The Ultimate Indian-Inspired Wedding Guide!
So you would like to have an Indian-inspired Wedding? Whether you are Indian yourself or you have an appreciation for the aesthetic of the culture, Thorum is here to help settle your needs. We have gathered together some of the most pressing questions to give you the knowledge you need to make your wedding as bright and musical as an Indian wedding.
Clothing: Bright and colorful is best!
What makes an Indian wedding so special is how they embrace their signature cultural traditions, and their choice of clothing. All attendees, including the bride and groom, are encouraged to dress colorfully in traditional clothing.
Men wear many different types of clothing, but the iconic ones include the sherwani and men's kurta combinations. Of course, if you are wanting a less formal choice you can also mix this up with a western-style suit whilst still keeping the playful colors of the special event.
Women wear a wider range of fits including kurta, sarees, salwar, lehengas, and dresses. If these don’t appeal you can mix it up like men by going for less formal choices with a modern western dress or suit if you want to be bold. And always colors! Don’t wear the standard black and white seen in the weddings of the west.
However, avoid the color red in your outfit, unless you are the bride which you will be required during the duration of the ceremony to wear. If you are a guest, it is best to try not to stand out over the bride or groom.
India is a large place and full of many different cultures under the umbrella of ‘Indian’ therefore, clothing and headpieces for weddings will vary drastically. All present at a wedding should wear something atop their head, but what should a bride and groom wear?
Women have a wide range to head adornments to choose from, including tiaras, but an iconic Indian one is the Maang Tikka. It is round forehead jewelry that can be worn not just by the bride but by any lady or girl in attendance too.
The groom wears a turban, with some going further to add a sehra veil made of beads to ensure he does not see the bride until the final wedding ceremony. After the wedding, some Indians like those that practice the Sikh religion will wear it like a ring. It represents their dedication, self-respect, courage, and piety.
The Marks of Bindi and Tilak
For a more Hindu-inspired wedding, the painting of a bindi for the bride, and tilak for the groom would be a great way to round up the ceremony. However, keep in mind that although these have become fashionable in recent years, there is still a rich cultural tradition behind it that should be understood before anyone adopts them for their wedding.
They represent the metaphorical third eye associated with deities, meditation, and spiritual enlightenment. They are often performed by priests in temples or the home in the concluding stages of a religious ceremony.
The Mehndi Ceremony and Henna
Mehndi is a ceremony performed the night before Indian weddings to apply henna. A priest or member of the family applies henna to the hands and forearms of the bride and groom. It symbolizes their spiritual connections, bringing prosperity, good luck, and positivity. And it's not just the bride that can enjoy it as well!
Often there will be mehndi parties for friends to get a taste of some of the pre-wedding excitement. You don’t need to worry about them being permanent, however, as the henna only lasts up to four weeks. But during that time you have pretty patterns for good fortune on your skin!
Indian Wedding Ceremonies
An Indian wedding ceremony is quite different from a ‘western wedding’. First of all, we pointed out earlier that India is a large place with many different cultures and thus different types of weddings. So although we can’t hope to paint the ‘typical Indian wedding’ here we will just highlight some of the unique traditions to give a taste of what to expect.
When are these weddings held? A Hindu wedding will often consult a priest to determine the best astrological time for their wedding. This can be hard as not only do you need that time off, but also everyone else is having it on the same Saturday.
So how long does it last? A wedding can last three days, with the final day being when the bride and groom get ‘married’ in the Christian sense. Hindu weddings, have a two-hour ceremony and then a reception which follows with the whole day taking up sixteen hours.
Do not expect a kiss at the wedding. The bride and groom at a Hindu wedding do not kiss at the end of the last day's ceremony. This gesture is often too personal, although these attitudes have started to change.
So how do the bride and groom enter? Of course, it's a big event for both parties. The groom comes in first often in some grad style aboard a large vessel and dressed fancy. He rides above and greets his friends and family. The bride comes in next, lead first by her bridesmaids, then she comes in with an older male relative of her family. Sometimes she is even carried by him and handed over to her husband-to-be.
There will be a lot of food at this wedding reception for the huge number of guests. What better way to celebrate though? You don’t want to be left hungry with the amount of dancing you will need to do.
With any event in an Indian wedding, it will be big and grand. The bride and groom will change their outfits and wear something to allow them to dance! During the event, the groom will have to be careful, however, as the bridesmaids are known for trying to pull pranks on him. If they get his shoes he often has to pay money to get them back!
Like all weddings, an Indian wedding is beautiful and celebrates a special time between two people that love each other. It's about the union between couples as they decide to make that commitment to each other to start the next stage in their lives together.
You can find some great ways to make your own wedding unique by trying some of these traditions for yourself, or if you are of Indian descent to celebrate the culture you came from.
Keep in mind for those not from India to not simply treat these traditions as cheap gimmicks and if you are to embrace these rites then do research before you add them to your ceremony.
You can check out our other wedding guides here: