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A Quick Guide to Hindu Wedding Ceremonies

A Quick Guide to Hindu Wedding Ceremonies

Hindu weddings are special celebrations full of culture and traditions. They’re like colourful stories that have been told for a very long time. These weddings are not just parties; they are important events that show what’s important to the people who have them.

In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey through Hindu weddings. We’ll show you why they are important and what happens during them. Whether you’re getting ready to go to a Hindu wedding or you’re just curious, this guide will help you understand and enjoy the beautiful customs and traditions that make these weddings so special.

Quick-guide to Hindu Wedding Ceremonies

The Essence of Hindu Weddings

Hindu weddings are deeply meaningful both spiritually and culturally. They symbolize the sacred union of two souls and invite divine blessings for a happy married life.

Spiritual Significance:

Hindu weddings seek divine blessings, involving gods like Lord Ganesha and Agni, the fire god, in the ceremony.

Cultural Significance:

These weddings showcase India’s diverse culture, reflecting regional customs and traditions. Families take pride in celebrating their heritage.

Symbolism in Rituals and Customs:

Every ritual has a special meaning. For instance, the Mangalsutra signifies commitment, Sindoor represents a happy life, and Henna is a mark of beauty and joy.

Hindu Wedding Rituals

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Hindu Wedding – Important Events and Ceremonies

Hindu weddings are different in the sense that they are not just about one day. There is the pre-wedding ceremony or event to think about as well as the wedding day itself so, these events are worth considering:

Pre-Wedding

Mehndi – This is the process of getting ready for the wedding and it begins with painting the hands and feet of the bride using henna artwork and intricate design.

Sangeet – This involves an evening of music and lots of entertainment that involves friends and family. It can take many forms that can range from a traditional night right through to a party.

Pre Wedding Events

The Wedding

Barat: The groom is dressed up in all the finery and transported to the wedding venue in a very elaborate and beautifully decorated procession. The procession can be anything from a horse to a vehicle. The procession will include the groom’s family, with lively dancing accompanied by a live band, ideal for capturing memorable moments in Asian wedding photography.

Var Mala: On a stage, known as Mandap, the bride and groom will exchange garlands of flowers that are packed with colour.

Pheras: In front of the holy fire, the bride and groom will exchange vows before moving around the fire several times while holding hands.

The Wedding

Mangal -Sutra: As a mark of marriage, the groom will tie a golden locket or thread around the neck of the bride. In some cases, this is the Indian equivalent of a ring and so, once again, this is a great time to take photographs.

Kanya Daan: During this ceremony, the family of the Bride will have over their daughter to the family of the groom. This is a symbolic ceremony whereby the first family will be involved.

Bidaai: This is another symbolic ritual whereby the bride will leave her parents and accompany her husband on the journey to his house. This is commonly an event that is filled with emotion.

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What to Wear at a Hindu Wedding?

When attending a Hindu wedding, it’s important to dress appropriately and respectfully. Here’s a quick guide on what to wear for both men and women:

For Women:

Opt for traditional Indian attire like sarees, lehengas, or anarkali suits. These outfits are colourful and elegant. Don’t forget to accessorize with matching jewellery like bangles, earrings, and necklaces. Modesty is key, so avoid outfits that are too revealing.

For Men:

Men usually wear traditional Indian clothing such as sherwanis, kurta-pajamas, or well-tailored suits with kurta-style shirts. Pair them with traditional Indian footwear like juttis or mojaris. Adding a stole or dupatta completes the look.

Cultural Sensitivity:

Showing respect for the culture is essential. Avoid wearing white, as it’s associated with mourning in Hindu culture. Also, be mindful of the dress code if specified in the wedding invitation.

What to Wear at Hindu Wedding

Food and Cuisine

Hindu weddings are a feast for the senses, especially when it comes to food. Here’s a taste of what you can expect:

Delicious Variety

Hindu weddings are known for their diverse and delectable cuisine. You’ll find a wide range of dishes, from spicy curries to sweet desserts, all bursting with flavour.

