Wedding Invites!

Wedding Invites! 

Weddings in India are celebrated like a festival. Even the minute things starting from the flower decoration to the chair arrangement in the hall is given high preference. Amidst all these arrangements comes the most vital part of the wedding which is invitation. Though we have turned into a digital world where nowadays invitations are easily whatsapped unlike the earlier days where the parents from the bride and groom’s side goes to each and every near and dear one’s house to personally invite them for the wedding. The wedding invitation is also designed uniquely and its design and style speak more about the status of the family. So it is patiently handpicked by both the families. Today separate invitation cards are printed by both the sides.

Earlier in South India, the card made of yellow glossy paper is considered a traditional way of printing invitations, now the same yellow paper has got its own modern variations. More of the planning is done on the invitation right from the color to the texture and designs. This is the first step towards a wedding and the guests are first going to have a look at the wedding invite so it should speak a lot for itself on how grandeur the wedding is going to be.

Those days the traditional yellow wedding invites would be given for printing in a printing press few months before the wedding, but nowadays many retailers have emerged who showcases enormous varieties of wedding cards and even designs them uniquely according to one’s taste. The work of the family is just to choose from the variety of cards and tell them the number of cards to be printed and everything else would be done by the retailer and delivered.

The most common varieties of invitations are made of marbled paper, glossy paper, matte paper, the modern parchment style paper, handmade paper, recycled paper and much more. These are just the varieties of paper from which the invitation is made; there are other key items like font, color, shape, text styles which should also be chosen by the customer. Some retailers even offer online designing of invitations where one can itself design their invitations however they want by adding all the necessary text and colors, they can also preview the final one before sending it for printing. This is one of the easiest methods.

The innovation of Invitation cards has gone to a great extent such that special cards are printed for various occasions like engagement, Mehandi and Sangeet, reception and wedding. Separate cards are printed for friends with catchy texts in an informal friendly way which adds to the innovation. The same is made in a digital format and is easily sent through whatsapp and email for friends and relatives living quite far-off.

 

Big Fat Indian Wedding

Indian Weddings!

What comes to your mind when you think of Indian weddings? Grandeur! Extravagant!Opulent! Vibrant! We can keep on saying more and more and more about our Indian weddings as they happen as a festival in our country. In real the Indian wedding has something more than just this gloss and glamour. It consists of several rituals, which is considered a very serious affair than any other weddings happening in any part of the world. Marriage in India is considered as a serious religious ritual than just a social affair as in the West. Indian wedding is a mixture of Tradition, morals, and celebrations. In India, a wedding is not just an even but is an expressive affair where 2 souls merge. Even though there are many distinctions in an Indian wedding, the one thing which bridges the gap is a lovely portrayal of love, commitment, concern, and emotion.

It all starts with the formal engagement ceremony which usually takes place 5-6 months before the wedding where the parents of the bride and groom sit together with a pundit and exchange Thambulam which means acceptance of marriage from both the sides. On this event, an auspicious day for marriage is anticipated by the pundit who reads a prepared wedding invitation on the front of god and guests.

Though this procedure may sound simple, you would be surprised to watch how today’s engagements take place in a very lavish way. Earlier those days engagements happen in a very simple way either in the groom’s or bride’s house, but nowadays it mostly takes place in a wedding hall or a 5-star hotel in a luxurious way with a grand feast at the end.

The bride and groom are dressed up in a very elegant and attractive attire and so is their family members. There is a separate set of shopping done for engagement where it is a tradition for the bride and groom’s family to gift each other clothes and jewellery.

According to Hindu traditions, the bride wears the saree which the groom’s family gifts for her engagement which is also considered one way of conveying the acceptance from the family.

Engagement ceremonies are usually uniform across many religions but slightly differ in their subtle nuances and rituals. In certain religions, it is considered as a  formal announcement of betrothal, but according to Hindus, that is when the official date of the marriage is fixed. In some cultures, it is mostly just 2-3 days prior weddings, whereas in others it is even 1 year prior to the wedding. Some Indian cultures do exchange rings, whereas some others do not.

