One of the most unique and exhilarating experiences for anyone who visits India as a tourist or as an invitee is attending a traditional Indian wedding. The wide range of elaborate rituals and ceremonies that are spread out over a period of 3 to 6 days may be a bit overwhelming but if you keep a few tips handy, it can be an enjoyable and enriching time that will remain etched in your memory for long.
The entire wedding is studded with lot of food, colours, dances and rituals culminating with a wedding reception conducted by a proficient compere and an elaborate “baraat”. Let’s see what these tips tell us about making the wedding a delightful affair to attend:
It makes sense to dress modestly and appropriately
Both Men and women will do well to remember that by dressing in a traditional manner will help them to blend with the rest. Bare shoulders and knees are not favoured greatly, especially in a traditional setting, so such clothing is best avoided. Females can choose sarees or salwars while men can try suits or sherwanis. Either way, consider the weather and climate conditions before making a selection. Bright colours are a wonderful choice while black and white are better avoided.
Be ready to wake up at unearthly hours
Indian weddings are timed according to auspicious timings, known as mahurat. Especially if you are in North India, a 2 am wedding may often be the rule than the exception, so be prepared to grab sleep whenever possible, to compensate for late nights and early mornings. Ask the host for timings of the main events so you can plan your rest periods around it.
An Indian wedding is always an extended affair-plan accordingly
Indian weddings last for 3 days to a week so it is necessary to plan accordingly. Events like the mehndi, wedding ceremony, wedding reception and baraat are interspersed with other mini ceremonies. Plan your time and rest sessions to make the most of the wedding, allowing you to enjoy it to the fullest.
Know the customs well
Understanding the customs and the colourful rituals, understanding what Saptapadi means and why the vows are taken. Knowing the meaning behind them will help you to enjoy the wedding in a wholesome way. The mehendi ceremony, which is held a night prior to the wedding has a lot of significance. The darker the colour of the applied henna, the happier the marriage will be. The application of vermillion or kumkum on the bride’s forehead and wearing the mangalsutra shows the woman is now married. Understanding the relevance behind these will help you to enjoy the proceedings well.
Enjoy the food, there’s a lot to choose from
Indian weddings are centred around food, food and more food so the earlier you come to terms with the spice and sweet, the better it will be. There are many appetizers and snacks served to guests as they enter the wedding venue followed by a hearty lunch or dinner as per the time of the day. Depending upon the region you are in, there is a choice of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food so take your pick accordingly. Weddings in west and south India will serve only vegetarian food while north Indian weddings provide a choice of non-veg and veg food. Enjoy this and make the most of the varied tastes that present themselves.
Gaston Dsouza, who is a leading master of ceremony in Mumbai says that Indian weddings are a not-to-be-missed experience with its age-old traditions and colourful events, so get ready for a fun-filled week.