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BIG FAT INDIAN WEDDINGS!!!

Expensive clothes & jewellery, houses decorated, the air full of enthusiasm & joy, religious rites, meeting relatives, singing songs and what not! In general, India experiences 15 different cultural weddings! Being a Hindu my focus will be more towards Hindu wedding ceremonies with extravagant Indian weddings in general! May it be the picturesque location of Goa or lush green Palaces of Jodhpur & Udaipur! Due to its geographic advantage, India is home to beautiful islands like Havelock, where grand weddings look even grander with the blue skies and crystal clear waters! Even better is holding marriage ceremonies near the illuminated Taj Mahal. Imagine taking Saath phere (seven rounds of marriage) near one of the seven wonders of the world!

Believe me, it’s a no silent affair, and definitely not a day’s affair. It carries whole baggage of an entire fortune starting from hunt of a perfect match to celebration lasting a good number of days before the main event.

“There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, Communion or company than a good Marriage.”

-Martin Luther

Destination Weddings

Destination weddings are always trendy and appeal to generations for their exotic and stunning backdrop! Since it is more customised wedding option, families involved keep it more private and wonderful. There might be welcome bags with personalised kits full of tequila bottles, personalised mints, hotel maps and even hangover kits(cause why not). Other wedding festivities may include beach parties, pool parties cocktails and even vibrant bachelors parties!

With Beyoncé adding the spunk to the pre-wedding gala, there were many important personalities invited to the wedding of Isha Ambani, Heiress of Ambani empire. Hillary Clinton, Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and many other actors. The wedding was short by 10 million to the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The Ambanis(bride’s side) and Piramal’s(bridegroom’s side) had booked all the five-star hotels of the city!!

-Isha Ambani’s wedding, daughter of Indian Billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

Famous Indian Actress Priyanka Chopra herself wedded Nick Jonas in the Umaid Bhawan Palace, Rajasthan. May it be the feather-embroidered dress by Marchesa in a bridal shower or the stunning red Sabyasachi Lehenga, she pulled off the best of both worlds!

Hand-embroidered and hand-cut organza flowers, French knots in silk floss, delicate Siam-red crystals and layer upon layer of threadwork embroidery creates this piece of impossible couture. 110 embroiderers from Calcutta, India took 3720 hours to create this modern masterpiece. As an ode to the resplendence of Mughal jewellery, her wedding jewellery was crafted with uncut diamonds, emeralds and Japanese cultured pearls in 22 karat gold and had delicate tiny stars in uncut diamonds to give a sense of whimsy to an important traditional piece.

-Sabyasachi on the PC’S Indian wedding lehenga, 2018

Popular media coverage & glam

Indian bridal shows like Band Baja and Baraat Sabyasachi focus on the colourful and lavish aspects of this pomp and show of weddings. This show captures the epitome of glam involved with lovely good humour sprinkled on top of the long-standing rituals. The show selects a bride from a pool of applicants to wear a Sabyasachi outfit on her wedding day. This Indian fashion designer, Sabyasachi, is celebrated for his uniquely modern take on traditional Indian clothing. I recall my revered English mentor’s daughter has gifted a truly great wedding experience in 2014, through this show.

Different ceremonies

The marriage season for north Indians starts generally between November to February. Each wedding comprises of namely sangeet (song night), Mehndi (henna designs on hand of women) and Haldi (turmeric) Ceremony. It’s a world of vibrant deep reds, high spirited yellows and bold oranges! The bright colours saris of women are embellished with gold elements to symbolise commitment, spirituality and fertility.

“Paise do Joote lo” (stop the shoe thief!)

My most exciting is the Jutti Chupai! The bride’s sisters hide away the groom’s slippers for which the groom will have to pay in order to get them back in time for the wedding rituals. Reminiscing the good times, while the groom’s shoes were being safeguarded by a bodyguard he had hired (so extra!), my cousins and I managed to get away with the shoes by engaging him in small talk. At last, we bargained our way through a very decent monetary compensation of 500 pounds! Teamwork is the best!

Mandap & Mangal sutra

It is the mandap, a four-pillared canopy, decorated with vibrant colours to be used to complete the main rituals of this auspicious tie. The bride and groom take seven steps around the fire reciting vow, Hindu pledge of marriage, amidst the chanting of the pandits. In Hindu tradition instead of exchanging rings, Mangal sutras (necklace) is tied around the bride’s neck with three knots. This represents the symbol of an Indian woman’s strong and long-lasting marital status.

Final farewell: a start to a new life

Completing the wedding ceremony is indeed tear-jerker for especially the bride’s family. During the Vidaai the bride throws a handful of rice over to pay her respect and thank her parents. After she bids them farewell, she turns a new leaf. The bride’s first steps into her new home are taken after she has dipped her feet into a mixture of milk and vermillion, thereby leaving red footprints to summon the goddess Lakshmi. It is indeed marriage, a beautiful blending of two lives that makes a wonderful, mystical moment when a beautiful page of life unfolds.

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