Indian weddings have always been known for their grandeur and fun atmosphere , but when it comes to understanding the reason why the bride and groom perform the steps of the ceremony it’s a whole different ball game.
Weddings are a celebration of love and commitment, and can also a celebration of the couple’s religion and culture. Whether you’re invited as a guest, attending as a member of the wedding party, or are simply curious, the basis of a vedic Indian wedding ceremony that you may want to get familiar with
The principle wedding ceremony is conducted as follows at The Hare Krishna Temple ( Bhaktivedanta Manor ), there may be slight variations due to family customs and traditions. The Indian wedding priest’s perceptive will play a small part too .
Below I have included images for vedic wedding ceremony from a recent wedding I photographed to make it easier to understand the various parts of the ceremony.
Table of Contents
Listed below is a summary of the Vedic Indian Wedding Ceremony
1. Ganesh Puja – Worship of Lord Ganesh by the bride.
2. Milni – This is to welcome the groom and his family as they arrive. Once the groom has taken his place, the bride, usually accompanied by her maternal uncle, is invited to take her place.
3. Anterapat – A cloth is placed between the couple. The Brahmin (priest) will perform the Sanskrit Mantra and the cloth will then be removed. Traditionally this is the first time the couple will have seen each other.
4. Introduction – This is a brief explanation of the meaning of a Vedic marriage.
5. Achaman – Holy water from the Ganges is used to cleanse and purify
6. Civil Marriage – Registration of Marriage
7. Kumbha Sthapana – The Brahmin (priest) invites Lord Vishnu to join the ceremony. He then explains the ‘definition’ of the marriage and its commitments as outlined in the Vedic Scriptures.
8. Sankalpa – The Brahmin announces where, when and between whom the marriage is taking place.
9. Hastamandap – The Brahmin performs the ceremony to unite both families
10. Kanyadan – This is the most important part of the ceremony. The Bride’s father gives her away to the Groom’s family. This is considered the greatest Dana (gift). The act is confirmed by the exchange of garlands between the bride and groom.
11. Havan – A fire Sacrifice (Havan) is performed by the priest
12. Purnahuti – Final offerings are made to the Sacrimonial fire
13. Mangal Fera – The fire (Havan) is considered the witness to the whole ceremony. The ceremony here consists of the couple walking around the fire four times, which represents the four aspects of life.
- – Dharma
- – Religious Duties Artha
- – Economic Development Kama
- – Fruitive Work Moksa
- – Liberation
14. Mangal Sutra – Similar to concept of the English Wedding Ring – a golden necklace is presented on a coconut by the Groom’s mother to the Bride.
15. Kum Kum – The Husband puts red coloured Kum Kum on the parting in the hair of the bride.
16. Sapta-Padi – The bridal couple, receive blessings from the priest and everyone present.
17. Darshan – At this stage the curtains in the temple are opened to reveal the beautiful deities of Sri-Sri Radha Gokulananda, Sri-Sri Sita Rama Laxman Hanuman and Sri-Sri Gaura Nitai.
18. Kansar – This is an exchange of Sweets between the couple as a symbolic gesture that they will provide for each other’s needs and prosperity in their household life.
19. Ashirwad – Blessings from the bride and groom’s family that concludes the wedding ceremony.