Indian Wedding Traditions, Outfits, Ideas and Much More -Your Questions Answered

Table of Contents

  • Indian Wedding Traditions
  • What Happens at an Indian Wedding
  • Pre Wedding Ceremony
  • Sangeet
  • Haldi Ceremony
  • Mehendi Ceremony
  • Baraat
  • Wedding Ceremony – Complete Rituals
  • Kanyadaan ceremony
  • Blessings of Lord Ganesha
  • Mangal Sutra
  • Saptapadi
  • Sindoor 
  • The Vidaai
  • What to Wear to Indian Wedding – For Men
  • Simple Yet Chic Kurta Pyjama 
  • The Elegant Bandhgala 
  • Regal Sherwani
  • Kurta and Nehru Jacket 
  • What to Wear to an Indian Wedding Reception – For Men
    • Jodhpuri Suit 
  • Classic Western 3 piece Suit 
  • The Classic Black Suit
  • What to Wear to an Indian Wedding – For Women
  • Saree
  • Lehenga
  • Suit
  • Anarkali Skirts 
  • Sharara 
  • What to Wear to an Indian Wedding Reception – For Women
  • Anarkali
  • Suit
  • Indian Wedding Gowns 
  • How to Make Indian Wedding Hairstyles 
  • How Long Does an Indian Wedding Last
  • How Much Does an Indian Wedding Cost in India
  • Who Pays for What in an Indian Wedding
  • When is Indian Wedding Season
  • How to Plan an Indian Wedding on a Small Budget
  •  Indian Wedding Themes
  •  Indian Wedding Rings 
  • Indian Wedding Songs 
  •  Indian Wedding Ideas

Indian Wedding Traditions 

 

India’s extravagant, vibrant and zestful weddings are an intrinsic aspect of its rich culture. The so-called Big Fat Indian weddings have captivated the world, which could be attributed to India’s visible diaspora. Indian families across the world still follow the great age-old Indian wedding customs.

 

However, the religious, traditional, regional and cultural diversity calls in for a variety of traditions being followed in Indian weddings spanning across its states. Although the fervour and emotions behind all Indian weddings are the same, you can spot out differences in the traditions in different regions across India.

What Happens at an Indian Wedding

Prior to a couple of days before the wedding, the first pre-wedding ceremony called Sangeet is held where both the families meet informally at the bride’s residence, where they sing and dance to celebrate the impending union. Then comes Haldi, the fun part of pre-wedding ceremonies, where Haldi or turmeric paste is smeared all over the bride, as well as the groom, regarded as a beautification ritual. The Haldi ceremony is normally conducted separately in the homes of the bride and the groom. A paste made of turmeric, chickpea flour and rose water not just brightens the bride’s skin tone, but also ward off evil. The colour yellow is associated with beauty, purity and fertility.

 

Haldi gives way to the Mehendi Night, where the bride’s hands are adorned with intricate henna designs, where all her female relatives partake in the ceremony. This ceremony is known as Madarengee in a South Indian wedding. All these ceremonies are much lively and zestful with music, dance and a great deal of merriment.

The ceremony that leads to the wedding ceremony is a celebration in itself and has got a name- Baraat. All the guests from the bride’s side can directly move to the venue, but the groom’s guests should accompany the baraat procession, instead of moving straight to the venue. The groom arrives mounted on a decorated white horse in procession while the groom’s friends and family will be dancing in a large circle.

 

The groom’s family will have a great time, where they arrive in a ceremonial procession amidst music and dance, often with a band in attendance. Upon reaching the venue entrance, the groom and his family will be happily welcomed by the bride’s family, by tossing rice upon them. The groom is presented with a plate containing a lamp and garland, by the relatives of the bride. At times, a tilak or dot is applied on the groom’s forehead. Then the groom will be led to the mandap to await his bride. 

