Event: The Indian Wedding

The weekend was a break from training as it was my second cousin's wedding. I went to it all- Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3! I have lots of photos to show you so if you've ever wondered what an Indian wedding is like, read on...

Part 1 - Friday Night - The Henna Night

So the groom's side (us) and the bride's side host their own mendhi (henna) nights. It's the first of the wedding celebrations so it's really a big social event! It's great for catching up with family who have flown in from overseas and friends that you haven't seen in a while.

As you get henna done, it's good to wear something practical. Believe it or not but this outfit is just that- a top and bottoms that are very comfy and easy to slip on and off.

Mendhi in the old days was just for the bride. All the while she had mendhi she was excused from housework. As people didn't really honeymoon as much back then it was seen as a gentle introduction to her new married life -i.e housework and living (often at first) with her new husband and his family! Nowadays it's just a bit of fun for the girls,a sort of PG Rated family hen night! 

Part 2 - Saturday - The Vidhi
(Got in a cheeky Parkrun before this one!)

This ceremony is again a separate one for the groom and bride's families to do. For this, girls wear outfits like this lovely red number as they are easy to dance in and for moving around.

The Vidhi is done to prepare for the wedding. It brings peace and cleanses the household. The girls who have married into the family do the vidhi- part of which involves tying part of their sari to their husbands suits (as they don't like to wear the traditional male outfits so they wear a suit instead) to reconfirm their marriage. 

Girls in the family also take part in another ceremony called gothero. This is where you prance around with pots on your head (seriously). Originally this was done to bring water into the house for the wedding guests. Obviously there is no need for the water now as we have taps (and Evian) but the tradition still stands. Believe me- hanging around holding this on your head for 20 mins or so is HARD WORK. Then, just when you think it's over, you have to dance with it! Here I am looking thrilled with the burning feeling in my arms.



The groom is also given a "face mask" -also known as pithi-by the women in his life. So going back to the old days (are you sensing an outdated theme here?!) when the men would have been working in the field, they would be dirty and dark from the sun. (As you all know me and my feelings on being too dark, I know you get this!) The main ingredient is flour, mixed with water and sometimes ground almonds. It cleanses and lightens the skin. Both the bride and groom do this.




Part 3 - Sunday - The Wedding

Finally, the wedding! This was in North London, at a temple, as that's where the bride lives. I wore a sari for this event- it was a case of saving the best till last! 

So the groom and his family arrive first and conduct a bit of pre ceremony hocus pocus- what else can I call it at this point?! He sits in the mundup (the gazebo type tent) at the front of the hall with the bride's parents. They perform a welcoming ceremony on the groom and clean his feet as a sign of respect and for the religious ceremony that is about to begin. God does not take kindly to dirty footed men.  


When the bride arrives, the groom is hidden behind a sheet held up by his family. As the bride's parents are already in the mundup, she is usually escorted down the aisle by the brother and/or uncles. The sheet is dropped when she is sits down in the mundup. 



As Indian weddings go, this one was very short and sweet! You can usually expect to be there for the better side of 5/6 hours so this one was comparatively short. One of the sweetest moments is when both the bride and groom put flower garlands around each other's necks. It is a sign of acceptance of each other. It is the equivalant to a wedding ring as traditionally they were not given, my grandad has never worn one despite 40+ years of marriage. My grandmother wore a mangla sutra, which is a necklace in place of a ring. Today women are still given a mangla sutra but they want the rock as well. (If you're reading this sweet boyfriend of mine- I do want one. A big one. This is not a get out!)


Normally there a wedding reception as well with drinking and also meat. Traditional Indian wedding do not have any meat or alcohol as it is a religious ceremony. The couple decided not to have a reception so it was off home for us. After getting back quite late on Sunday evening, my family had organised a Pizza Party. It was a nice relaxing end to a great weekend sitting on the floor munching away with my cousins.

I wish the new Mr and Mrs Patel lots of love and happiness and thanks for a great weekend! x

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