prioritize and pick our priorities without a lot of extra noise.  

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1 hour ago, Ellie said:

My point wasn't a specific menu. It was that light refreshments were to be served to the members of the wedding party who had labored over the rehearsal, not a full dinner for everyone who had ever known the bride or the groom and happened to be in town for the wedding.

Ah! Gotcha. 

Yeah, my first wedding the rehearsal dinner was at a local, casual pizza place. His family called ahead to reserve enough space and just ordered a bunch of different pizzas for the table. 

Barbecue, or subs, etc would also work. And I agree that having everyone and their sister who traveled for the wedding is onerous not just for the person hosting the dinner, but also for those guests! If I travel and am planning on spending the day at a big event the next day, I don't want to go to a big event the night before too! I'm getting room service or hitting a quick place and enjoying myself sans a big group. 

 

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I'll quickly add that (ultimately) y'all have a lot of choices.
It's likely that the audience size will be smaller, due to Covid concerns.
If you have a morning, or early afternoon wedding, you avoid serving a huge dinner.

Keeping things more casual is MUCH cheaper, as is focusing on the couple's most important elements of the wedding.

We depended on friends and family to pitch in and help, but keeping the guest list (& bridal party) small is a huge consideration.
Good luck!

 

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Congratulations to your DD and to her soon-to-be official Fiance!   There are a couple of things I read, in this thread, or another thread, regarding Visas.  One thing is that you wrote that he is on the USA on an H1-B Visa.  I try not to assume, but hopefully on an H1-B Visa he can legally get married in the USA, without it being "Visa Fraud"  and without him needing to go back to India, when she applies for a Marriage Visa for him. 

The other has to do with his family in India, getting Visas to travel to the USA. U.S. law requires the Consuls to assume that the person applying for the Visa is going to violate the Visa. So, they need to have very strong ties to India.

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1 hour ago, Lanny said:

Congratulations to your DD and to her soon-to-be official Fiance!   There are a couple of things I read, in this thread, or another thread, regarding Visas.  One thing is that you wrote that he is on the USA on an H1-B Visa.  I try not to assume, but hopefully on an H1-B Visa he can legally get married in the USA, without it being "Visa Fraud"  and without him needing to go back to India, when she applies for a Marriage Visa for him. 

I was on a H1B visa and a student visa. Both are valid and legal visas to enter the country and nowhere does the law state that you cannot marry an American citizen. In fact, both DH and I were in the process of getting our green cards and H1 B holders when DS was born.  We went back to get married in our native country, but US law recognized our marriage and it was one of the documents we had to submit as part of the process. We applied for green card through employment.   My son was a citizen on birth regardless of the parents situation. So I don't think there would be any problem for a H1 B visa holder to marry an American citizen or have children with them. H1B in fact is a valid path to citizenship through employment via the green card. I say this through experience.

UK law is the one that does not guarantee citizenship through birth and depends on the parents status. I know this for sure through our family living there. 

Quote

The other has to do with his family in India, getting Visas to travel to the USA. U.S. law requires the Consuls to assume that the person applying for the Visa is going to violate the Visa. So, they need to have very strong ties to India.

I don't even know what to say to this. Not in my experience and I have seen people rejected before me as I stood in line and anecdotally. Mostly it was because of documents or finance or language not because they suspected or assumed they would violate the visa. My parents visited me when I graduated and my finances in the US was laughable at that time. But based on their documentation they were given visit visas and so did my in-laws who visited DH who was a student here before we got married. If you have good documentation and finance, parents usually get a 10 year multiple entry visa to the US which lets them stay for up to 6 months max. Nowhere does it say the consulate will assume the person will violate the visa nor have I got the feeling and I have personal, family and anecdotal visa experiences. 

Edited by Dreamergal
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I don't even understand how rehearsal dinners have become such an overblown event.  It's too close to the wedding for a big thing.  Of all the performances I've done in my life, my wedding "choreography" was the easiest.  I don't understand how people complicate walking down an aisle.  A dry run is nice, especially for children, but stretching the evening on for hours and hours seems like a bit much.  I get that you've got to feed people, but why make everything so complicated?'

I'd definitely find your upper budget, then tell your daughter it's 2/3rds of that.  This way there's no family stress if it creeps.  You can pay what you can pay.  The normal "going rate" doesn't really change that.  Sometimes you've got to get creative.  

