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Planner Assists US Brides with Traditional Indian Wedding Preparations

With Spring still weeks away in the United States, young women who plan to get married in the coming months have begun a breathless hunt for the best clothes, venues, food, entertainment and events. A bride often spends up to a year making her plans. And if she is Indian, she needs to make some special preparations. VOA's Patricia Bodnar attended an Indian Wedding Expo in the Washington area where a bride could find everything she could ever need under one roof.

The bride is always beautiful.

And Sumit Arya's job is to make sure she looks perfect. Originally from India - he's a wedding planner.

"I've been raised half over here and half in India, so I do combine a lot of the ideas when it comes to wedding planning," says Mr. Aray.

Sumit and his wife Shika make a bride's dreams come true. Their Expos are one-stop shopping trips, where a traditionally-minded bride can find everything from jewels and exquisite silk, to a Hindu clergyman to officiate.

Vimesh Thakkar, a Hindu pundit says, "I go all around the U.S.A. As a matter of fact, next month I am going to Puerto Rico. Nowadays, people want the ceremonies in resorts. So I go to Mexico and other places to do [weddings]."

This is the first time Sumit's brought his traveling show to Washington. He's trying to appeal to an American bride who is contemporary, but respects family traditions. Avanti Pradhan is here today shopping for her wedding.

Avanti Pradhan, a bride-to-be says, "In Iowa where I'm from, I don't have many options for Indian jewelry, Indian clothes or anything to do with an Indian wedding. I'll need about four different outfits. There is a pre-wedding celebration. I change twice during the actual ceremony because I'm Marathi and my groom is Tamil. His family and my family want me to wear different types of clothes during the ceremony, so I have to change in between. For the reception I'm changing again. I feel like I'm in a Hollywood movie."

On her wedding day, every bride is a star.