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A Guide to Indian Weddings: Traditions and Culture

Weddings

July 25, 2022

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Indian and Hindu weddings are some of my most favorite events to capture. These multi-day wedding celebrations are so special. Today, I am sharing a guide to Indian weddings including the traditions and culture you need to know!

Bridal henna on palms at Mehndi party for Indian wedding

Mehndi Party

Before the wedding day, the bride traditionally gets beautiful henna designs placed on her hands and feet. This is called Mehndi! There is an entire party for this exciting process. Other members of the wedding can also receive henna applied during this time. The Mehndi party is held the day before the wedding or a few days before. 

Henna on hands for Mehndi party for Hindu wedding

Bride getting henna for Indian wedding

Henna on feet for Bride

Mehndi is not just for appearances. Specific designs are selected to represent love, good luck, and other positive sentiments. This is an important pre-wedding event! The bride, the family, and guests of this event are expected to dress up. The groom might make an appearance at this event as well depending on the couple’s preferences. For this party, expect food, dancing, and decor with plenty of Mehndi application stations set up. 

Haldi & Puja

The Puja ceremony is a day of worship meant to bless the celebrated couple. A meditation prayer and an offering of certain symbolic foods and flowers occur during this event. The Haldi might also be included in this day. The vibrant spice, Turmeric is utilized to continue to bless and protect the couple. This is why the Haldi/Puja event will most likely be decorated to match the golden color of the spice! A turmeric, oil, and water blend is painted on the couple for the ceremony. The Haldi is traditionally performed on the morning of the wedding however, in modern celebrations, it could be held a day to a few days beforehand. 

Puja ceremony for Hindu wedding

Haldi ceremony for Indian wedding

 

Sangeet 

The Sangeet is an exciting event that includes dancing! Both sides of the family traditionally come together for this pre-wedding event. The Sangeet will be held in a venue that can host a crowd and allows plenty of space for dancing. This is one of the more formal pre-wedding events. The couple and their guests will get dressed up! There will be elegant tablescapes, backdrops, and various decor items. Of course, delicious food and drinks will also be served.  Both sides of the family lead choreographed dances to traditional songs relating to the couple. This is a fun and heartfelt event designed to bring everyone together. 

Wedding Sangeet dancing for Indian wedding

Bride and groom dancing at Indian wedding Sangeet

Baraat 

Now it is time for the wedding day! The Baraat is an Indian wedding custom acting as a procession to the wedding for the groom. The bride is not traditionally involved in this event but she likely will be watching from a secret location. That way, the first look isn’t spoiled. There will be live music and dancing. For the wedding pictured below, there was even a horse! The music and the sound of the Dhol (drum) playing are incredible. This procession leads to the venue is ends with a prayer and blessing. The parents of both the bride and groom will exchange garlands to wrap this event up. The garlands signify their acceptance of each other. 

Baraat for traditional Indian wedding

Parents exchanging garlands at Baraat

 

Hindu Ceremony

Then, it is time for the ceremony. A traditional Hindu ceremony officially marries the couple.

Bride and groom at Indian wedding ceremony

I hope this general guide has helped you learn more about Indian wedding traditions and the culture involved in planning the events.

 

If you are planning your wedding and are looking for your photographer, let’s connect! I would love to hear your story.

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I'm Amy and I'm so happy you're here. This is a journal about my life as a photographer, mom, wife and friend. Stay a while and say hello!

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