Then they go for another set of wedding shopping where the bride’s side shop for all the jewellery and vessels which needs to be given as dowry on the day of the wedding. This mostly includes household equipment, silk sarees, jewellery and gifts which need to be given to the guests and relatives. The groom’s side doesn’t have much to do other than purchasing his wedding attire and dress for family members.

Though its just a one day event, it is considered as a celebration and people in India spend lavishly on everything starting from the mandapam to the thambulam bag which is given to guests while they leave. In some Indian tradition, they give away silver coins as a token of accepting the invite and attending the wedding to the guests.

The Mehendi function is one more pre-wedding event which is done by North Indian cultures but is now even the South Indians have started conducting it. It has become an integral part of a wedding and cannot be imagined without it. It implores the 16 adornments of the bride and is believed her beauty is incomplete without it. After the Mehendi is applied to the bride, she isn’t supposed to leave the house until the marriage so this ceremony usually takes place a day before the marriage. This is usually a private affair and takes place in the presence of family members, relatives and friends mostly. Some people celebrate it even in a much grander manner, it all depends upon the individual choice. This event is also organized by the bride’s family.

Another most prominent pre-wedding event is the Sangeet. It is when the two families unite for the celebration for their children. It is considered as a warmup before all the hectic wedding day is about to begin. The tradition is that the women of the families surround the bride and groom and sing songs with dolak and spoons used for creating sounds. The women of the households also dance, along with bride participating in the event. Sangeet is usually celebrated by the bride and groom’s family in a common venue. A Grand stage is put up where all the performances take place. Today’s sangeet happens even with choreographers with prior preparations for dance steps. The brothers and sisters from both sides perform together either a dance or skit depicting a situation about the wedding and finally the bride and groom perform for a romantic number. It  is an NRI or a wedding of big businessmen even celebrities are invited to Sangeet to perform.

Finally comes the most expected big day, the wedding day. The mandap is well decorated with beautiful flowers and the agni is set in the middle with shastriyars performing the mantras. The bride and groom are dressed in a beautiful vibrant traditional attire and are made to sit in the front of the agni kundam and recite the mantras along with the shastriyars. Kaniyadan takes place where the Bride’s father formally vow his daughter to the in-laws and the mangalsutra is tied which means the 90 percent of the marriage is over. Finally the wedded bride and groom come around the agni 7 times assuring 7 different promises and this makes them husband and wife. Lastly they get the blessings of the parents and elders from their family to lead a happy life till the end which marks the end of the wedding day.

The next final event is Reception which is also conducted as a pre-wedding or post-wedding event according to convenience. Mostly Mehendi, sangeet and the wedding day is witnessed by very close friends and family members, but for Reception each and every know friend and acquaintances are invited and are given a grand dinner as a wedding treat. Similar to Sangeet Reception also takes place with music and dance with professional singers or Djs. The couple is blessed by everyone and a fulfillment of a complete wedding is attained to parents as well as the couples themselves. This is how big and special a wedding day is celebrated in India. People on this occasion click as many photos they want by hiring professional photographers to capture every single memory on every single day. They make these pictures into an album and some photos in beautifully framed portraits and preserve them for life. Afterall what is a celebration without pictures and lifelong memories..

A peek into Tambrahm weddings

Tambrahm Wedding Rituals

A peek into one of the oldest wedding rituals in the world!  Tambrahm is nothing but a catchphrase which is commonly used nowadays for Tamil Brahmin. Though there are many colourful and diverse varieties of weddings which happen in India, the Tambrahm weddings have a special touch of emotion, culture and fun. The rudimentary element of a Tambrahm wedding is its music. You can never witness it around any part of the world without the mela thalam which actually has become a major significance for Tambrahm weddings. Some of the best classical musicians are hired who sit in one corner and semi conduct the whole event literally. The Carnatic music is eventually believed to touch the heart and soul of every Tambrahm.

Tamil Brahmin Wedding rituals are one of the oldest followed wedding rituals in the world 

The whole mandapam is filled especially with aunties and young girls who are dressed up in bright silk sarees sent or bought from Kancheevaram and of course! the malipoo or Jasmine flower which is tied to their hair completes the picture. The uncles and young guys are dressed up in a typical pattu veshti (dhoti) and a kurta or a shirt. The Brahmins are too dedicated to gold jewellery that you can find none in artificial jewellery. They are dressed in current trendy jewels from top to bottom.

