This week we have an absolutely gorgeous Indian wedding. There are so many special rituals and visually rich elements that we have always loved to be a part of. I invited Vaishali, our bride, to be guest blogger and she has graciously agreed to provide her comments and insight into the world of Indian weddings.
Indian weddings are a feast for the senses filled with bright and vibrant colors, traditions and rituals, lively music, and celebration amongst family and friends. Our wedding was no exception!
The festivities kicked off several days prior to the actual wedding with the Mehendi celebration, during which I had mehendi (or henna) applied to my hands and feet. The intricate patterns and design of the mehendi, meticulously applied by a mehendi artist, serve as decoration and a symbol of good luck for the bride.
My bridesmaids, many having never attended an Indian wedding before, were excited to have mehendi done as well!
Amidst all the tradition and ritual, we still managed to enjoy some silliness prior to the ceremony.
Vishal (my groom) arrived to the ceremony site in a Barat, a traditional procession of music and dancing along with all of his family and friends. Even though the skies were cloudy and a faint drizzle was falling, the groom’s side danced and celebrated the start of the wedding ceremony with excitement!
My family welcomed Vishal’s family and the entire Barat procession by performing an aarti, a traditional Hindu blessing. After this greeting, my parents led Vishal and his family to the mandap for the ceremony.
Indian wedding ceremonies take place under a decorated canopy called a mandap. Priti Verma, of L’Ambiance, did an amazing job with the mandap and the rest of the décor.
Vishal and I were separated by a cloth called an antarpat during the first part of our ceremony. The antarpat symbolizes our separate identities and harkens back to early days when brides and grooms were arranged to be married and did not meet before the auspicious occasion of marriage. During this time several family friends and relatives sang the Mangalashtak, an eight verse song specially written for the bride and groom on their wedding day. After each verse, guests showered their blessings on us in the form of akshata (rice). At the end of the Mangalashtak, the antarpat was lowered and we exchanged garlands, welcoming each into the other’s life.
My brothers made it difficult for Vishal to place the garland around my neck!
My parents placed my hands into Vishal’s, signifying the giving away of the bride and the immense trust they are placing in Vishal to be a good husband to their daughter.
Though not an actual religious tradition, a significant cultural addition to the ceremony is the point when the bride’s brothers twist the groom’s ears. My brothers tweaked Vishal’s ears as a playful reminder to take care of their sister.
The final and most binding of all the rituals is Saptapadi. During this ritual, Vishal and I took seven steps together to symbolize a set of vows we take as a couple. As we took each step, we recited the vows before our family and friends. After the seventh step, we were officially married!
Vishal’s brother, an avid musician, allowed us the pleasure of hearing him play the saxophone.
DJ Jatin of DC Vibez got everyone on the dance floor and kept the party going strong
Venue: Hyatt Regency Baltimore
Florals & Decor: L’Ambiance
Caterer: Bombay Tandoor
Cake: Sugar Bakers
Entertainment: DC Vibez
Planner: Erica Schlatter (Hyatt)