Marriage is one of the most important rites of passage in Hindu culture, which every person should observe during his lifetime. Vivaah Samskar or Hindu marriage ceremony is the transition between the first and second stage of life, which refers to a life devoted to education and learning to a life dedicated to building a family and raising children, respectively. In Hindu culture, there are many ways to get married with Brahm Vivaah as the highest form. The bride and groom who are joined together are in full accordance of the union and actively participate throughout the entire process.
As one of the most established Hindu Weddings in London, Cavendish Banqueting offers a top to toe service to clients, from catering and civil ceremony to complete event management.
Showing certain similarities with other Indian weddings, Hindu nuptials are also extensive, elaborate and lavish. Celebrations can last up to four days or more, and several rituals are carried out leading to, during and after the wedding. How the ceremony is celebrated is described in the Rig-Veda and depicts the marriage of Surya, the daughter of Savita (The Sun) to Ashwinikumar.
The pre-wedding rituals start with the engagement or ring ceremony, followed by:
• Tilak where tilak is applied to the groom by the bride’s brothers
• Sagai where both parties exchange gifts
• Sangeet where females members of both the bride and groom’s families celebrate the occasion through sing and dance
• Mehandi where mehndi or henna tattoo is applied on the hands and feet of the bride
The wedding ceremony is often elaborate and involves several steps.
- Large Mandap Design
- Mandap Design with Seating
1. Swagatam and Madhuperk
- Swagatam and Madhuperk – 1
- Swagatam and Madhuperk – 2
This is where the singing and dancing procession of the groom and his family arrives at the Hindu wedding venue and is then welcomed by the bride’s family with Aarati and sweets, both symbols of happiness and good tidings.
2. Shri Ganesh Prayers and Poonyahvachanam
This is the part where the entire assembly prays to Lord Ganesh for an auspicious day, and for the ceremony to start and finish without a hitch.
3. Vadhu Aagman
- Vadhu Aagman – 1
- Vadhu Aagman – 2
This can be likened to the wedding march where the bride is brought to the mandap (wedding tent) by her maternal uncle, and accompanied by the bridesmaids and groomsmen. At this point, the bride and groom are still separated by an auspicious cloth called antarpat.
In the highest form of Hindu marriage, it is the bride’s parents that will give her away, and a ritual that symbolises continuity will be performed, where the bride’s mother pours water on her father’s palms that will then flow to the groom’s and then to the bride’s.
4. Mangalashtakam and Sankalpa
- Sankalpa – 1
- Sankalpa – 2
As a sign of mutual approval, the bride and groom recites the Mangalmantras and then give garlands to each other. Since this also signals their agreement to proceed with the ceremony, they then propose to marry each other and enter the married life. This is then followed by the Akshatropanam and Panigrahanam, where the bride and groom tell each other their expectations from their marriage.
- Mangalsutrabandhanam – 1
- Mangalsutrabandhanam – 2
This part of the ceremony is where the groom gives the bride the mangalsutra, a necklace that symbolises good luck, and applies kumkum on her forehead. The bride then applies tilak on the groom’s forehead, and then exchange wedding rings. They are then joined together by a marriage knot done by the groom’s mother or sister.
These steps are then followed by the worshipping of the sacred fire, taking the marriage vows with seven steps, and the blessings of the bride and groom as they become husband and wife.
Overall, a Hindu wedding tends to be lengthy but very exciting. There are shorter ceremonies today, but it all comes down to what the couples want.
At Cavendish banqueting, we have been planning and executing Hindu weddings for over a decade and would welcome to opportunity to speak with you about your requirements.