Found: An absolutely stunning wedding celebration that is brimming with a diverse and intricately designed palette. Lavish Indian weddings are back and bigger. than. ever. From the delicious wedding fare to the exquisite dress and décor to the Indian bridal jewelry, no two Indian weddings are the same. They’re the flawless blend of cultural heritage and modern influences, where traditions dating back centuries are somehow seamlessly woven into the joyous festivities. Behold: the unique rituals and traditions that make Indian weddings an unforgettable (and timeless, we must add) multi-day affair.
01. Give Your Skin a Serious Treat With Haldi
Meant to bring good luck, the bride and groom families gather separately to spread a thick yellow paste made with oil, water, turmeric, and chick flour over the couple. Bad news? This magical mixture goes everywhere. We’re talkin’ over the skin, clothes, and hair. But let us tell ya, we are not mad about it whatsoever. Because the good news? It’s meant to brighten the bride and groom’s skin tone while bestowing blessings upon them in preparation for the engagement party. Bonus good news? This neat ritual has proven to reduce stress, leaving both brides and grooms alike feeling ~ super ultra ~ relaxed and ready to tackle absolutely anything that comes their way on their wedding morning!
02. Let Your Hands Do the Talking at The Mehndi
Indian brides have been adorned with henna for over 5,000 years. Taking place one day before the nuptials, this ceremony involves applying unbelievably gorge henna designs on the bride’s hands and feet. We’re suckers for elegant decorative art and the details are just *chef’s kiss*. While the designs reflect floral motifs that bring good luck, love, and fertility, it’s also typical to conceal a partner’s name in the artwork and watch as they search for it afterwards; this practice is thought to symbolize how patient their marriage will be. Legend has it that the darker the mehndi design looks later, the stronger a bride’s bond will be with her husband. Noted.
03. Dance Your Heart Out at The Sangeet
Think: a night of endless music, captivating dances, and a sprinkle of cheeky competition between the two families. Of all the wedding events, the Sangeet night is the most exhilarating. Everyone revels in the joy of the upcoming union by performing traditional folk dances and singing songs in honor of the couple. These heartwarming dances are often choreographed. Fittingly, Sangeet directly translates to “sung together”. Who doesn’t love wholesome, family moments filled with full-blown performances? Is there any better way to release all that wedding planning stress and have fun with your loved ones? No, we think not.
04. Arrive in Style With The Baraat
Hear us out: the groom’s arrival at the bride’s venue is a striking festival in and of itself. The Baraat is a lively procession where the groom arrives on a stunning horse or in luxury car, accompanied by his family and friends dancing to the beats of the dhol, a traditional drum. Talk about a dramatic entrance! A special rice toss called akshat is used to greet the groom’s fashionable party. The groom is then adorned with a floral garland and given a dazzling plate with a lit lamp called an arati. Sometimes, a tilak, or a dot on the forehead, is also administered. An iconic entrance? Abso Freakin’ Lutely!
05. Let the Wedding Ceremony Begin with Varmala
Symbolizing their acceptance of each other as life partners and warmly welcoming each other into their families, the bride and groom exchange breathtaking floral garlands. We’re obsessed with the lush beauty (and not to mention, smell) of these flowers. The bride and groom’s brothers, close family members, and friends toss in a bit of spice to the occasion by carrying the couple on their shoulders and swaying back and forth while exchanging garlands, making it an even more unforgettable challenge. Geez Louise. Well, you know what they say: nothing good ever comes easy.
06. Indulge in a Little Chaotic Fun With Joota Chupai
Ever had the craziest urge to steal a groom’s shoes as soon as he takes them off to enter the sacred stage because why not? Yea, us too. If you’re into pulling the groom’s leg, well, er – shoe in this case, here’s the down-low: the sisters, cousins, and bridesmaids of the bride are the culprits and hide the shoes after stealing them STAT. On the other hand, the groom’s family is expected to ensure that the females do not succeed. FYI, the aim is to get some money from the groom. Eventually, the groom begs and the girls ask for a handsome sum of money—20, 50, even 100 dollars—in exchange for his kicks before they’re released to him. Let’s. Freaking. Go. 07.
07. Awe at the Gorgeous Mandap
Orchestrated with a plethora of unique themes and color schemes, the enchanting Mandap is a temporary structure constructed for the purpose of the marriage ceremony. Occasionally, the grand structure is elevated and always supported by four pillars which represent each of the four parents. A small fire is lit in the centre of the Mandap which represents Agni, the Hindu god of fire that gives life to marriage. Trust us, your upcoming wedding photo’s for Insta are begging you to have a shoot there. BEGGING. Like, oof! Have you ever seen a Mandap adorned with flowers, greenery, fabric, crystal, and more? 10/10.
08. Get Blessed By the Gods With The 7 Steps of Saptapadi
To signify the strength of their friendship, the bride and groom have their garments tied together– typically the bride’s veil and the groom’s sash. Following this, they walk seven circles around the sacred fire, each representing a unique blessing they desire the gods to gift them. These 7 sacred Mangal Pheras beneath the Mandap include taking vows of love, loyalty, and mutual respect with each encircling. Honestly, does anything sound more holistic?
09. Shower Rice Over Each Other With Talambralu
How fun does showering your bride or groom with a delicate mixture for a hot sec sound? All you need is rice, turmeric, saffron, or even pearls, and you’re set to go. Think about the satisfaction! You know we’re right. But most importantly, this tradition signifies fertility, prosperity, and happiness for the couple’s future life together. And we’re totally here for it.
10. Have Your Breath Taken Away By The Bride’s Lehenga or Sari
Chasing her dreams while honoring her roots at the same time, the new-age Indian bride isn’t just a showstopper anymore, she is also slaying as the showrunner. Rarely settling for anything less than perfect, an Indian bride’s attire is just as ornate and traditional as the groom’s, with intricate beading and delicate fabrics. The bride might wear a Lehenga or Sari in shades of red, representing good luck and happiness, or gold, representing commitment and fertility. Her attire is sewn with 24-karat gold thread and adorned with jewels. That combo of beautifully embellished shining mirrors, crystals, and sequins is ofc, totally fabulous, and everything you could want in a wedding dress. Un. real.
With their kaleidoscope of colors, lively music, and intricate rituals, Indian weddings are truly a sight to behold. It’s a truth universally acknowledged. Just sayin’. And while the physical, spiritual, and emotional union of two people is the very foundation of an Indian wedding ceremony, it’s also about the beauty of the two families coming together through prayer and celebration. Whether you’re an active participant or an observer, attending an Indian wedding is an unforgettable journey into the heart and soul of India’s rich cultural heritage. Count. Us. In.