Between the pandemic and paying cash for her college, if my Dd wanted to get married soon she'd have to dig for coins in the couch!

 

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As far as the visas go, our family friend's fiance is working to get the right kind of visa for their plans, both professional and personal. I've been told if he gets the wrong visa and they get married, he would have to spend 2 years outside of the US before being allowed back in even for visits. These are 2 incredibly smart young adults who are watching visa details very closely to ensure he will be allowed to stay.

Their experience might be different than your dd's because they're dealing with a different country, but given the difficulty with getting visas right now, please, please make sure your dd and fiance are dotting their i's and crossing their t's. 

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Indian families spend a lot on weddings like Chinese families do. I almost hesitate to say it aloud here, but my wedding was around 600 people and cost $45K and that was 20 years ago. It would have cost even more if the wedding wasn't on a Sunday which made some people unable to attend. The guest list was nearly 1,000.

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On 9/6/2020 at 9:43 PM, wilrunner said:

I was lambasted by my aunt about so many things I did wrong, according to her upper class social etiquette, at my wedding. This was one of them. Our rehearsal included only those who would be in the wedding and she insisted, as an out of town guest, that she should have been invited.

 

My husband's family and my brother-in-law's family made sure that all out of town guests that were in town on the day of the rehearsal dinner were invited to the rehearsal dinner (In both cases we had very modest weddings).

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32 minutes ago, vonfirmath said:

My husband's family and my brother-in-law's family made sure that all out of town guests that were in town on the day of the rehearsal dinner were invited to the rehearsal dinner (In both cases we had very modest weddings).

When we went to a wedding at a state park several years ago, everyone was invited to the potluck rehearsal dinner, but not the rehearsal itself. Most people were staying at the same campground. We weren’t, so just went and picked up something at the local grocery store. Drinks and all the fixings for s’mores were provided by the groom’s family.

For a fancy out of town wedding for my husband’s cousin, each set of parents hosted a special breakfast for their out of town guests on the day of the wedding.

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21 hours ago, Ellie said:

My point wasn't a specific menu. It was that light refreshments were to be served to the members of the wedding party who had labored over the rehearsal, not a full dinner for everyone who had ever known the bride or the groom and happened to be in town for the wedding.

We're in the northeast and the expectation is definitely a sit down, catered meal or a meal at a restaurant. Typically out of state guests are invited as well. 

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17 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

 Nowhere does it say the consulate will assume the person will violate the visa nor have I got the feeling and I have personal, family and anecdotal visa experiences. 

 

Hello: Unless the U.S. law has been changed, recently, the U.S. Consulate employee interviewing an applicant for a B1/B2 (Tourist/Business) Visa, which is the most common Visa (and probably for many other kinds of Non-Immigrant Visas?)  MUST assume the applicant will violate the Visa. That's the U.S. law applicable here.  Black and White in U.S. Immigration law.  I don't like to assume, but if I assume, I assume you can Google that and find information somewhere, possibly on an Immigration Law website, about what they MUST assume, when an applicant is being considered. They are required to do that...

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1 hour ago, Lanny said:

Hello: Unless the U.S. law has been changed, recently, the U.S. Consulate employee interviewing an applicant for a B1/B2 (Tourist/Business) Visa, which is the most common Visa (and probably for many other kinds of Non-Immigrant Visas?)  MUST assume the applicant will violate the Visa.

This has been my experience (well, not me personally as I'm an American), but living overseas in Montenegro, we personally know several people who were denied visas to the US, despite our letters of recommendations, letters from people stateside, letters guaranteeing $$.  Why the denial?  Not considered to have *enough* incentive to come back to country of origin.  It helps to have a spouse AND kids AND a job AND a house back in the home country.

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3 hours ago, Lanny said:

 

Hello: Unless the U.S. law has been changed, recently, the U.S. Consulate employee interviewing an applicant for a B1/B2 (Tourist/Business) Visa, which is the most common Visa (and probably for many other kinds of Non-Immigrant Visas?)  MUST assume the applicant will violate the Visa. That's the U.S. law applicable here.  Black and White in U.S. Immigration law.  I don't like to assume, but if I assume, I assume you can Google that and find information somewhere, possibly on an Immigration Law website, about what they MUST assume, when an applicant is being considered. They are required to do that...

