Indian Hindu wedding is not just a ceremony — it’s an extravagant festival as much as it is a beautiful union of two souls. The wedding is about the coming together of two families and is a celebration of an everlasting bond.
Hindu weddings are so colorful that they have caught the attention of people all over the world. Mostly characterized by their grandiose characteristics, Hindu weddings have multi-page invitations, a large number of guests and a lavish feast.
Every ceremony in a Hindu wedding symbolises something unique and every ritual has a meaning behind it. Even in the saatpheras, every round suggests a vow that is to be taken by the bride and groom. The rituals are so elaborate that Hindu weddings tend to go on until 3 in the morning.
Be it the dancing at the sangeet or the baraat, the breathtakingly gorgeous mandap, elaborate attires, the excitement around juta chhupaai, the intimate mangal pheras, or the emotive vidaai—Hindu weddings are a power-packed, emotion-ridden spectacle.
Apart from the rituals that take place on the wedding day, there are so many others that are part of the Hindu wedding and take place over a span of several days before the actual wedding. Here is a list of some of the cultures and traditions that are a part of the Hindu wedding:
1. The muhurata is fixed – First thing first
In Hindu weddings, the date and the time of the wedding have a crucial role to play. For any event to take place, Hindus pre-determine a time and date, which is generally decided by an astrologer. An auspicious time, which is known as a muhurata, is fixed for the Hindi wedding, using the couple’s date of birth.
The muhurata is calculated by an astrologer, according to the planetary positions. The gotra, or the ancestral lineage, is announced as a Hindu wedding is not supposed to take place within the same clan or lineage.
Once the maturate is fixed then starts all the hustle bustle of the weeding. Wedding venues are fixed, guest list is made, wedding cloths & jewelry shopping begins, wedding cards designs are checkout and catering vendors are looked after. After muhurata, all the family members are on their toes as a lot of work goes in an Big fat Indian Wedding!
2. Roka ceremony is held to show acceptance to the couple
This is the first official event in a Hindu wedding, and more like the first step towards the marriage. Both the families come together to bless the couple in the Roka ceremony and show their approval and consent for the union. Gifts and sweets are exchanged and the families spend time together to get to know each other better.
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Roka Ceremony is usually a small event which takes place at either boys or girls house with close family and friends around. Here both the party exchanges gifts as a sign that the both bride and groom’s families are happy with the marriage and welcome new member to the family. Roka ceremony could also takes place with the presence of either bride or groom alone as this ceremony is more for the families.
3. Pre-wedding photo shoot
Well they say Indian wedding is full blown extravaganza for a reason as the bride and groom are no less than hero-heroine of a Bollywood movie, and pre-wedding photoshoot is an evidence of that. This trend has becoming so popular these days that the photographer and the venues are often book way in advance.
Pre-wedding photo shoot could happen is a vintage palace or it could be a destination photoshoot. All the pictures and videos are a memory of the lifetime and photographer leave no stone untouched to make it special for the couple.
Couples really want to make it special, so pre-wedding video like this could get you a lot of attention on the social media! It’s really a good way of having all your memories in a small video.
4. Bachelor and Bachelorette party – drink it up!
Wedding is coming closer and all the shopping is done but friends won’t let you relax!
Bachelor party is usually given to the groom by his friend and it could be an evening party in the home town or could be some extravagant destination party! Mostly Bachelor party is attended by groomsmen who warm his friend about all the big responsibilities coming his way!
Why should boys have all the fun! Bachelorette party is no less than a bachelor party as bridesmaids go out of the way to make pot extra special for the bride.
Sometimes bachelor and bachelorette parties could happen together but usually they are independent of each other as the things can get real crazy and its meant to be like that only!
5. Sangeet is all about making merry
A pre-party known as the sangeet is held before the actual wedding. It is one of the most loved and fun parts of a Hindu wedding. From dance to singing folk songs, the bride’s family prepares performances and gives a grand welcome to the groom’s family. Close family members and friends come together to enjoy a joyous round of singing and dancing.
It’s a fun way to kickstart the wedding ceremonies and revel in the wedding vibes. This is followed by the mehndi ceremony that kicks off the wedding.
Sangeet ceremony in Hindu wedding is all about dances, usually family and friends prepare and practice dances for this event only. This event is filled with a lot of love & laughter, and of course drinks. Traditionally, this was also known as ‘ladies sangeet’ as only the ladies of the house would participate.
They would sing songs with dholak but not anymore as everyone wants to be a part of this special occasion in a hindu wedding. No matter if the wedding is happening in India, US, Canada, UK or anywhere else, this ceremony is very special for everyone.
6. Mehndi is applied to the bride’s hands and feet
Mehndi is a ceremony in a Hindu wedding, which is only attended by the women in the family. Typically, this takes place a day or two before the wedding. In this ceremony, the bride’s hands and feet are adorned with intricate and beautiful henna.
Dancing and singing folk songs is part of this ceremony as well. Sometimes, the initials of her future husband’s name are also part of this design. It is widely believed that the darker the color of this henna, the more love her husband will shower on her.
