Main Page > Weddings > Services Offered for the Hindu Weddings

Based on extensive experience in conducting Hindu Weddings, we can offer following services.

1. Overall Marriage Events Planning : There are many aspects that are unique to each marriage and the actual events planned. Most people start planning their marrige with us about six months prior to the actual marriage date. I have tried to answer some of the frequently asked questions in the FAQ section. I try to help the families to make this celebration cost effective, successful, less stressful and memorable

2. Pre Marriage Ceremonies : Indian weddings are well known for various social and religious events which are geared towards formal kickoff and improving the bonds between the groom's and brides' families.These are described in the Pre Wedding Events and Rehearsal sections.

3. Actual Marriage Ceremony : This is described in detail in the Marriage ceremony section.

Here are descriptions of the key events.

1. Pre marriage events
2. Wedding rehearsal
3. Marriage Ceremony
4. Post Marriage events

Pre-Marriage Events:

Two days before the wedding, many families arrange social events to bring guests and family members on both sides together. These are not religious but social events like Mehandi, Garba or Sangeet evening.

On the day before the marriage, typically in the morning, we do a formal kickoff where families on either side get together and pray for successful marriage ceremony without any obstacles. This involves Ganesh pooja, (prayers to Lord Ganesha), Grah Shanti (prayers to remove any potential bad influences of planetary bodies), Kalasha Pooja (holy water for Kannyadaan) and Mandap Devata Puja (prayers for the wedding hall deities). In Indian customs, bride's and groom's families do this function at their own house, but it can be done together depending upon the circumstances. This overall program, from set up to completion, takes about an hour and half.

Haldi/Pithi follow the kickoff ceremony, after which, the engaged couple now becomes Bride and Groom.

Wedding Rehearsal:

Although very common in western weddings, a Hindu Wedding Rehearsal is unheard of! Actually, it is most needed in the Hindu weddings! There are many unique steps in the ceremony that require logistics coordination between many members of both the families and supporting players. The overall success of the actual marriage ceremony is tremendously improved with a rehearsal.

It really helps if all participants are present to understand the meaning and the logistics of the various steps. Preferred place and time of the rehearsal should be same as actual wedding, except a day earlier. Required participants are bride, groom, their parents, their brothers and sisters, Pundit's assistant, music coordinator and representative from the venue.

I work with the bride, groom and the parents on both sides to prepare the general outline of the marriage ceremony. The final program should be done at least two weeks before the wedding day. All participants should be familiar with all the steps (see typical program under marriage ceremony) and should bring the copy of the program at the rehearsal.

Generally, I conduct the ceremony mostly in English with appropriate Sanskrit verses as necessary. It brings authenticity to the ceremony if the bride, groom and parents are willing to repeat these verses. These will be rehearsed here as well.

Typically, the Groom's parents host a post rehearsal dinner party.

Marriage Ceremony

In describing the marriage ceremony, I am assuming that the Bride's parents are the hosts, although the program can be modified if it is otherwise.

Hindu marriage ceremony is essentially a story of the groom coming to bride's village to get married and taking her away to his household. The story takes them through greetings, praying to God, remembering forefathers, seeking permission to get married, exchanging marriage expectations, committing to each other and the families and friends, seeking blessings and departing to the groom's house with funfair. The ceremony is full of rituals and symbolism to unite not only the bride and the groom but families on both sides as well. I do get the invited guests involved in the ceremony, as they are witnesses to the ceremony and secondly, for the couple, it is a not only personal but a social commitment as well. I do explain the overall meaning of all the steps during the ceremony

Following are the key Vedic marriage steps. Some families add a few more steps that may be unique to their families or region. In a mixed Indian /American weddings, some Christian steps can be included to complement the Hindu ceremony.

Madhuperk – Welcoming the Groom
The bride's parents greet The Groom and his family with welcome Aarati, sweets and a coconut, at the entrance of the wedding hall, as a symbol of happiness and good tidings to come.

Vadhu Aagman – Arrival of the bride
The bride is escorted the Mandap by her maternal uncles. An Antarpat separates the bride and the groom as a symbol of their separate existence prior to the marriage ceremony and it is removed after prayers to the Supreme. They mutually approve of each other by garlanding and the formal marriage ceremony begins.

Shri Ganesh Pooja – Invocation to Shri Ganesh
We offer prayers to Shri Ganesha to bless this occasion and make the ceremony free of obstacles. The bride and the groom declare their intentions to enter the Grahasthashrama as a married couple and solicit the blessings from elders and forefathers. The priest explains the fundamental tenets of the Hindu marriage to the couple.

Kannyadaanam – Giving away the bride
The offer of their daughter to the groom is the greatest of all gifts the parents make in their lifetime. The bride's father requests the Groom to accept his daughter as an equal partner in his life. The bride's mother pours holy water bride's father's palms, then to the groom's and then to the bride's palms before returning to the ground, symbolizing the generational life cycle. The bride and the Groom commit to each to pursue Dharma (moral duty), Artha (wealth), Kama (worldly pleasures) and Moksha (Self-liberation).

Akshatropanam – Expressing expectations from married life
The groom and the bride communicate their expectations of married life and express their consent by showering rice on each other.

Mangalsutrabandhanam & Panigrahanam (Hasta Melap) – Formal acceptance of each other
The groom places the Mangalsutra, an auspicious necklace, around the bride’s neck, as a symbol of good luck, love and friendship. They exchange wedding rings as they accept each other into their lives as husband and wife. They join their right hands to start the journey of their married life with a promise to stay together for the rest of their lives.

Vivah Homa – Committing to each other before the Sacred Fire
The bride and the groom repeat the sacred pledge of marriage before Agni, a holy fire that symbolizes light, knowledge and power. Holy fire acts as a witness to the ceremony and conveys the sanctity of married life.

Laja Homa and Agni Pradakshina (Mangal Fera) – Tying the Marriage Knot & starting the marriage journey
The couple is now joined together in a marriage knot as a symbol of their permanent bonding. They circle the sacred fire four times, starting their transition into Grahasthashrama, supported by the family members. The groom poetically describes the complimentary nature of a successful marriage and asks the bride to be as strong as the stone she ascends throughout their married life

Saptapadi – Defining the marriage aspirations together with Seven Steps
The couple takes seven steps together, symbolizing the most important aspirations of their married life together:
We will provide for and nourish each other.
We will develop mental, physical, and spiritual strength
We will prosper and share our worldly goods.
We will acquire knowledge, peace, pleasure and happiness.
We will raise strong and virtuous children.
We will enjoy all the seasons, hot and cold, rainy or full of sunshine.
We will always remain friends and cherish each other!

Mangalashtakam – Marriage Hymns
Auspicious and benedictory verses are recited to unite the couple. Family and friends to seal their marriage sprinkle flowers on the couple. They now exchange the garlands as the newly married couple, one soul, residing in two bodies.

Ashirvad – Blessings
We offer our blessings upon married couple for a long and happy life. They bow to the friends and family and ask blessings from the elders.
The Pandit formally declares the couple Mr and Mrs and the couple leaves for the reception, followed by the invited guests.

Post Marriage Events

Formal reception, speeches, dinner and dance follow the marriage ceremony. The Vedic Shastra as well as our traditions add few more events like Bidhai (formal send off to the newly married daughter) Saptarishi and Dhruva Prarthana (prayers to the seven sages and Dhruva) and formal Gruh Pravesha (newly married couple enters the home). These events are normally done by both the families.

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