India Hindu Wedding and Marriage Traditions
If you or your fiance are from India, your wedding may well be much more elaborate and beautiful than the typical American wedding! You'll want an Indian Wedding Planner who understands Hindu wedding customs and traditions, and can work with you to adapt these rich customs to America. For example, if you invite Lord Ganesh to your wedding in the form of an elephant, it can cost $40,000 to transport one from Hollywood to Denver and back (there are no local elephant rental services here)! We can help make that happen, but a lavishly decorated white horse for the groom is much more practical in Colorado.
Rev. Chris Mohr at Foothills Chapel is happy to perform a simpler, romantic, American-style ceremony which weaves in quotes from both Christian and Hindu sources such as the words of Sri Ramana Maharshi or Sri H.W.L. Poonjaji. Rev. Mohr also has extensive experience being part of a larger, more traditional Hindu wedding, where he offers the more simple ceremony and the Hindu priest offers the more elaborate rituals.
Unlike typical American weddings, Indian couples and both families are often deeply involved in collaborating and planning the traditional wedding of their dreams. Hospitality is often extremely important, and every guest is made to feel like royalty! Jewelry is exquisite. Some of the world's finest cloths are often imported from India. American weddings usually consist of a wedding and a reception. Indian wedding traditions include at least four events, 7 meals, and three dresses for the bride:
- Ganesha Poojan: prayers days before for new beginnings, wisdom.
- Ladies' Mehndi: to beautify the bride
- Sangeet: music, rehearsal dinner, greet with sweets, dances, little gifts, garba dance with sticks
- Seherabandi: groom welcomed into marriage; he gets a crown and veil.
- Baroda: marriage processional for groom on a white horse or elephant.
- Aarti: bride's parents welcome groom, mother of the of bride helps him off the horse.
- Milni: uncle gives Garlands, money and hugs for the family.
- Ceremony: welcome arch for guests, mandap (4 poles), garland exchange
During the ceremony, all 4 parents raise up four poles of "altar" or Mandap. Rev Chris Mohr has worked with Hindu priests and pundits when there is an interfaith or interethnic couple, providing Christian or even civil ceremony elements. He understands that people need to be out of room for one hour for the priest to set up properly. He is used to taking off his shoes as a sign of respect. And even in an interfaith ceremony, the couple can walk around the sacred fire with 7 vows: earth is consciousness, stones are obstacles to overcome together, etc.
The Groom's ceremony is usually 30 minutes long. The bride ties the knot, bride and groom trade sides in the ceremony.
Recommended Professionals for Hindu Weddings:
- Hummingbird Henna Design, Anita Bohrer, henna artist, 303-761-9742
- Azucar Bakery, Marjorie Silva, Henna-designs on delicious cakes, 720-283-3294
- Aaron Templer, The Gora Dhol Wallah (drums)
- Mudra Dance Studio, Namita 720-252-4480
- Tajal India Grocery, Jacob George, 10351 Grant St Thornton 80229 303-450-4164. Jewelry, groceries, etc.
- Little India, catering and restaurant, 330 E. 6th Avenue Denver, CO 80203 303-871-9777
- Erin from Divine Celebrations, Pittsburgh: Nationally known wedding planner who specializes in Hindu weddings: Phone 412-436-0337
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