I can vey well google and I am very cognizant about visa rules, eligibility and immigration paperwork of all kinds.  But since you are the one who insinuated that US B1/B2 visa seekers must be assumed to violate the visa which is very different from looking for eligibility, I am going to ask you to source it for me. Because what you say  assumes that the consulate will look at everyone seeking visas is guilty of trying to become illegal immigrants instead of looking if they are eligible or checking their paper work which is very different. The first is discriminatory, the second is caution and following rules.

 

1 hour ago, vmsurbat1 said:

This has been my experience (well, not me personally as I'm an American), but living overseas in Montenegro, we personally know several people who were denied visas to the US, despite our letters of recommendations, letters from people stateside, letters guaranteeing $$.  Why the denial?  Not considered to have *enough* incentive to come back to country of origin.  It helps to have a spouse AND kids AND a job AND a house back in the home country.

I have known people who were denied everything from student visa to visitor visa. It was mostly because of paper work or insufficient funds or even language. It is not because everyone is automatically looked upon with suspicion as a potential visa violator and illegal immigrant. Most countries look for visa paperwork and routinely deny visas especially immigration. H1B especially is very stringent even if you have as you say ties to the home country.

I had strong ties to the home country, my entire family was there and I was given a student visa in barely 2 minutes because I spent months having my paper work done. 

I know people who had their green card rejected because they did not have a good attorney and missed some piece of paper work.  I don't remember why but my dad had to go to my ancestral village to get some paperwork when we did the green card. That is why you always employ the best immigration attorney you can because their expertise is the paper work and immigration law. Just because people are denied a visa does not mean the consulate people looks at every potential visitor or immigrant as potential illegal immigrant. But they are very thorough about checking paperwork. In fact you will get turned away if your paperwork is not right before you reach the counter to pay the fees if you get a yes.

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1 hour ago, Dreamergal said:

I had strong ties to the home country, my entire family was there and I was given a student visa in barely 2 minutes because I spent months having my paper work done.

Having your paperwork done properly is crucial, but not the ONLY thing.  IMO, I think if you had NOT had strong ties to the home country, you would not have been processed in barely 2 minutes.  Doesn't mean you *wouldn't* have gotten a visa at some point.  Also, I strongly suspect that the criteria for "strong ties to homeland" and "incentive to overstay visa" varies greatly based on the homeland country as well.

But all our knowledge of "how visas work" may be somewhat dated by the time the OP's daughter is officially engaged and wedding planning!

And, @happysmileylady, congrats on the almost-engagement.  Our daughter was married last year (the first in our family).  We use YNAB (a budgeting program) and we started seriously saving from the time we knew she was in a serious relationship moving towards marriage. (Which in reality was saving the same money which was formerly spent on college--thank goodness everybody had graduated a year or two earlier....) The more money saved, the better because it allows for more options; it doesn't all need to be spent!  

 

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3 hours ago, vmsurbat1 said:

This has been my experience (well, not me personally as I'm an American), but living overseas in Montenegro, we personally know several people who were denied visas to the US, despite our letters of recommendations, letters from people stateside, letters guaranteeing $$.  Why the denial?  Not considered to have *enough* incentive to come back to country of origin.  It helps to have a spouse AND kids AND a job AND a house back in the home country.

 

Yes.   It is my belief, that those Letters of Recommendation, Letters from people in the USA, letters guaranteeing $$, invitations, etc., that any one of those things could have been an "alarm bell" to the Consul and thus the "Kiss of Death" for that Visa application.  It is my understanding that the Visa applicant must have the financial ability to fund their trip, with their own money, without someone sponsoring them or guaranteeing funds, for this or for that. Their application must stand on it's own, without "scaffolding: of a 3rd party. 

I remember, many years ago, going with a friend, to her Visa appointment. That was a mistake. She was turned down, immediately. In her case, her mother was willing/able to pay for her expenses and we were going to pay for her daughter (my Goddaughter) to go with us to the states.  A week or two after that, I read (in an Immigration Forum?), a list of 8 or 10 things which are the "Kiss of Death" for Tourist Visa applications. One of them was that the applicant is accompanied by an American...   🙂 One of the other things was the lack of financial viability. That was approximately in 2000

Approximately 15 years ago, I attended a meeting for U.S. Citizens in Cali. 3 people came from the U.S. Embassy in Bogota. One of them was THE "Consul", the man in charge of the Consular Section in the Embassy. One of them was the lady who was in charge of the Visa Fraud section and the other person, was a man who worked in the ACS (American Citizen Services) who was originally from India.  They knew that we (Overseas Americans) get questions about Visas and they were quite interested in sharing quite a bit of information with us, so that we could answer those questions correctly.