Traditional Dishes:

Some common dishes include biryani, samosas, dosas, and vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries. Don’t miss out on sweet treats like jalebi and gulab jamun.

Celebratory Role:

Food plays a significant role in the celebration. It symbolizes abundance, prosperity, and the joy of coming together. Sharing a meal with loved ones is a way to strengthen bonds.

Food and Cuisine

Music and Dance

Hindu weddings are not just about rituals; they’re also about celebrating with music and dance:

Sangeet Ceremony:

The Sangeet is a special event filled with music and dance performances. Families and friends come together to showcase their talents and celebrate the upcoming wedding. It’s a joyful and colourful occasion that adds a festive touch to the wedding festivities.

Melodious Atmosphere:

Music is an integral part of Hindu weddings. From traditional instruments like the sitar and tabla to lively Bollywood songs, the melodies create an enchanting atmosphere. Guests often join in the celebrations with dance, making the wedding a lively and energetic affair.

Music and Dance

Where Do Hindu Weddings Take Place?

Hindu weddings are a magnificent fusion of tradition, culture, and spirituality. These sacred ceremonies unite two souls in the presence of family and friends, amidst colourful rituals and blessings. One crucial aspect of planning a Hindu wedding is selecting the perfect venue.

Temples (Mandir):

Temples are the most traditional and spiritually significant venues for Hindu weddings. The sanctity of the temple and the blessings of the deity play a central role in the ceremony. The bride and groom often exchange vows in the inner sanctum, surrounded by priests, family, and devotees.

Following are some well-known Hindu and Sikh temples in the UK where traditional Hindu weddings are often held:

  • Shri Swaminarayan Mandir: Located at 105-119 Brentfield Road, Neasden, NW10 8LD, this magnificent temple is a popular choice for Hindu weddings, offering a sacred and grand setting for the ceremony.
Mandir
  • Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir: Situated on Ealing Road in Wembley, this temple holds cultural and spiritual significance for the community, making it a favoured venue for traditional Hindu weddings.
  • Radha Krishna Temple: Found at 10 Soho Street, this temple provides a serene and traditional backdrop for couples seeking to exchange vows in the heart of London.
  • Wat Buddhapadipa Temple: Nestled at 14 Calonne Road, Wimbledon, this Thai Buddhist temple is not only a place of worship but also a tranquil location for couples to celebrate their love in a unique and peaceful setting.
  • Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha: Located at the junction of Havelock Road and Park Avenue in Southall, this Sikh gurdwara is often chosen by Sikh couples for their weddings, offering a rich cultural experience and a spiritually significant venue.

Each of these temples and gurdwaras embodies the sanctity and cultural diversity that contribute to the beauty of traditional Hindu and Sikh weddings in the UK.

Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha

Banquet Halls:

Banquet halls are a popular choice for Hindu weddings due to their versatility. They offer ample space for various rituals, a comfortable environment for guests, and a blank canvas that can be decorated to match the couple’s preferences.
Start looking for the best place for your wedding by checking out banquet halls in the West Midlands and Birmingham.

Outdoor Settings:

Many couples choose to celebrate their love amidst the beauty of nature. Gardens, beaches, and open-air venues provide a picturesque backdrop for Hindu weddings, especially during favourable weather conditions.

Community Centres:

Community centres offer a practical and budget-friendly option for hosting Hindu weddings. They often come equipped with amenities like kitchens, parking, and spacious halls.

Banquet Hall

Homes:

Intimate and deeply personal, some Hindu weddings take place at the bride’s or groom’s home. This option allows for a close-knit gathering and holds sentimental value.

Destination Weddings:

Hindu destination weddings have gained popularity in recent years. Couples opt for exotic locations, combining a stunning backdrop with the rich traditions of a Hindu wedding.

