Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type



Chemistry and Biochemistry

Director of Thesis

Dr. Payal Shah

First Reader

Jessica Rourke

Second Reader

Jessica Rourke


The purpose of this senior thesis project was to qualitatively analyze weddings and bridal motivations within the Southern culture of America and the Keralite culture of India to better explore the role the wedding ceremony and its many components may play. As two undergraduate students of the University of South Carolina, we used contacts within our familial units and university organizations to explore our interests within these wedding cultures. Having had personal experiences as a guest to weddings within our own cultures, we observed the widely changing wedding culture which sparked in us a desire to explore more about the cross-cultural divergences and/or commonalities with our individual cultures. As we conversed over our experiences within our individual communities regarding their wedding cultures, we were motivated to explore more about these two very variant, yet merging cultures.

The two cultures we explored were the Southern American community and the Keralite Indian community, cultures we were raised in individually. Observations, questionnaire responses, and anecdotal conversations ultimately allowed us to draw conclusions on common themes which consistently developed in our analysis. Our findings develop many common literature review concepts. Some of the findings we developed using our analysis were trends of personalization within the weddings, appropriation of more responsibility by the couple, existence of consistent stress exchanged for ultimate relief, and familial involvement. These findings ultimately led us to develop our understanding of the culminating role of the wedding: validation of the couple’s relationship by family and friends.

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© 2018, Juliet Joseph and Katherine Alexander