- A Three-Day Celebration
Indian weddings often last for at least three days. The first day usually involves a Ganesha Pooja, which is a Hindu festival that reveres god Ganesha. It typically takes place at home with close family and friends. The second day is reserved for the mehndi ceremony or sangeet, where the bride and her guests adorn their hands and feet with intricate henna patterns followed by dance performances and dinner. The third day consists of the wedding ceremony in the morning followed by the reception party in the evening.
- Ceremony Venue
Indian weddings are frequently held in hotel banquet halls or Hindu temples. There will be a decorated, four-pillar, gazebo-like structure called the mandap that will host the ceremony. Chairs will be set up for you to view the ceremony in front of the mandap, with the first few rows usually reserved for family and the wedding party.
- The Holy Fire Ritual
The priest sparkles a holy fire called the agni. The pair typically steps seven times around the fire, symbolizing seven sacred vows given to each other. The ceremony can last from one to four hours anywhere so make sure you are hydrated and fuelled before you find your seat.
- More Than a Ring
The bride usually gets a line of red powder applied on her hair along with a black and gold necklace called the mangal sutra, instead of just the typical ring to signify the newly betrothed couple. Those two items symbolize the devotion of a couple to each other.
- Colorful Indian Garb
You’ll notice fashions are anything but subdued at an Indian wedding so the brighter, the better. Most female guests attend weddings wearing colorful saris, lehengas and accessorized Indian suits with gleaming jewellery. If you don’t own Indian clothing, please feel free to wear a vibrant shawl or dress.
- Eats Galore
Avoid wearing black or white because in Indian culture these colors often have negative connotations, and red as that is typically the color the bride wears.
- Tons of People
An Indian wedding will feature hundreds and hundreds of people and it is easy to get overwhelmed. The groom may be riding an elephant or horse at the ceremony when they make his entrance. Just sit back and relax, and have tons of fun surrounded by energetic guest oodles.
Couples will often ask for no boxed gifts. Consequently cash or gift certificates are appreciated. Add a $1 to the amount since in Indian culture odd numbers ending in one are auspicious.
- The Party
After the ceremony, a lavish reception party will be thrown by the couple’s families to finally let loose. Part of the celebration includes a reception program for the couple including speeches and loved ones singing, dancing and performing skits. There will be a huge buffet dinner and a dance party following the programme. Bring your trendiest, but comfortable, dancing shoes.