Bride and bridesmaid in Mehndi ceremony wear specially made cloths for this occasion, checkout the Mehndi wedding wear.
7. Tilak is put on the groom’s forehead
Next in a Hindu wedding is the tilak ceremony, which is the first step to solidifying the bond between the families and is considered extremely auspicious.
It takes place at the groom’s residence, which is also attended by the male members of the bride’s family who put vermilion on the groom’s forehead. This signifies that the groom will be a loving husband, who would look after the bride and shoulder all her responsibilities. Like many other Hindu wedding ceremonies, singing and dancing is also a part of this function.
The groom’s father sends sugar, rice, coconut, clothes, henna and jewelry to the bride’s family. The groom’s relatives carry these things to the bride’s house. This ceremony also strengthens the relationship between the two families.
8. Haldi is smeared all over
A haldi ceremony takes place in a Hindu wedding, where family members put a mixture of turmeric, oil and water all over the bride and groom’s skin and clothes. Relatives and family members also shower their blessings on them as they put haldi. This is believed to make their skin glow for the wedding, which is held later that day.
There is also a scientific meaning of this ceremony as haldi is antiseptic and considered to have strong healing power in Hindu religion. So, applying it to the face of bride and groom not only makes the skin brighter but also gives them immunity and helps in keeping the unwanted skin allergies away.
Yellow is the color for this ceremony and bride wears yellow colored suit or saree in her haldi ceremony as its considered very auspicious.
9. Vara Yatra and the celebration at the groom’s arrival
In a Hindu wedding, the groom, his family and relatives reach the wedding venue with band and baaja, which is called the vara yatra. This is actually the much-talked-about baraat, which is enjoyed by the groom’s family.
Dancing all through the way to the venue, they even light firecrackers, and their level of energy and celebration is spectacular. Once they arrive at the ceremony site, the bride’s family welcomes them with akshat (rice toss), tilak, aarti (a lit lamp on a plate), and sometimes, garlands.
Every groom has his choice of ride, some comes on an elephant, some prefer horse (rather mare), it could be a car but one thing is for sure that you would see a lot of dancing all around.
10. Milni – Meet your counterparts
Milni or popularly known as milniyaan happens once the baraat arrives at the door of the wedding venue. This is a tradition in Hindu Wedding where the Bride’s side relatives would meet and greet the Groom’s side relatives with gifts (usually the male members from both the sides).
In this ceremony, bride’s uncle would receive groom’s uncle, bride’s brother would receive groom’s brother and so on.
11. Groom’s welcome & Art of the deal
Once everyone’s milni is done, the hero of the ceremony “the groom” arrives at the venue but he can’t enter without giving the toll. As now it’s time for the bride’s side to get some cash out of groom’s pocket and this is where the art of the deal, the real negotiation comes into play.
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Bridesmaids can demand of anything as high as gold jewelly or big money for the groom’s entry and its the job of groomsmen to bring it down.
12. Bride’s Grand Entry – Here comes the Queen
After the groom arrives the wedding venue, everyone is waiting for the brides grand entry! Usually the brides is accompanied by
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13. Floral garlands are exchanged during the Varmala ceremony
Jaimala or Varmala is a ritual in the Hindu wedding and the first ceremony that takes place at the wedding venue, in front of a large number of guests. This takes place after the groom is joined on the stage by the bride, who walks in with her sisters.
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The bride and groom put flower garlands around each other’s necks, which, in a contemporary marriage is followed by an elaborate photo session and exchange of gifts.
The ceremony is considered to signify the union of two souls, two families, values and customers. Before the other rituals of the wedding begin, the Hindu priest invokes the nine planets, each of which blesses the couple for leading a happy life together. This ceremony is called Graha Shanti.
14. Jutta Chupai where the sisters-in-law hide the groom’s shoes
Jutta Chupai or Jutti Chupai simply refers to hiding the shoes of the groom by the mischievous sister in laws right before the groom steps on to the mandap. It’s is an art as both the sides have tricks up their sleeve considering it’s not a matter of money but ultimate pride.
So bride’s side would look for the right opportunity to make the move and groom’s side would make sure that this “move” doesn’t happen 😀
Oh man! Hindu weddings are so much fun!
When this is going on, his future sisters-in-law look for the right chance to steal his shoes, so they can later demand money in exchange for the shoes. If they are successful in their mission of stealing the shoes, the groom has no option but to pay them money. The demand of money happens once the wedding rituals are completed and before the Vidaai.
15. Kanyadaan and the saatphere
This is the most important stage in a Hindu wedding, and also a very emotional moment for the bride because this is when her father actually gives her away in a ceremony called the Kanyadaan.
In this ceremony, the bride is first led to the mandap by her brothers or uncles, then her father places his daughter’s hand into the groom’s hand and knots the end of their clothes together as a gesture of giving her away. It is considered to be an extremely pious and solemn ritual.
They also wash the bride and groom’s feet with milk and water, which signifies that they have been purified for a new life together. Then the bride’s right hand is placed on the right hand of the groom and their hands are tied together with a cotton thread multiple times as the priest recites holy verses. This indicates that their bond is unbreakable now.
