Although you will be able to find a Hindu wedding in many different countries across the world, there is a general move to a more standardised Hindu wedding ceremony, which includes many ancient rituals, but also makes it more accessible to today's twenty first century bride and groom.
This means that your first decision will probably be whether you want a completely traditional Hindu wedding, or whether you want to incorporate some British customs. This could depend on whether you are a second or third generation Briton, or whether you are marrying someone who identifies more with British culture than Hindu culture. Your partner could be from a completely different culture, and so your wedding may be a wonderful compromise between different people's hopes and expectations. Although there may be elements that you really do not want to let go of, remember that a wedding is not just about one person, but about two people and their families coming together to celebrate your love. Do not give up on your dreams, but be prepared for a reality check!
As you begin to plan the individual details of your wedding, your list of things to prepare for the big day will get bigger and bigger. But do not panic! The expectations of brides (and even sometimes, their grooms and families!) to be at their wits ends by the time their wedding day approaches should not be your fate. Some of the reasons why Indian weddings can be so complicated can also be your strength. Use your family and friends! They want to be involved. As long as you can convince them to only "help" - not interfere - in the job(s) that you give them, then you can relax about all of the irritating little jobs that you would have to do. Now they can be taken care of, and give your family and friends the satisfaction of being able to contribute to this celebration of your incredible love.
Hindu weddings are all about friends and family, and there will probably be hundreds of people that, as soon as they hear that you have become engaged, will immediately want to give you their opinion! Many Hindu wedding venues are aware of this, and try to make sure that they can incorporate more than one person's ideas and hopes for this special day. Perhaps the best way to do this is to start with the basics. What kind of ceremony do you want? Do you want to wear traditional dress throughout the whole day, change half way through, or wear something slightly more modern? How will those in your wedding party be dressed? What will the food be like?
For those of you that do not know much about Hindu weddings, here is a basic breakdown of what a Hindu ceremony consists of. There are obviously many rituals and customs that I have not managed to include here, but the joy is, there is always more!
You may want to celebrate all of the exciting pre-wedding events that are part and parcel of a Hindu wedding. Before you even set your date, make sure that you check your astrological charts so that you can choose an auspicious day for your union.
As the wedding ceremony itself begins, prayers will be said to bring blessings upon the two of you, and to remove any obstacles that may lie in the path of your married life. Most of the readings, prayers and wedding vows that will be spoken throughout a Hindu wedding will be from the Veda, or holy scripts. These could be said in the original language, or translated into English. That is your choice, or the choice of the person that will officiate your marriage.
The raksha bandhan will be placed around your wrist, and the wrist of your partner. These red chords will link you, and protect you from challenges that may come along in your lives. At that point, it is typical for the father of the bride to give away his daughter to her intended - and make sure, guys, that you do not make a reach for her before then! Until her father literally gives you permission, she is not yours to take.
Then there comes the exchange. This can be of flowers, of a garland, or nowadays it is normal to present each other with both a garland of flowers and rings. After this follows a tradition that is much more recent - the placing of a black and gold necklace on the groom by the bride. The sapta padi are the first seven steps that you will take as man and wife. And do not forget that throughout the ceremony, a fire should be burning, purifying the ceremony. Make sure that you check with your venue that this is allowed, or they could get rather a shock!
So there you have it, my quick guide to a Hindu wedding. There is so much more to do, and organise, and experience during this wonderful day. Just make sure that you take your time when you are actually living it - because you cannot live that day again, and it will be the best day of your life.
Typically Hindu Weddings are held on a Saturday, do any of your wedding venues have a wedding package available on a Saturday?
Yes, please call us on 0203 371 5225 to discuss the wedding venues that you are interested in and we shall see if we can obtain a wedding package to suit you for a weekend date.
Are we able to have Halal food at our Hindu Wedding Reception?
Yes, all of our Hindu Wedding Venues will allow Halal meat and may be able to assist with finding the perfect wedding caterer.
Would your Wedding Venues allow a Mangalphera (walk around fire) for our Hindu Wedding Reception?
Please call us on 0203 341 5225 as the majority of our wedding venues allow traditions such as fire pits, candles etc.