All over the world, Indian Wedding Ceremonies are known to be extremely grand, tedious and also time-consuming. It is true, but we prefer it that way. The wedding ceremonies range from a day to seven, and sometimes even more. This is due to the number of ceremonies that families traditionally tend to prefer.
Now, all families may not want to do all ceremonies, or any ceremonies at all, they might want just want to skip them and jump right into the weddings. That is their wish, but usually, most weddings have all these ceremonies and maybe some more. It is truly up to the bride, groom and their families. Once the invitations are sent, all the dates, venues and timings are mentioned clearly so automatically, the number of ceremonies is conveyed.
Traditionally, in earlier times, the weddings would get over in 2 days, but now as the times have changed, so have the customs. If the family is well off, each ceremony is done on a new day. Some families also try and save up for weddings, for years so they can spend lavishly on them.
It starts with an engagement of the bride and groom where the pair exchanges ring and celebrate the night with music and dance! This is known as “Sagaai” in India. The function usually happens about 3-4 months before the wedding but some families prefer to do it a week, 5 days or even an hour before the wedding.
Moreover, the next ceremony is “Sangeet.” The literal translation of this word means “Music.” Here, the families have a separate function in the groom’s and bride’s way. All the respective sides (groom or bride’s sides) have relatives collected where they sing songs, dance their hearts out and eat delicious food. This day is specially made for the celebration of the bride and groom respectively. Only relatives and close friends are invited to this function.
Up next is the “Mehendi” ceremony. This is held for the bride where all the women in the family, get henna on their hands. This pattern is extremely beautiful and it looks mesmerizing making the bride ready for the next function.
Right after Mehendi comes “Haldi.” Haldi is also a function that happens separately in the bride’s and groom’s family. Here, the groom and the bride are colored with Haldi. Haldi is the mixture of turmeric powder and water, sometimes even “Chandan” is added to it to help make the skin soft. Haldi ceremony takes place so that, on the day close of the wedding, the couple’s skin is bright and glowing. For the bride, it adds on to as a bonus point as, after Mehendi, Haldi will help in getting the Mehendi’s color out evenly and fully.
Families nowadays tend to celebrate the Haldi ceremony only for namesake. It tends to get a little messy, some couples are allergic to it and some just don’t like it. Right after Haldi, there’s a dinner ceremony from the couple’s side for all the people. This is to convey their gratitude to the guests.
A day before the wedding, modern families conduct a Cocktail Party nowadays for the friends and close relatives of the brides and grooms as a celebration of unity. This is not mandatory or even done for all.
After this, the wedding is held; the varmala and pheras are done. Varmala ceremony is where the bride and the groom exchange garlands and the pheras are done by joining the couple by either trying pieces of clothes together or by holding hands. This is done around a raging fire and seven rounds are taken to signify that the couple would stay together for 7 lives and the God of Fire- Agni is held as a witness.
Right after the grand wedding celebrations, Indians have a Wedding Reception for the married couple, basically like an after wedding party.
A few days after reception, a feast from the bride’s or the groom’s family is prepared. First, they go to the bride’s house and then the groom’s house or vice versa for the feast. This consists of the closest people of the family. As Indians usually have arranged marriages, this is done to create familiarity between the families.
The ceremony order and preference depend on the couple and their families.
But one thing is for sure, these weddings are always fabulous.