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Meaningful Indian traditions to include in your wedding

Written by    Last updated: October 10, 2006

Indian weddings are a gorgeous assimilation of age‐old beliefs with a rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Incorporate some of these elements to make your wedding unique, colourful and deeply meaningful…

Music & spa night (Sangeet & Vatna)

  • Tradition: This is a time for the bride’s friends and women relatives to get together and spend the evening immersed in beauty rituals and wedding songs, accompanied with delicious savoury and sweet snacks. The mood is informal and full of fun.
  • Use it: In place of or in addition to a hen night, either a few days or a week before the wedding. Arrange for special spa hampers with a variety of natural beauty treatments for all the girls to try out. Create a lovely ambience with large bowls with flowers and floating candles, and loads of large cushions. Banish the television, hire a Karaoke machine and get the girls really involved. Provide tasty snacks and low alcohol fruit punches or cocktails. No hangovers and you end up looking radiant at the end of the evening!

Planting a tree (Mandav Saro)

  • Tradition: An ancient Zoroastrian custom that the Parsi bride and groom observe four days before the wedding. Each of the families plants a young sapling, usually of a mango tree, in a pot; the soil of which has been enriched with betel, turmeric and rice. Amidst recitation of prayers by the priest the pot is placed at the entrance of their homes. The plant is watered every morning till the eighth day after the wedding and then transplanted elsewhere.
  • Use it: The couple could plant a sapling of a tree (choose something symbolic like Oak for strength) either before or after the wedding ceremony.

Exchange of garlands (Jaimala)

  • Tradition: This is a Hindu ritual before the wedding ceremony where the bride and groom see each other in all their finery for the first time on their wedding day. Each has an identical garland of fresh flowers that they simultaneously put around the other’s neck, symbolizing mutual respect and friendship.
  • Use it: You could incorporate this before the exchange of wedding rings. The choice of flowers for the garland could be coordinated with the colour theme of the wedding. This ritual would also be perfect for an outdoor or a beach wedding.

Body art (Mehndi)

  • MehndiTradition: The occasion involves the application of mehndi or henna on the girl’s hands and feet by a relative, a friend or professional artists. Highly intricate, beautiful and exotic patterns are worked out in the traditional designs of paisleys and flowers, and often the groom’s name is written amidst the pattern for that romantic touch.
  • Use it: If you don’t like the idea of the real henna pattern lasting for several weeks, you could have beautiful delicate patterns in metallic or pearl body paint, or glitter gels and stick‐on Swarovski crystals. These could be done on the upper arm, hands or feet and could have a design to match a pattern or embroidery on the dress.

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