Wedding Ceremony 

 

The traditionally worn attire colours are red and pink. Indian brides traditionally wear a red sari or an Indian wedding lehenga, with an embellished headpiece to match. Indian grooms wear a Kafni, paired with a pair of pyjama leggings. To complete the Indian wedding outfit, often grooms wear an elaborate turban over their head.

 

A wedding ceremony is imbued with deep meaning, whereby the couple realises the sanctity and social significance of their union. In a Kanyadaan ceremony, the bride is given away to the groom, by her father. The Kanyadan ritual marks the official approval of the bride’s father to give away his daughter, to the groom. 

 

It’s a tradition followed by Indian families where it is said that the Bride’s father should give away his most prized possession to the groom so that she receives good fortune and great prosperity in days to come. As a gesture of giving the bride away, the bride’s father places his daughter’s right hand on the right hand of the groom. The bride’s mother then pours water on the bride’s father’s hands, which eventually falls on the hands of the bride and groom. As a gesture of purifying the couples for their new life together, the bride’s parents wash the feet of the couples using milk and water.

The priest preceding the wedding invokes the blessings of Lord Ganesha while chanting the Sanskrit mantras. The groom ties a necklace called mangal sutra around the bride’s neck, embellished with black and gold beads.

 

Then comes Saptapadi, where both the bride and groom moves around the ceremonial fire for seven times which signifies their commitment to each other.

 

In Sanskrit, Saptapadi means seven steps, and the couple take seven steps while chanting the Hindu pledge of marriage:

 

First step: We will support and provide for each other.

Second step: We will develop spiritual, mental and physical strength

Third step: We both will share worldly possessions by righteous and proper means

Fourth step: We will acquire peace, happiness and knowledge by mutual love, trust and respect

Fifth step: We will raise virtuous, heroic and strong children together

Sixth step: We will together enjoy the fruits of every season

Seventh step: We will forever cherish each other and remain as friends

 

The groom applies Sindoor or mang in the parting line of the bride’s hair. 

When the much-awaited wedding ceremony comes to an end, then comes the most emotional and heart-rending part of the entire Indian wedding rituals- The vidaai, a post-wedding ceremony where the bride and groom depart to the groom’s home.

 

When the joy and merriment of the wedding come to an end, the post-wedding ceremony called reception takes place which will be hosted by the groom’s family as a response to the wedding ceremony hosted by the bride’s family. The newly-weds will look their best in reception attire, and receive all the guests. During the ceremony, the bride will be introduced to the groom’s family and friends. This marks the end of all wedding ceremonies.

What to Wear to Indian Wedding – For Men

 

These are some of the options that you can consider, to make your look dapper on an Indian wedding ceremony.(Indian Wedding Dresses)

 

Simple Yet Chic Kurta Pyjama 

 

Ace a true traditional yet trendy look, with a basic kurta pyjama paired up with a waistcoat embellished in Juttis. Consider experimenting with fabric and colours for an out-of-the-ordinary look. If you’re an invitee to your relative’s or close friend’s wedding, consider getting dressed up in a pair of Kurta pyjama teamed up with embroidered jutti shoes to accentuate the look of your ethnic ensemble.

The Elegant Bandhgala 

 

An epitome of elegance, a well-tailored bandhgala is what you need, to make sure that your fashion quotient is as strong as the groom’s. You can add a touch of colour to your ethnic ensemble with a colourful pocket scarf- if you feel like doing so. An elegant bandhgala is all you need to look dapper, suited not just for weddings, but for a myriad of occasions like engagement, reception and everything in between.

Regal Sherwani

 

If you’re wondering what to wear to a grand, opulent wedding soiree, then without a second thought you can opt for a regal sherwani. It matches the splendour and grandeur that Indian weddings are known for. Or if you don’t favour regal sherwani, then you can go for a designer made heavy work sherwani instead, that adds a touch of glamour to your whole look. Consider adding a cropped jacket or a dupatta to amp up the sherwani.