Palaces and Heritage Sites:

For those seeking grandeur and a touch of royalty, palaces and heritage sites offer a regal setting for Hindu weddings. These venues exude history and opulence.

Destination Weddings

Hampton Court Palace:

  • Location: East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU
  • Hampton Court Palace, with its grand architecture and beautiful gardens, is an excellent choice for a majestic Hindu wedding ceremony.

Kew Gardens:

  • Location: Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AE
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew provide a lush and picturesque setting for an outdoor Hindu wedding amidst the natural beauty.

Syon Park:

  • Location: Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 8JF
  • Syon Park, with its historic Syon House and expansive gardens, offers a grand and regal backdrop for a Hindu wedding.
Kew Gardens

Apsley House:

  • Location: 149 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NT
  • Apsley House, also known as Number One London, is a historic mansion in central London that can be a unique choice for an intimate wedding.

Chiswick House and Gardens:

  • Location: Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London, W4 2RP
  • Chiswick House and its gardens, with its neoclassical architecture and scenic landscapes, provide an elegant setting for a Hindu wedding.

Eltham Palace:

  • Location: Court Yard, Eltham, London, SE9 5QE
  • Eltham Palace combines medieval and Art Deco styles, making it a distinctive location for a wedding steeped in history and elegance.

Royal Observatory Greenwich:

  • Location: Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, London, SE10 8XJ
  • This iconic location offers stunning views of the city and the Royal Park, making it a unique and memorable spot for a Hindu wedding.
Eltham Palace

Hotel Resorts:

Many luxury hotel resorts offer comprehensive wedding packages, making it convenient for couples to host all their wedding events in one place, from the sangeet to the main ceremony.

Convention Centres:

Large Hindu weddings with extensive guest lists may choose convention centres to accommodate the crowd comfortably. These venues can host elaborate setups, including stages for rituals and performances.

Religious and Cultural Centres:

In multicultural societies, couples may choose religious or cultural centres that cater to their specific traditions. These centres often provide the necessary facilities and cultural ambience.

Hotel Resorts

Guidelines for Attending a Hindu Wedding as a Foreign Guest

Here are the tips for attending a Hindu wedding:

Dress Appropriately:

Choose appropriate attire, such as sarees or traditional Indian clothing for women and kurta-pajamas or sherwanis for men, or respectful Western alternatives.

Timing Matters:

Be prepared for lengthy ceremonies; Hindu weddings can span several hours.
Respect Religious Customs: Be observant, quiet, and respectful during religious rituals and ceremonies, even if not participating.

Gifting Etiquette:

Bring a gift for the couple; options include money in an envelope, jewellery, or traditional gifts.
Show Respect for Elders: Address elders with honorifics and be polite when interacting with older guests.

Hindu Wedding as a Foreign Guest

Engage in the Celebration:

Participate in dancing and other festivities, and mingle with other guests.

Be Mindful of Footwear:

Follow rules regarding footwear, such as removing shoes before entering some venues.

Photography Guidelines:

Ask for permission before taking photos, especially during private or religious moments.

Language and Communication:

Learn a few basic local language greetings and phrases to facilitate communication.

Photography Guidelines

Gift Ideas for Hindu Wedding Couples

Select culturally appropriate and meaningful gifts for the couple. Certainly, here are gift ideas for a Hindu wedding:

  • Money in an Envelope: A practical and traditional gift.
  • Jewellery: Gold or silver jewellery, such as necklaces, bracelets, or earrings.
  • Sarees or Clothing: Beautiful traditional attire for the couple.
  • Religious Items: Idols, puja thalis, or decorative lamps with spiritual significance.
  • Home Decor: Decorative items like lamps, wall hangings, or artwork.
  • Kitchen Appliances: High-quality kitchen appliances or cookware sets.
  • Personalized Gifts: Customized items like monogrammed towels or engraved cutting boards.
Gifts for Hindu Couple
  • Spa or Experience Vouchers: A relaxing spa day or a memorable dining experience.
  • Books or Literature: Books related to their interests or classic literature.
  • Gift Cards: Gift cards for popular stores or dining establishments.
  • Travel Packages: Travel packages or airline vouchers for their honeymoon.
  • Household Appliances: High-quality appliances like a coffee maker or microwave.
  • Honeymoon Fund Contribution: Monetary gift or a travel voucher for their honeymoon.
  • Artisanal or Handmade Gifts: Unique, handcrafted items made by local artisans.

