Big splashy American weddings have nothing on the Indian wedding traditions, where the wedding ritual lasts for several days. The Indian wedding decorations are spectacular, and include silks, carpets, candles, and flowers …
Traditional Indian weddings take place over the course of several days, with numerous elaborate ceremonies filled with symbolism. Beautiful Indian wedding decorations are part of each stage and ceremony of an Indian wedding.
The three natural divisions of the traditional Indian wedding process include the pre wedding functions, the wedding day functions, and the post wedding functions. Over a period of several days, the entire families of the bride and groom celebrate, and numerous changes of clothing are involved. The bride and groom are treated like royalty during the wedding period, and the surroundings and venues are decorated accordingly.
The main wedding day ceremony is very much like a fairy tale. The groom traditionally rides in on a white horse that is gloriously decorated with rich cloths in the traditional Indian wedding colors of red and gold. When horses are not practical, the groom will travel in a decorated car along with his family and friends.
Though the bride is dressed in a traditional pink or red sari, both she and the sari are “decorated” – the sari with elaborate zari and embroidery work, and the bride with beautiful jewelry given to her by her family and friends.
The wedding functions traditionally take place in a mandap, or four-pillared wedding canopy under which the bride and groom are seated and take their wedding vows. The four pillars represent the four Vedas (Hindu canonical texts) and the four goals of a fulfilled Hindu life: Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. The day before the wedding, the mandap is blessed. This structure is beautifully decorated with silks, elaborate trellis work over the top of the mandap, and a rich display of flowers.
Flowers of many kinds like jasmine, roses, and lilies are used extensively in Indian wedding decorations. The celebrations may take place under decorative tents called shamianas, which are also beautifully draped and filled with flowers. Inside the shamiana are elaborate carpets mostly in gold and red. The shamianas are lit with lanterns and sometimes candles. Exotic incense is a part of the atmosphere as well.
Every phase of an Indian wedding has sacred meaning, and is made memorable and special by special Indian wedding decorations. Table settings with gorgeous candle and flower arrangements, draping along the sides of the mandap or shamiana, and beautiful jewelry for the bride are just some of the ways that Indian weddings set themselves apart as the sacred and significant events that they are. Even the gifts, in the form of beautiful sweets, fruit, and clothing contribute to the unforgettable, fairy tale-like surroundings of a traditional Indian wedding.
So beautiful are certain Indian wedding decorations that they are beginning to be borrowed by couples from other cultures and religions to express the sacred significance of the rite.