Kurta and Nehru Jacket 

 

If you’ve been invited to be a part of your close relative’s or best friend’s wedding, then a Kurta churidar teamed up with a Nehru jacket will be your best bet. If you’re after a simple yet traditional ethnic attire, then this is your go-to choice. The choice of pairing up the jacket and kurta is entirely yours- however, to achieve a monochromatic look, you can either complement your kurta with that of a somewhat same shaded jacket or go for contrasting shades. Complete the kurta-Nehru jacket look with a pair of brogues.

What to Wear to an Indian Wedding Reception – For Men

 

Jodhpuri Suit 

 

Even though you are not required to show up in traditional attire, you can pick something classy like a suit. Whether you are looking for something which is unique, consider a jodhpuri suit, a blend of an ethnic suit and a classic western suit. The ensemble comprises a coat, trousers and at times a vest. To add more jazz to your look, consider experimenting with the colour of both the coat and trousers, to make heads turn at the reception!

Classic Western 3 piece Suit 

 

Just like a Jodhpuri suit, another look that you can try on is the western 3 piece suit. Look your best in a formal look, and it doesn’t matter whether it is traditional or fusion. A 3 piece suit is, by and large, the safest choice yet ultimate in style, but at the same time doesn’t call for a lot of attention. To accentuate your suit, complete the look with a pair of nice-looking formal shoes.

The Classic Black Suit 

 

An Indian wedding suit that you can never go wrong with, which exudes elegance and style. Pair it up with a well-tailored and solid coloured(probably white) shirt. You can choose to complete the ensemble with or without a bow tie, formal scarf or a slim tie, and you’re good to go!

What to Wear to an Indian Wedding – For Women

 

Finding the apt attire is the first task that you need to tackle before you show up in an Indian wedding, and needless to say, it’s the most overwhelming and time-consuming task because you have a wealth of options to choose from. In an Indian wedding ceremony, you’ll be expected to wear traditional Indian attire. These are some of the options that you can consider, to make a style statement:

 

Saree 

 

One of the most quintessential choices, among the plethora of Indian wedding attire choices, and a go-to option for any kind of guest will be a saree. Being a go-to option to make a style statement, a saree will be perfect no matter if you’re the bride’s sister, a distant aunt or anyone closely related to the bride-to-be.

Lehenga 

 

A three-piece attire, comprising a long A-line skirt, or what you call the lehenga, a crop top(choli) and a dupatta. Lehengas are popular for a reason- it’s much easier to wear than a saree. On top of that, you have an abundance of options when it comes to Lehenga colours, and you can pick a lighter and subtle shade like blue, light pink or just go for a darker shade.

Suit 

 

One of the comfiest attire that you can put on will be a suit. It can either be simple or heavy, based on the type of suit. There are a myriad of choices when it comes to suits- you can put on a churidar and kurta, Patiala suit, Anarkali- the options seem to have no end.

 

Anarkali Skirts 

 

If you’re after outfits that lend you a regal and modish look, then Anarkali skirts are for you. If you’re one who doesn’t like to be donned in a lehenga, then consider wearing an Anarkali skirt with a crop top to flaunt in style. These skirts are one of a kind chic yet comfiest outfit that you can wear to an Indian wedding.

 

Sharara 

 

Undoubtedly, the most royal kind of attire that you would ever wear to an Indian wedding ceremony, Shararas will be just right for you if you’re attending a grand, opulent wedding ceremony. This outfit is just perfect for any kind of guest- be it the close cousin of the bride or groom, or even the sister. However, distant relatives can sport in a subtle hued sharara.

What to Wear to an Indian Wedding Reception – For Women

 

Unless specified by the host, you don’t have to stick to a dress code as such. But you can choose to wear traditional or Indo-western attire. Some of the options worth considering are:

 

Anarkali

 

Your most embellished Anarkali, will be the go-to reception outfit that you can wear without a second thought. When it comes to Anarkali styles and colours, there are oodles of options that you can choose from. If you fancy a simple yet ethnic look, then you can don an Anarkali, which is quite easy to wear and move around with.

 

Suit 

 

As a guest, one of the comfiest yet stylish attire that you can put on for a wedding reception will definitely be a suit. Based on the kind of suit, it can be simple or quite heavy. You can choose one based on the kind of reception. There are oodles of options for you- Long kurta and churidar, Patiala suit and much more!

Indian Wedding Gowns 

 

The most dramatic outfit that you’ll ever wear featuring the classic princess cut, and full skirting. Accentuate your gown with a shimmery clutch and subtle jewellery. Gowns suit most body types, and you can flaunt it at the reception party. Unlike in the case of weddings, you can pick a black one or even red, if you wish.

 

Saree Gown 

 

How about wearing a fusion dress to flaunt in style? Verily, saree gowns will save you from the hassle of wearing a normal saree and at the same time, retains the panache and charm of a saree. The fusion dress will definitely add a modish touch to your entire look and much apt if the reception is centred around a theme.

How to Make Indian Wedding Hairstyles 

 

Whether you’re after a dramatic look or just want to keep it light and neat all the while during the day, the aforementioned curated list of Indian wedding hairstyles will totally rock your bridal look. Check it out-

 

Traditional Braid With Floral Extravaganza 

 

Exuding its timeless charm, a traditional floral braid swathed in jasmine will never go out of style. It’s a coiffure that you can absolutely trust- something that you’ll never go wrong with. To begin with, get rid of the tangles in your hair by combing, and divide it into 3 different sections. Start braiding your hair, and when you have braided until down, secure your hair with a bun. Pin the jasmine flower garland around the crown of your head and intertwine it until the end to complete the look. It’s a go-to option if you’re in the lookout for a hairdo for long tresses, to slay in your d-day!

 

Fresh Flowers in Bridal Bun

 

Bun hairdo is what you need, to look ethereal. It doesn’t matter whether you have short or long hair, a bridal bun is all you need to take your entire look up a notch. Start with removing the tangles from your hair. Dress up your hair into a bridal bun and you can use extensions, just in case if you have kept your hair short, and wrap jasmine garland around the bun, pin some flowers on the bun as well, and tuck your dupatta with it and voila- a stunning Indian bridal hairdo for short hair and long tresses alike!

Open Hair With a Top Soft Lock

 

What’s a better spot to show off your long dresses cascading down your shoulder than a zestful Indian wedding? To achieve this look, make sure that your hair is free from all sorts of tangles and apply some serum to remove any frizz and sleek it down. Backcomb your hair in the front portion. Tie your hair half up, secure it, and pin some dainty flowers atop to complete the look.

 

Voluminous Braid With Ringlets

 

Wanna go for a full dramatic hairdo? Then there is no Indian hairdo than a voluminous braid with ringlets with some dainty flowers lining it atop. If you’re wondering which hairdo suits your not-that-thick hair, then a voluminous braid is your best bet, which adds volume to your hair. Prep your hair and take small sections of hair and roll them into ringlets. Take the top section of hair, over your crown area, and do a french braid, taking each section from both the left and right side at a time. When done, secure the hair with a bun and you’re done!

How Long Does an Indian Wedding Last

 

The events of an Indian wedding lasts for up to 3 days, and sometimes, can last up to 5 days. On the first day, normally Ganesh puja takes place, which is attended only by the close relatives. On the second day, Mehendi and Sangeet ceremony commences, following Ganesh puja. The Mehendi and sangeet celebration gives way to the wedding ceremony and reception on the third or final day. All these events are based on auspicious times pre-decided by the priest.

How Much Does an Indian Wedding Cost in India

 

Average Indian wedding cost in India ranges from 20 lakhs to 5 crores. From event planners to caterers and everything in between, you need to make sure that you hire an adept team to make your d-day truly incredible.

 

It will cost you about 1 lakh, for actualising your wedding in an average hotel ballroom, whereas special destinations and resorts will cost you several lakhs of rupees. You need to spend around Rs 30,000 to 2 lakhs for venue decoration. If you’re hiring a reputed caterer for an assortment of cuisines, it will cost you between Rs 1500 to 2500 per plate, and sometimes even more. When it comes to attire, Indian wedding dresses for men such as suits or sherwani may cost up to Rs 30,000 whereas bridalwear such as saree or lehenga can be picked at around Rs 50,000.

 

Being a three-day-long affair, each ceremony requires its own outfits, materials and settings. The average cost of a single ceremony is between 6 to 10 lakhs. On top of all these, there are extra expenses that may add up, such as photography, videography, band, presents, wedding card costs.

Who Pays for What in an Indian Wedding

 

Traditionally, it’s the bride’s family who bears the wedding expenditure, whereas the tikka ceremony and reception expenditure are borne by the groom’s family. Certain Indian families may choose to avoid reception altogether and merge tikka ceremony with that of wedding engagement, in order to cut down expenses. Some families may choose to share the expenditure, but mostly the wedding expenditure is taken care of by the Bride’s family. But sometimes these costs are adjusted if one family is insisting on extra fanfare or additional guests. For instance, the baraat expenses or bride’s lehenga expenses will be borne by themselves.

When is Indian Wedding Season

 

The wedding season starts off in the month with more auspicious dates suitable for the wedding. The most auspicious wedding date will be declared by the priest. The wedding season begins in September and lasts until February in North India. In metropolitan cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, etc. October, November, February and March are the seasons that are most favoured.

 

But in the South, there is no such thing as a wedding season- it happens all around the year. Also, the climatic conditions also have a major role to play in Indian wedding season- weddings are normally not arranged during the rainy season, and the wedding season starts off in the month of Kartik. 

How to Plan an Indian Wedding on a Small Budget

 

To all the exhilarated brides and grooms who are somewhat close to getting spliced wondering how to plan your wedding on a small budget, this step-by-step guide will definitely help you out.

 

Deciding Venue – It’s wise to pick a wedding venue in advance, since the banquet hall, resorts, or vendors may charge you more in the course of peak wedding season. Just steer clear of a destination wedding, if you’re in the lookout for a budget-friendly venue.

 

Cut down on decor– This is something that takes a heavy toll from your budget. If the venue of your choice is either a hotel or banquet hall, you can cut cost on wedding decoration, since these venues may already have an alluring wedding backdrop. There are details that can make a big difference to your budget, such as wedding table centrepieces, entree decoration, table arrangements, mandap decoration.

 

Shrink your guest list – When you’re focused on a small budget, trimming your guest list is a wise move. Try to shrink your guest list to those whom you really like to attend the wedding, which should include your close cousins, relatives and close friends.

 

Curate a wise wedding catering list- You need to make sure that the caterer comes up with a plethora of food recommendations so you can rest assured of the taste of the food. Discuss with the catering or banquet hall manager and list out the dishes that you can’t avoid.

 

Off-season purchase- It’s wiser to buy your wedding outfits during the off-season since items in demand will cost you more during a popular season. And on top of that, sometimes you may get a discount, with which you can get hold of outfits from your favourite brands, that may otherwise cost you more.

 Indian Wedding Themes

 

Get inspired by any of these stunning Indian wedding themes to set the tone for your much-awaited d-day!

 

Royal Wedding Theme 

 

Ever dreamt of having a grandiose Indian wedding, and feel like a royal bride? To materialise your royal wedding dreams, a classic palace would do. You have a plethora of options like heritage property, outdoor location, a hotel resort and much more. Let your entry be grand, coupled with some band wallas and shehnai. To fit in the royal theme, instead of picking a DJ, just go for live Nagada players to make it a much fun affair.

 

Nature Green Theme

 

Add a touch of green shade to the decor of the venue, and let the outfits of the couples be green! Pick a hue of green and couple it with the outfit of your partner. Consider decorating the venue with flowers and some greenery to make it a truly nature-inspired wedding venue. Nature green theme is inclusive of hues of green all at one place.

