Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
I recently attended a friend’s wedding, and it was held in a hotel banquet room. The ceremony lasted about 45 minutes, and to my surprise, people kept talking among themselves, as well as getting up to get water and then taking it back to their seats. Do you think this was thought as acceptable because of the venue? The other factor is our friends are Indian, and it was a traditional Indian wedding, and was not in English. Is there something in their culture that this is typical for an Indian-American wedding?
I checked a reliable source about American-Indian weddings, and this is not typical at all – even if held in a hotel room. If a wedding or any kind of public ceremony is held in a church, hotel room, or even outdoors, coming and going during the ceremony is not acceptable. Talking during a public ceremony is not polite either. It would be understandable if the ceremony had gone on for several hours, and people had to get up to use the restroom. If someone needed to get some water, it would be more polite to drink it before they get back to their seat. When attending a wedding or any kind of public ceremony, audience members should be respectful of what is going on during the ceremony by keeping in their seats if possible, and staying silent.
You can see my webisode about Worship Manners, that apply to any public ceremony. It is for children, but it sounds like you encountered some adults who could have used this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzzWQ0Q8_1k&t=7s