A traditional Indian wedding is an extravagant affair that lasts for about three to four days. As India is home to many subcultures, each wedding is distinct, yet fascinating. Typical traditional Indian weddings commence with an engagement, followed by Mehndi ceremony, haldi, ganesh pooja and then the actual wedding. These weddings are grand, replete with colour, high energy, quirky and interesting traditions and rituals.
Think of dazzling and colourfully bedecked throngs of people dancing to the tunes of drums and trumpets played with utter enthusiasm by the band, and alongside there is a shower of ‘real’ currency notes. Now, that’s a huge spectacle!
For those who are about to attend a traditional Indian wedding, here are a few tips on how to survive it. Don’t forget to keep your selfie stick handy, as the grand ambience around you will provide a good number of selfie backdrops.
Food is one of the reasons you have turned up for the wedding, anyway, but ‘Go Easy’ on the Grand Feast! Traditional Indian weddings are incomplete without a lavish spread of food. Yes, there’s so much variety and deliciousness pouring from the food stalls that your saliva glands get activated. Drooling already? In order to survive this grand feast, try everything, but in limited quantity.
Dash to the food counter as soon as the lunch/dinner is announced because the lines are long here; it seems like you have been waiting forever. So, fill your plates to capacity as coming back to re-fill would mean standing in queue.
With a guest list of nearly 300-500 people, you have to meet and greet dozens after dozens, keeping the broad smile intact that will definitely freeze up your facial muscles.
Every traditional Indian wedding has a squad of aunties (probably, over 40) who might not know you, but will stop and pester you with embarrassing questions about your personal life and will have you spilling your guts before you realise it. Best pretend that you or the aunty herself is being called by someone or politely excuse yourself saying that you have an urgent call to make.
If you’re in your 20s and attending a traditional Indian wedding, rest assured you will have at least five marriage proposals with a detailed biographical history of the potential grooms or brides in your hand by the end of the wedding. Traditional Indian weddings have not one, two, but a multiple posse of matchmakers with a hawk’s eye on every ‘single’ boy or girl. Best, say your relationship status is “Complicated”!
Every second person in the wedding will bug you with all sorts of questions and advice, like: Did you like the food? What are you doing these days? When will you get married, you’re next in line, etc. The short and sweet answer to all this is either ‘YES’ or ‘NO’; it will save you from an hour long of talk or gyaan session.
There will be relatives you never knew even existed. And, all of a sudden when you cut across them you are asked one prominent question i.e. Are you on Facebook? Soon you’ll get notified on your phone about a friend request.
Sounds a bit cliché, but every traditional Indian wedding has this “Do you remember me?” moment. You will surely bump into someone who would say “Last time I saw you, you were small, and look now, you have all grown up into a handsome/beautiful man/woman”. Now, how to respond to that? Simply, smile and nod your head!
Yes, Indian weddings are all about dressing up to kill. You’ve got to look your best and different in every event; this whole act of glamming up with different looks will make you excited to attend the wedding: Tip: Try each outfit in advance. Follow the in-vogue attire and trendy hairstyle! And, beware of moral policing! Plus, Mehndi (a temporary henna tattoo) is a traditional Indian wedding essential that involves beautiful art work by experts on your hand and legs – just go for it!
In the midst of ultimate excitement, chaos and confusion you’ve got to keep your peace intact. Take deep breaths and be a part of the celebrations as it can be the thrill equivalent of a rollercoaster ride.
Keeping yourself hydrated is essential as you engage in a marathon of events which completely drain you. You don’t want a situation where you are found unconscious and unpopular.
Once the dancefloor opens, the atmosphere is like a carnival. Every aunty, uncle and kid in tow, too, hits the dancefloor, like there’s no tomorrow. And that’s how it should be as it is a celebration, not a conference. You will feel like you are watching the popular American show “So You Think You Can Dance”. Just be a sport and participate in the dancing irrespective of knowing it or not. A little hip and leg movement back and forth, raise your hands in the air, or just roll down on the dancefloor and move every body part all at once (that’s snake dance for you).
No matter which corner of the wedding hall you’re enjoying your food, the videographer/camera guy (or maybe ‘Official Stalker’) will shift his camera focus and zoom in on you right when you are gorging on the plate of the delicious wedding feast. If you can’t figure out whether to eat or pose with a smile, just act normal!
It’s time for ‘Vidaai’ (Dulhan ki Vidaai ka Waqt Ho Gya; it’s time for bride’s departure) and sobbing is a part of tradition. While tear ducts of everyone around you start welling up (sobbing is contagious) and before this phenomenon strikes you, it’s best to find a corner far away and keep your tear glands dry.