 

Floral Heaven Theme

 

If you have a penchant for floral arrangements, then fancy getting married amidst the lush floral heaven theme, with sheer natural draped style mandaps, vines and vivid flowers. Introduce flowers through centrepieces, floral hangings, flower decor and whatnot, your guests will really be admired by the whole setting.

 

Beach Wedding Theme

 

Choose an enchanting beach and just make sure that the decorations shouldn’t be too loud, yet be subtle. Stick to pastel-coloured outfits that best complements the theme. Even though you can arrange authentic Indian dishes, just make it a point to serve food in accordance with the theme.

 Indian Wedding Rings 

 

White Sapphire Wedding Ring

 

Do you know that this gem is a symbol of eternal love? A lesser-known, yet a gorgeous option, a wedding ring with such a unique gem like a White Sapphire ring is something that you will swoon on to. On top of that, this wondrous white sapphire ring will cost you only a fraction of the diamond’s price.

 

Aquamarine Wedding Rings 

 

Only a few actually know that Aquamarine is the symbol of good luck in a relationship. This one of a kind ring is truly unique with its pale blue tinge, that can be a budget buy.

 

Platinum Ring 

 

Subtle yet simple, platinum rings are the epitome of love and commitment. Sophisticated and chic, every bride should really have one. You can even consider getting a matchy-matchy platinum ring set, engraved with marital vows.

 

Cluster Diamond Ring 

 

If you’re still after a diamond ring, here’s a nifty trick- get a cluster diamond ring, instead of a solitary one. Mostly, a solitaire diamond ring costs you more than a cluster diamond ring, since it features more diamond. But the price is contingent on the carat weight and quality of the diamond.

Indian Wedding Songs 

 

Are you both a filmy couple who just loves stepping to the beats of peppy numbers? Then you will surely have a blast dancing to these Bollywood groovy numbers-

 

Ghungroo Song from War

 

The brand new song of 2018 will set the stage on fire! Be all set to groove on this peppy number which will take your sangeet a notch higher!

 

Kar Gayi Chull from Kapoor and Sons

 

The catchy lyrics and upbeat music of Kar Gayi Chull will even make the slothful dancers get to the floor and revel in joy.

High Heels from Ki and Ka

 

Get your entire fam grooving to the beats of High heels, an all-time favourite wedding song from Ki and Ka.

 

Humma Humma From Ok Jaanu

 

Who could ever forget the catchy Humma humma of the 90s? Then Humma humma from Ok jaanu is the remade rendition of the song that topped the 90s hit list. This groovy number is sure to attract the young crowd of cousins to the dance floor.

 

Dil Ka Telephone From Dream Girl 

 

This one requires oodles of energy from all of you! But the efforts are worth it. Ready to take up the challenge? It will be super fun!

 Indian Wedding Ideas

 

Have a DJ Request Box

 

You can often find guests complaining of the songs being played while stepping to the beats of a repetitious song. Well, you can avert such complaints by setting up a DJ request box. Place a box adjacent to the DJ setting and let the guests drop their favourite tracks. This way, everyone can dance to their favourite tracks over the day.

 

Ask For Advice

 

Why not the guests pen down some advice for the newly-weds? For that purpose, all you need is some advice cards or an advice booth, and politely ask them to write some marital advice. This will be an amazing idea since you can get to know what your guests genuinely want to tell you.

 

Photo Booth 

 

Photo booths are trending now. Let your guests have some fun by setting a photo booth at a corner of your venue. It not just gives you a stunning backdrop to pose, but quite a lot of candids too! Consider bringing in some signboards, huge goggles to the booth to elevate the fun factor.

Tattoo Your Guests 

 

Another amazing fun idea is to urge your guests to have tattoos. Arrange a person to assist guests with applying tattoos. You are not required to pick permanent tattoos for that purpose, customised temporary tattoos will do.

 

 

The traditions that make up a big-fat traditional Indian wedding not just unites both the bride, the groom and their families, but also make sure that no one ever leaves this extravagant event without having a great time. Thanks to the fact that the nuances of Indian traditions have blended into the rich culture of India.

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