The Big Fat Indian 'I Do'
The Big Fat Indian 'I Do'
‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’ is a term used all over the world to describe the one very essential and significant festivity celebrated throughout ages across India - marriage. For us Indians, marriage or getting married equates to tying together two families, two souls and two hearts; it is a vow made to matter much like ‘till death do us apart’. From the very beginning, royal marriages set the standard for what weddings in India would be like even years later – horses, elephants, chandeliers, gold, music, dance and food of the richest varieties. An Indian wedding is thus truly an affair to remember and cherish with so many people coming together to celebrate love.
A typical Indian wedding today consists of a long week of celebrations; all of which carries heavy significance. The week starts off with Shagun, or the meeting of the two families over lunch or dinner, followed by Mehendi, Sangeet and Cocktail Night, which boils down to henna, music and drinks. These affairs are preparation for the bride’s big day and bring together all of her family and friends as a single unit, creating bonds and friendships and extinguishing any distance that may have developed due to their busy lives. These events are then followed by the Ring Ceremony or the Engagement, which is another elaborate affair. For the Ring Ceremony, the bride will be decked out in the most beautiful lehengas or sarees and the venue will be lined with colorfully lit trees. Loud and joyful, Bollywood music will play as ten different cuisines are lined up hot and freshly prepared.
When the big day comes, the bride relaxes and pampers herself all morning, followed by an evening at the beauty parlor to get her hair, makeup and outfit done alongside her bridesmaids. She dresses up in a beautiful, red lehenga with gold jewellry and lots of traditional bangles that are all signs of her purity, beauty and exclusivity. The groom too, dresses up in an elaborate traditional suit and arrives to the venue on a horse followed by his family dancing to the beats of drums. Once the groom is welcomed and settled, the bride arrives and walks towards the stage under a floral umbrella carried by her brothers.
What follows next is a series of photo taking with their families followed by dinner which is again an elaborate amalgamation of various cuisines from all around the world. Towards midnight, all the guests leave and only the close group of family of the bride and the groom stay behind for the vows. The vows are spoken by an Indian priest under a floral cabana known as the Mandapa, which is made of flowers and ribbons. The bride and groom sit in front of a holy fire and carry out the vows all night as their close family sits beside them.
At the end of the night, after the vows are completed, the bride bids farewell to her family one last time and leaves with the groom; starting a new chapter in life full of love, joy and peace.
Radhika Sharma is a junior at high school in New Delhi, India. She plans on doing a double major in Communications & Marketing at college. Radhika writes a blog, The Confetti Girl alongside working on her own magazine being launched this year, The Ink Insight; and writing for magazines such as Miss Heard, On the Line Report, I AM THAT GIRL and Girl Zone.