Extremely lavish, with several important ceremonies that span over the course of several days, Indian theme weddings are absolutely dazzling in terms of colors, food, accessories and jewelry. If you do want to throw an Indian theme wedding, however, bear in mind that it’s extremely important to familiarize yourself with all the various norms and traditions that are rooted within this culture prior to the ceremony. In fact, while most Occidental, white-dress weddings usually last for an average of an hour or less, Indian weddings can very often last for an entire week. A more “toned down” aspect of Indian themed wedding, on the other hand, can last for a minimum of three days, with each day dedicated for a particular ceremony.
A few days prior to the wedding, for example, Indian families usually hold a traditional ceremony which includes dances, songs and henna application on the bride’s hands, arms and legs. This ceremony is often packed with various friends and relatives, with several of the older female relative singing wedding-related songs. Henna is also applied to the bride’s sisters, cousins and closest friends. This particular day is often considered as a very family-friendly, joyful and colorful bachelorette party, since it mostly involves women. This ceremony usually goes on for two to three days, with several relatives flocking to the bride’s place to help with decorations and table settings, especially in the absence of a wedding planner.
Another very important ceremony that usually occurs on the eve of the actual wedding is known as the “Haldi” ceremony, or saffron application ceremony. This even takes place at both the bride’s and groom’s places, usually in their own homes. In this ceremony, the bride and groom are seated on an elevated platform, holding a bowl of crushed, slightly liquefied saffron and a grass brush in their hands. One by one, each relative gets on the stage and dips the grass brush into the saffron before applying it to the groom or bride’s head, shoulders and legs.
And then, of course, the following day brings with it the actual wedding ceremony. A lengthy affair, the Indian themed wedding ceremony is usually held in front of a sacred fire. The priest, bride, groom and a few close relative sit around the fire during a three-hour prayer. Afterwards, to conclude the ceremony, the bride and groom walk seven rounds around the fire, a ritual that symbolizes the seven scared vows of newlyweds.
Following that, instead of a ring, the groom traditionally places a golden necklace with black beads around the bride’s neck and she acknowledges the gesture by placing a thick garland of flower around her husband’s neck. And then, just before leaving the stage, the husband places a dot of red or orange vermillion on the bride’s forehead, hence signifying that she is now a married woman.