Jason & Shruti's Hindu Wedding
Jason & Shruti had their wonderfully colourful Indian Wedding in London. It was held in their relative's backyard which doesn't sound that glamorous until you see it! The marquee they set up and all the lanterns laid around the garden turned the place into something really special. When you enter the marquee you feel as though you have been transported into an exotic place with the sea of red fabric draping every corner. The Bride was very relaxed which always make it a little easier. The Groom was also very chilled and happily went with the flow of all the customs and traditions that came with a Hindu Wedding Ceremony.An important part of the ceremony is in front of the mandap, the bride and groom greet each other by garlanding one another with a jaimala (floral garland), witnessed by all the guests, who stand as a sign of respect. Before this was about to take place the pandit (the priest) asks out loud 'Where is the photographer?', I was literally 2metres away on the ground taking photos! I had to put my hand up so he could see me, everyone laughed. I always try to be the discreet wedding photographer, the wedding is about the bride and groom, and their day with family and friends. I am there to capture the moments and the memories. If you would like to read in more detail about the Hindu ceremony I have included this at the end.
HINDU WEDDING CEREMONY
Swagat and Milni
Under the instruction of the pandit (the priest), Groom and his family are received by Bride’s parents. They rotate a lamp (aarti) to welcome the Groom and the other guests. Close members of each family meet and greet one another.
In front of the mandap (4-pillared canopied structure under which the ceremony will take place), Groom and Bride greet each other by garlanding one another with a jaimala (floral garland), witnessed by all the guests, who stand as a sign of respect.
Madhuparka is a mixture of yogurt, symbolising strength, and honey, symbolising the sweetness of life. The madhuparka will be offered by the Bride to the Groom who will eat the mixture 3 times. This act is symbolic of the sweetness and joy that the bridegroom hopes will be a part of his and his new bride’s life together.
Bride’s parents will put Bride’s hand into the hand of the Groom and the Groom will respond by
accepting her hand. ‘Kanya’ means daughter and ‘Daan’ means giving away, hence in this part of the wedding ceremony the bride’s parents entrust her to the bridegroom. The officiating pandit chants appropriate verses in Sanskrit (ancient holy language).
All solemn rites and ceremonies commence with the performance of the havan (sacred fire ceremony). The idea is to begin all auspicious undertakings in an atmosphere of purity and spirituality. This atmosphere is created by the burning of fragrant herbs.
Two scarves (dupattas) are put on the shoulders of the couple and a knot is tied between the scarves. The knot is a symbol of an unbreakable bond between the couple.
Shapth Grahan : Whilst holding each other’s hands, Bride and Groom will accept each other of their own free will, witnessed by their guests.
Silarohana: Bride will place her right foot on a piece of stone, confirming that the foundations to their marriage will be as solid as the stone and that no other person will be able to defeat them.
Laja Homa: Bride’s brothers will be invited to the mandap and will be asked to put some rice in the hands of the couple, who in turn will put it into the fire.
Parikrama: This stage is one of the most auspicious parts of the ceremony and consists of the couple walking around the fire clockwise four times, symbolising: (i)Dharma (duty); (ii) Artha (prosperity); (iii) Kama (fulfillment of desire) ; (iv) Moskha (liberation and self-realisation). This custom coupled with that of Saptapadi establishes an indissoluble matrimonial bond between the couple. Bride will lead for the first three times, and Groom will lead on the final walk.
Saptapadi (seven steps): The couple will take seven steps around the fire together, symbolising:
(i) sustenance; (ii) good health; (iii) prosperity; (iv) happiness; (v)progeny; (vi) blessings; and (vii) a close union.
Sindoordaan: Groom will apply Sindoor (red powder) in the parting of Bride’s hair as a blessing.
The couple will feed each other mithai (Indian sweets) wishing each other a sweet life.
Aashirvaad & Shanti Paath
The pandit (priest) will ask the gathering to stand and shower the newly married couple
with flowers and rice whilst giving them his blessings. The couple will then touch the
parents’ feet as a sign of respect and blessings. Finally the priest will recite the peace
hymn, bestowing happiness and peace on the gathering.