Selecting the right gift depends on the couple’s preferences and needs. Don’t hesitate to ask their family or close friends for guidance, and consider adding a touch of elegance to the presentation with beautiful wrapping or an ornate box.

When do Hindu Weddings Take Place?

Hindu weddings typically take place during an auspicious time known as the “muhurat.” The timing of a Hindu wedding can vary based on factors such as regional customs, astrological considerations, and the preferences of the families involved. However, there are some general guidelines:

1. Morning Weddings: Many Hindu weddings traditionally occur in the morning, usually between 6:00 AM and 12:00 PM. Morning ceremonies are considered highly auspicious.

2. Daytime Weddings: Some Hindu weddings take place in the early afternoon, around 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, depending on the chosen muhurat.

3. Evening Weddings: Evening weddings are becoming more common to accommodate work schedules and guest convenience. They may start around 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

4. Nighttime Weddings: While less traditional, some Hindu weddings occur at night, often with grand receptions and festivities that can extend into the late hours.

When do Hindu Weddings Take Place

The specific timing of a Hindu wedding is determined by consulting a Hindu priest or astrologer to find an auspicious muhurat based on the couple’s birth charts and other astrological factors. It’s essential for the wedding to take place at a time when planetary alignments are favourable to ensure the couple’s prosperity and happiness.
The choice of wedding timing can also be influenced by the region, cultural practices, and the couple’s and their families’ preferences. Therefore, it’s common to see variations in wedding timings among different Hindu communities and individuals.

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Capturing Precious Moments: Key Shots in Hindu Wedding Photography

Hindu wedding photography is an art that focuses on preserving the most special moments of the ceremony. Here are some of the key shots that Asian wedding photographers capture:

The Grand Entry:

Photographers often begin by capturing the bride’s and groom’s grand entrance, showcasing their stunning attire and anticipation.

The Rituals:

Photographers zoom in on essential rituals like the exchange of garlands (Jaimala) and the tying of the sacred thread (Mangalsutra). These shots reflect the heart of the ceremony.

Candid Emotions:

Candid photography is all about capturing unscripted moments. Photographers look for genuine emotions, like the bride’s shy smile or the groom’s joyful expression.

The Seven Vows:

The seven circumambulations around the sacred fire (Saptapadi) are central to Hindu weddings. Photographers ensure these vows are beautifully documented.

The Grand Entry

Bridal Details:

Attention to detail is vital. Asian wedding photographers capture close-ups of intricate mehndi designs on the bride’s hands, her jewellery, and her overall bridal look.

Family Bonds:

Shots that depict the emotional connections between family members and friends are precious. These candid moments convey the love and support surrounding the couple.

Cultural Elements:

Hindu weddings are diverse. Photographers focus on unique cultural elements, such as the vibrant attire of a Rajasthani wedding or the simplicity of a South Indian ceremony.

The Reception:

The reception is another important part of Hindu weddings. Asian wedding photographers capture the couple’s first dance and the celebrations that follow.

Final Moments:

The departure of the newlyweds marks the end of the wedding. Asian wedding photographers capture the couple’s farewell as they embark on their journey together.

In Hindu wedding photography, each shot tells a story, capturing the beauty, tradition, and emotions of this special day. These photographs become treasured memories that the couple and their families cherish for a lifetime.

The Reception

Conclusion:

Hindu weddings are not just colourful stories that have been told for generations; they are living, breathing celebrations of love, culture, and spirituality. They are important events that showcase the values and traditions held dear by those who participate in them.

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