After this, they get ready for the Saatphere, where the bride and the groom take rounds around the sacred fire. Every round denotes something that they have to do for one another— basically represents the seven vows that have to be taken. The couple then seeks the blessings of God with a Ganesh puja, and pray to be together for the next seven births.
16. It’s Mangalsutra and Sindoor time!
A Magalsutra is a necklace with black and gold beads that the groom places around the bride’s neck. This is an important step towards the completion of a Hindu wedding ceremony.
Lakshmi— who is the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity— is believed to reside in the Magalsutra; she protects the union and ensures a happy married life.
Just like the Mangalsutra, the sindoor is considered a signifier of a woman’s married status. Applying sindoor or a reddish-orangish powder to the bride’ hair is a way to signify that she is now married. This is, in a way, the last step in a Hindu wedding, where all the ceremonies that have to be performed to officiate the marriage have been performed.
To conclude the ceremony, the Hindu priest directs the newlywed’s eyes to the pole star, so that their marriage remains steadfast, even as other things around them continue to change.
17. The Vidaai where the bride bids farewell to her family
After the Hindu wedding rituals are done, the vidaai takes place and marks the completion of the ceremony. Vidaai suggests that the bride will now leave her family to move to her in-law’s house. This is an extremely emotional moment for the bride, where she has to officially say goodbye to her family, who she leaves behind to move to his husband’s house.
Vidaai suggests that the bride will now leave her family to move to her in-law’s house. This is an integral part of a Hindu wedding, where the teary-eyed bride takes handfuls of rice five times to throw over her head, which is a gesture to thank her parents for all they did for her, and reflects prosperity and good luck.
Her cousins and brothers give a slight push to the car from behind. This signifies that they are helping her begin her new married life. Once the engine of the car starts, money is thrown all over, which is believed to be a way of keeping vile energies at bay.
18. Welcoming bride to the house
Before the Grihapravesh ceremony, a Dwar Wokai ceremony is held in a Hindu wedding when the newly-wed couples arrive at the groom’s house. All the relatives extend a hearty welcome to the couple.
However, the groom’s sister doesn’t allow them to enter. She only allows them on one condition that her brother will have to give her some gifts or cash.
After this, the Grihapravesh ceremony takes place to make the bride’s first entry into the house auspicious, and the couple is welcomed with an aarti and a shower of flower petals. First, she is asked to push a kalash—a utensil filled with rice—with her toes, in order to make an entry into the house. This ceremony signifies that the groom’s family has accepted her as an important part of her family.
19. Bride’s Moohdikhai & Fun Games
Moohdikhai is an important Hindu post-wedding ceremony, which takes place to introduce the new bride to the groom’s family members. The ladies of the house unveil the bride’s face and shower her with gifts. They also offer her gifts as a gesture to welcome her into the family and make her feel comfortable.
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Indian wedding aka hindu wedding has so many fun ceremonies and activities like no other and here comes another one “find the ring in buttery water”. In this ceremony groom’s sister or mother would drop a ring in a mixture of butter milk and both bride and groom would be asked to look for the ring.
It’s a common belief that who ever find the ring will have a higher say in their married life. This is usually repeated 3 times before declaring the winner. Men of the house would often joke that no matter who wins this game, wife would always rule!
20. Indian Wedding Reception
Now all the wedding rituals are over and the bride and groom are offically announced as husband and wife but the Indian wedding is not over yet. Wedding reception marks the end of a long Indian wedding which could easily last for an entire week to ten days.
This event is celebrated differently by Indian living abroad. Indians living USA, Canada, UK etc usually have a big hall reserved for this event with fixed sitting arrangements having closer tables reserved for immediate family members.
Once all the guests are settled down the grand entry starts from bride’s family followed by groom’s family and finally the newly wedded couple. The entry sets the mood of the whole event as every one chooses their choice of music and dances all the way to the event.
After Bride’s sister/brother gives the speech and discloses some really hidden secrets about his/her sister and same courtesy is reciprocated by groom’s brother and sister. Afterwards both the parents bless the newly wedded couple and welcome the new new member in their family. This section won’t be complete without the bride and groom speech! It’s a potpourri of emotions, blessing, fun secrets coming out and thanksgiving to the family and friends.
21. Honeymoon – You need a vacation afterall!
After months of planning, attending all amazing and beautiful ceremonies, the wedding is finally over! Now the couple needs to spend some quality time with each other at a destination of their choice.
Final Word – Indian Hindu Wedding Culture & Traditions
A Hindu wedding is a culmination of emotions that binds two families together and not just the bride and groom. Hinduism believes in reincarnation and that married couple are bonded in threads of togetherness for their next lives as well. Since there’s such an emotional connect, Hindu weddings are generally grand in nature to support the feelings that make their base.
Indian Hindu weddings are so beautiful and vibrant that everyone should attending them at least once in their lifetime. It would surly chance the perception of bright and vibrant wedding outfits, with people full of family values and food to die for!
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