Everyone has to go to India at least ones in their life. Exploring other culture is exploring your culture too. And you will see the world with different eyes after you come from India. I went twice, one summer and one winter. And the second time going in winter was only to see Indian wedding.
Besides it is good feeling going from cold place to hot place in winter, weddings are gorgeous and flashy in India. They are not held in summer because of the monsoons. That’s why I needed to go in winter. Usually Indians weddings are big organisations with a lot of food, employees and band. Hall is always decorated by flowers and ornaments, everything is very garish. Usually lots of guests are invited, and even people like to go to wedding, because you can find incredible open buffet. It is more like festival with servants, waiters and cooks around.
Henna is the must for a bride. All brides decorate their arms and legs with beautiful different design of henna (mehndi).
Not only in wedding day, henna is important element in Indian culture. You can find “henna designers” on the street and they are really good at their job. You can have beautiful henna on your foot or your arm with a few of cents. It looks like our (Turkish) “henna night” that is held the day before marriage. But the one in Turkey bride and attendants (usually only girls) apply henna only in their palm like simple circle, but in India you can see incredible designs on all the visible parts of the body. I liked it so much that after turned back, I tried to do some designs by myself.
I think you already know that brides don’t wear white wedding dress in India. They usually wear wedding saree (Indian traditional dress) and for wedding it’s red and green color traditionally. There are so much beads and handwork on the dress that I couldn’t stop thinking how they carry such heavy thing. Grooms sometimes dress traditionally and sometimes suit, depends on their preference. Groom comes to the ceremony with horse, and most of the time the horse is white. There are a lot of discussion about the reason, but I am not surprised that in the past (may be some regions still) also in Turkey not groom but bride was coming on a horse. So this tradition could be coming from history, I don’t know.
As all oriental countries jewellery is very important in weddings. Bride decorates herself with gold bracelets and necklace. Not only, there are other jewelleries to put on for marriages like noise ring, toe rings etc. It’s similar to Turkey that people make gift gold to the newlywed couple. While families and relatives give gold bracelet which is heavier, others give gold coin. The meaning is simple; gold has value and it’s supposed that the couple is going to pay their wedding and new settled life expenses with those gifted gold.
Indian weddings are worth to be experienced. There are lots of details and rituals hide at a wedding. If you have chance to visit a friend in India, don’t be shy and just enter a wedding to see the atmosphere and say congrats 🙂