Indian weddings are significantly different from western marriages. Indian weddings use bold colors, not white. Loud music is considered to be proper during parts of an Indian marriage. The ceremonies are elaborate and can take considerable time even when condensed.
The Sangeet Ceremony
“Few days before marriage, the Sangeet ceremony takes place, in which the female members of the family sing and dance to celebrate the occasion. Among the many pre-wedding events that occur prior to the Hindu, Punjabi, and Gujurati wedding ceremonies, the Sangeet is where the party begins. This celebration includes dances performed by relatives and friends of the Bride and Groom, songs by the elder female members of the family sung in unison with the bride as the focal point, and an open dance floor to commemorate the festivities for the following days.”
The Sangeet ceremony takes place two or three days prior to the wedding, before the Mehndi ceremony.
The Mehndi Ceremony
“One distinct tradition that most Indian brides love, much as one loves her veil, is Mehndi. Mehndi is henna, which is applied in intricate designs (stencils) that are temporary and provide décor for the hands, arms and top of the feet. The ornate designs are applied by expert beauticians who are sought for their talent in applying the henna, which initially begins like a clay paint and then hardens. Lemon juice is applied or lemons are rubbed to the arms and feet to keep the color or prolong it. The Mehndi is an important occasion for the bridal party, close girlfriends, sisters and other female relatives. Particularly exciting for the bride is that, though stencils are used for the patterns, no two henna applications are alike because it is tradition to hide the groom’s name within the grand design.”
Special moments that are recorded in Indian wedding photography include:
- Mehendi (henna) on the palms of the bride indicating she is getting ready
- The bride in a wedding dress with heavy wedding jewelry
- Arrival of the groom on a horse in a procession, and being greeted at the door
- The wedding mandap
- Bride and groom seated and engaged in worship
- Bride and groom walking around the sacred fire
- Tying the knot, holding hands, tying the mangalasutra and filling the parting of the hair with sindoor
- Portrait of the couple as a royal couple, with guests on their sides as blessing dignitaries or attendants
- Bidaai, the crying of the bride as she leaves her father’s home
- Wedding portrait showing the newly wedded husband and wife
Credit: Wikipedia and Daniels, Maggie, & Loveless, Carrie (2014). Wedding Planning and Management: Consultancy for Diverse Clients (Second edition). New York, NY: Routledge. Illustrated by Rodney Bailey.