Yesterday I described the setup of an Indian wedding and thus interrupted a list of questions westerners ask on Indian weddings. I would like to continue with this list today and get a bit closer to those people who should be the main protagonists of a wedding: the bride and the groom.
3. Upon arrival: Oh gosh, is that a horse?
Ahem, yes, that’s indeed a horse and the prince on top of it is the groom! Indians have fairytale weddings to which the groom comes to the bride, riding on a white horse, wearing an adorned turban and even a sword! They are the prince and the princess on this day, the God and the Goddess!
4. In the wedding hall: So this is the groom – where is the bride?
Behind the stage, probably still finishing her make-up, excitedly giggling with her sisters or best friends.
5. After a while: The bride still nowhere to be seen – won’t she come out at all? Some people are leaving already! Will she miss her own wedding?
Oh, don’t worry, she will come – try some more sweets, they are great!
6. A little bit later: Finally, there is the bride! What will happen now? The couple doesn’t really look happy or excited! They are sitting up there on their stage like statues – won’t they come down and talk with their guests at all?
I told you that the bride and the groom are like royals or Gods today. They are not getting into normal conversation on this day! They will be all formal and do what they are supposed to do: put a flower mala around each other’s necks, then sit on their armchairs and get their pictures taken. They are not supposed to talk or laugh, they should be shy and, in good Indian manner, be serious on pictures.
Yes, pictures is what is important now. Photos are taken in different constellations with all guests who would like to. When the guests have eaten and most of them have left already, then usually the bride and groom and the host family will finally sit down and have dinner.
The real ceremony follows after this, when only the closest people are still present. It is the ritualistic part, the act which actually marries them, which is important for them. The reception before is more a social tradition. You receive guests, welcome them, serve them and let them enjoy the food and music – but once that is over, the real wedding ceremony starts and it will last the whole night long.
In the morning then, the bride’s family will bid farewell to their daughter, sister and niece. It is a tearful goodbye because the woman will now leave her parents’ home and begin a new chapter of her life. The groom will take her away to his home.
And they live happily ever after…