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Would You Sell Tickets to Your Wedding? A Curious New Tourism Trend in Indian Weddings…

Published Tuesday, Sep. 26th, 2023

Photo: Alok Verma / Unsplash

Would you invite tourists to your wedding for a fee? Weddings meet cultural tourism with Join My Wedding... 



Couples in India are selling tickets to their weddings to give tourists an up-close look at an authentic Indian wedding ceremony, and to help cover the costs of their celebration. 


The unusual trend has definitely got people talking, with some critics saying it’s a product of the “fetishization” of Indian culture (via The New York Times). Others are excited about the opportunity to share their traditions, or to learn about a new culture and appreciate the similarities and differences they see in the wedding ceremony. 


This unique form of tourism is offered by Join My Wedding, an online service that allows travelers to purchase tickets to real Indian weddings to experience “a genuine cultural celebration.” The company’s landing page reads, “You haven’t been to India until you’ve been to an Indian wedding,” and its founder, an Australian named Orsi Parkanyi, has called it “the Airbnb of weddings.” (via The New York Times) 



Screenshot from Join My Wedding website showing Indian women and a blonde tourist standing together at a wedding

Screenshot from the Join My Wedding home page. "You haven't been to India until you've been to an Indian wedding," the page reads.



The service has grown steadily since it's start in 2016. According to The Hindustan Times, Join My Wedding originally sold tickets to weddings in several countries, including Russia, Turkey and even the United States; in fact, one of their first ticketed wedding expenses was a Lord of the Rings themed wedding in Novosibirsk, Russia. Now, though, the website hosts only Indian weddings. 


(Read about the early days of the Join My Wedding start up in this article from The Hindustan Times from 2016, including how Australian Orsi Parkanyi came up with the concept: Getting married? Sell tickets to your wedding and have foreign tourists attend)


Tourists from all over the world can browse upcoming weddings in an online directory, and search for immersive wedding celebrations to attend by date. A daily itinerary is sometimes provided by the couple (called ‘hosts’), along with details about the dress code, special rituals or elements to expect (like a Sangeet dance, Nikah, or a Kurmai or Shagan, a traditional engagement ceremony), reception menu, and whether or not alcohol will be served. 


Related: A Simple Guide to Nikah Traditions & Muslim Wedding Words


Side by side screenshots from Join My Wedding wedding directory, showing several wedding listed by hosts (on the left) and details from one upcoming wedding (on the right)

Side-by-side screenshots from Join My Wedding wedding directory, showing several weddings listed by host couples (on the left), and details from one upcoming wedding (on the right)



The average price to attend a multi-day wedding celebration through the service is a couple hundred dollars per person, ranging from around $150 USD to $350 USD. The listed costs for each event are described as a “contribution” to the couple’s celebration, a “gift” to the couple for their wedding day. Join My Wedding says they charge a “small commission,” but don’t say how much. (via Join My Wedding FAQs)


This twist on wedding tourism is certainly an interesting prospect… and both the praise and skepticism being directed at the business of ticketed weddings make sense. 



So, what do you think about this wedding trend? 


Would you pay to attend an authentic wedding in another country as a wedding tourist? Would you invite strangers to your celebration for a small fee to cover your expenses? 


At the very least, now you know how much to charge a wedding crasher...



Get the full scoop in Anna Kodé’s article for The New York Times.



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Plan the perfect sequel wedding with inspiration from these sweet celebrity ‘I do’-overs. Plus pro tips for wedding officiants! Read the full article here. 



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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