While the crowd gathers, the mamas, atthais and athimbers engage in fanning themselves even though the wedding pyre is away from them. The groom is nicely dressed in pattu veshti which is also called Panchakacham in Sanskrit which is considered as traditional attire and is given a silk shawl. The bride is dressed in layers of pricey silk saree which is also tied in Brahmin style. It is called Madisaar. The main ornaments she wears are odiyanam, nethi chutty, bangles and some elaborate neck jewellery.  The wedding rituals lasts for upto 3-5 days and all of them are some beautiful vibrant and colourful customs. It consists of lots of rituals and pre-post wedding ceremonies.

The first and foremost ceremony is the Pandha kaal muhurtham, this is considered as the first wedding ritual in any tamil wedding ceremony. The elders of the family participate in this ritual. They place a long wooden stick outside the house and bring up Banana trees covered with beautiful decorations to indicate that there is a wedding happening in the house. This is also said to be one of the oldest rituals in the Tamil wedding and is being followed by everyone. The elder members of the house bless the bride and groom and seek the blessings of the almighty for a hassle-free wedding.

Vratham is when the bride and groom’s family engage themselves in a fast a day before the wedding praying for the prosperity of their children on their newly married life. A ritual is followed where a clay pot is filled with grains and any married woman from the family is supposed to water the pot and allow it sprout for the day. This is considered as a symbolic ritual as the pot is considered as both the houses, the grains as bride and groom and the sprout indicates the prosperity of the family. During this time the sing traditional folk songs and rejoice. After 2 days the pot is poured into a pond where the fishes feed on the grains.

Janavasam is a very famous ritual which is nowadays performed in most of the Hindu marriages where the bride and groom come in a car which is colourfully decorated with flowers. This ceremony is conducted just before the reception. Now the car is replaced by chariots driven by horse to make it look fancier and splendid. This ritual is mainly done to welcome the groom with an arthi. Even fireworks are also used as a part of celebrating the occasion.

Nichayadhartham is small pre-wedding get together function where the bride seeks blessings of God in the presence of a priest. During this ritual, the groom’s family gifts the beautiful bride with everything she wants like saris, jewellery, flowers etc. Some families showcase these as gifts as a collection and this is considered as a kind of welcoming the bride from groom’s house there is another ceremony for receiving the groom although he has already been welcomed the previous day as well. This is another round of welcoming that will happen on the day of the wedding. The bride’s family welcomes the groom with clothes and a variety of flamboyantly decorated plates which contain fruits, sweets and flowers. The bride’s brother is supposed to apply tilak to the groom’s forehead which is quite similar to the north Indian Tilak ceremony.

On the wedding’s morning, the bride and groom take a divine bath and get ready for the day. The tradition of Kashi Yatra is performed where the groom has to pretend as if he is leaving to Kashi to become sanyasi. But the bride’s father and brother holds and his hand and tries to convince him to not go for sanyasam and get married. After this, the groom is supposed to head to the marriage hall where the bride’s family welcomes him.

The final tradition before the Kanyadan is oonjal. In this ceremony, the bride and groom are made to sit on a wooden swing, where the women in the house sing traditional folk songs and celebrate the sacredness of marriage. The bride and groom are offered banana dipped in a mil as a part of the tradition. This is basically done to cool them down before marriage and make them comfortable.

The last and final ritual is Kanyadan. The bride and groom get into the mandap together to get married. The bride’s father washes the feet of the groom. The bride’s mother applies kajal to the to be son in law as a part of the ritual. During the wedding muhurtham, bride’s father holds her hand and is given to the groom. Then the bride is handed over a traditional 9-yard madisaar saree as a gift from the groom’s side. She is supposed to change to that saree for Kanyadan. Once she has changed to the new saree, the bride is made to sit on her father’s lap. The groom ties the mangal sutra with three knots and they are considered as wedded husband and wife.