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A Hindu Wedding is not simply an exchange of vows and rings. There are a number of religious rites before and during the nuptials, which are performed in the presence of family members. These represent the importance of the bond between a husband and wife. A Hindu marriage is incomplete without the blessings of a spiritual or divine element.
I have known Himanshu & Pooja, who work for our subcontractor, for about 2 years while they worked in UK. They invited me to their ring ceremony, and to their wedding day. However I could not attend the wedding as I was in UK. Their marriage is not a traditional arranged marriage by Indian standards.
This is the formal betrothal of the couple, held usually a week before the actual wedding. This is a list of what might be expected:
For the ceremony, the bride's family sends all the clothes and accessories, which the bridegroom requires for the wedding ceremony, to his house. These gifts are accompanied by a token amount of cash, one basket each of fresh and dry fruit, one kilo of mishri or sugar candy, ten kilos of sugar, ten kilos of sweets and 11 coconuts. The dry fruit basket could also contain other food items like jam, ice cream, coffee, sherbets etc. (This is seen in the gifts table below). The bride's family also gives clothes to all the members of the groom's family.
The ceremony was held in a hotel function room. The layout was a stage platform at one end with two chairs for the couple, then chairs arranged facing each other along the room in curved rows.
As people were arriving they were divided between the Brides and Grooms sides. It was interesting to see that as the 'younger' people arrived, they all paid respect to the more senior people in the room by touching their knees.
It was all a bit of a confusion for us, as we did not know what was happening and we just let events take place. It was only later that we found out some of the significance of the tradition.
The couple at the start. They arrived, to normal Indian timing at 8:30pm. This is what is meant by the timing on the invitation: 'and onwards'
It was all started by the man on the right (in white), I think he was Pooja's uncle.
At the exchange of rings, the guests threw rose petals at the couple
Then it was time for every guest, starting with the families, to have their photo taken with the couple on the platform. This is Pooja's family
Yes, he was on the phone in this photo!
The gifts table of fruit and sweets.
Finally: a dinner buffer was served to the guests. This is what you could call the top table.
Another interesting example of Indian ways of doing things.
The event was being recorded on video, and to ensure enough light, he had a floodlight strapped with tape to the top of the camera. The light was just a normal 500w mains powered device, and he was strapped to a long mains cable with switch in this pocket. On the end of the cable (as every where in India) was not a plug, but just the barred wires pushed into a socket!
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