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20 minutes ago, vmsurbat1 said:

Having your paperwork done properly is crucial, but not the ONLY thing.  IMO, I think if you had NOT had strong ties to the home country, you would not have been processed in barely 2 minutes.  Doesn't mean you *wouldn't* have gotten a visa at some point.  Also, I strongly suspect that the criteria for "strong ties to homeland" and "incentive to overstay visa" varies greatly based on the homeland country as well.

My response was to the original verbiage of this post. This is an immigration dog whistle to me and I have heard it enough to not respond to it. This is a thread about a potential marriage for the OP's daughter. Just because the potential groom is a H1B visa holder does not mean it is "visa fraud" in any shape or form and even the caution smacks of ignorance and disrespect to the OP's daughter and her boyfriend to me. H1B contrary to rhetoric is one of the hardest visas to get and requires reams of paper work. 

On 9/7/2020 at 3:41 PM, Lanny said:

Congratulations to your DD and to her soon-to-be official Fiance!   There are a couple of things I read, in this thread, or another thread, regarding Visas.  One thing is that you wrote that he is on the USA on an H1-B Visa.  I try not to assume, but hopefully on an H1-B Visa he can legally get married in the USA, without it being "Visa Fraud"  and without him needing to go back to India, when she applies for a Marriage Visa for him. 

The other has to do with his family in India, getting Visas to travel to the USA. U.S. law requires the Consuls to assume that the person applying for the Visa is going to violate the Visa. So, they need to have very strong ties to India.

20 minutes ago, vmsurbat1 said:

But all our knowledge of "how visas work" may be somewhat dated by the time the OP's daughter is officially engaged and wedding planning!

I am sure the OP's daughter and her boyfriend have enough wisdom to ask a potential immigration lawyer for help who knows more than any of us.

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2 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

I can very well google and I am very cognizant about visa rules, eligibility and immigration paperwork of all kinds.  But since you are the one who insinuated that US B1/B2 visa seekers must be assumed to violate the visa which is very different from looking for eligibility, I am going to ask you to source it for me. Because what you say  assumes that the consulate will look at everyone seeking visas is guilty of trying to become illegal immigrants instead of looking if they are eligible or checking their paper work which is very different. The first is discriminatory, the second is caution and following rules.

 

Dear Dreamergal:  Gently...  I am NOT insinuating.  🙂

  • hinting at something bad in an indirect and unpleasant way.
    "dirty, insinuating laughter"
     
    • 2.
      using subtle manipulation to manoeuvre oneself into a favourable position.
       
       
      "a sneaky, insinuating move"

That is something I read, probably a number of times, during the 25+ years I have lived here. Probably in one or more Immigration Forums or on web sites of Immigration Attorneys. A number of times we (my Wife and I) were "advising" someone interested in a Finance Visa or a B1/B2 Visa..  The 2 or 3 seeking Fiancee Visas were very "clean" (excellent resumes) and we suggested strongly not paying for an Immigration Attorney and they did not hire attorneys. They received their Fiancee Visas. One of them was the woman who introduced my wife and me.  Reading those things was many years ago and I don't remember the URLs, but I am positive they stated that U.S. Immigration Law REQUIRED the Consul to assume that an applicant for a B1/B2 Visa would violate the visa.  If that law has been changed since then, I am unaware of that, however it seems within the range of possibility.

There was an article in my Google Feed, a year or so ago, I think from the Miami Herald.   They quoted several Immigration attorneys (in different states) and their frustrated clients, who had clients spending $$$$ and their applications for different types of Visas, including Fiancee or Marriage, were in limbo, for years, and they had no idea why.

BTW:  When I attended the meeting where the 3 employees of the Consular Section in Bogota came to Cali, they told us that of all the different Visa types, the one they hate to deny is the "Student" Visa.

2 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

 

 

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