Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ways to cut Wedding cost

Weddings are usually for splurging and Bride's are no different. We understand that this is your most important day but why spend on unnecessary items when you can save the money and use it for maybe a trip overseas or refurbishing you room according to your taste etc. If you have a vast budget then please go ahead and waste, but i have always felt that a penny saved is a penny wise. Weddings can go as extravagant as you want, the key is to keep it within a budget and save some for the future travel or hobbies. 

Bride's Trousseau

We all know that 95 percent of us are not going to wear the Wedding Lehenga ever again after marriage. Spending half of your wedding budget on a Wedding Lehenga for one night, especially if its costing half of your wedding budget is not a great move. I know you want to look like a queen on your wedding, but i doubt its a smart move in current times. My advice, you ditch the designer label, and instead research through the magazines, browse the net for the perfect dress, design and color and ask your trusted tailor or budding designer friend. 
There are easier routes too, like buying during the sale season, or purchasing through the online stores etc. 
Never do your wedding shopping in a mall. The beautiful dresses displayed in malls can be way too expensive than any other shops.
Same is for your rest of the trousseau. Buy chick designs which you can flaunt in you daily day wear. Our advice? Splurge on the lingerie!!

We all want to look our best on our wedding day. Glowing skin, blemish free is every brides dream. And no one can deny the importance of make up in this. So instead of going for a complete mismatch of colors and cosmetics, we suggest you decide the attire first and then go for makeup shopping. Many Brides are going for cosmetic surgeries before their wedding... that is a personal choice. We all agree that good exercise and healthy diet makes you healthy always.

Make a wish list. The list includes your jewellery, bridal costumes, makeup kits, etc. Prioritize your preferences according to required money and time.
Have a versatile look. Marriage is a day everybody wants to make it memorable. Have a versatile look; shop something unique, lovely and gorgeous jewellery sets. If you lack money, revamp your mother’s jewellery for the special day. Also buy few jewellery pieces you can wear in daily routine.
Try opting for interchangeable bridal jewellery. Interchangeable jewellery provides you more choices to make experiments with your look. Just use your imagination and wear a new look flawlessly.
Modify old jewellery. We, Indian girls are blessed with a rich collection of jewellery, we collect since our childhood; why not pay attention to that. You can exchange them with new jewellery sets or you can get customized them using your creativity. Think wisely!

Ah, those dainty little feet of yours need to match the attire. In fact, many brides ignore footwear till the last minute which results in over-spending, mostly in hideous golden heels which are never touched again. Buying your footwear should be considered around the same time when you are buying your bridal attire. Your wedding entails long hours, constant action and little rest. Choose comfortable sandals/shoes that won't leave your feet hurt. Indian weddings mean bling. It however does not give you freedom to buy the gaudiest of footwear.
Buy sensibly so that you can wear it in future.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Choosing your Bridal Lehenga

Bridal Lehenga is the most important attire for the Bride on her Wedding day. Its the day when she will be the cynosure of everyone's eyes. So Brides have to take an extra care choosing her Bridal Lehenga, paying attention to the fabric, figure, color and ofcourse the fitting.

Though there are several fabric and material options available in the market, you have to understand which style will complement you best. Before you finalize the designs or the designer i would suggest you consider the following - 

- Weather or Season: Summer or Winter 
- Time: Morning or Evening
- Body type: Hourglass, pear-shaped and the likes

When selecting your lehanga, it is important to try different fabrics. You can get a feel for the weight, quality, and structure of the garment. See how the fabric "moves." This will also help you to narrow your search and focus on the fabrics that you are comfortable in. 

With so many choices, how does a bride choose what is right for her?

If you have decided to have a Summer Wedding or you don’t have experience wearing a lehenga for long stretches of time, avoid wearing a fabric that will make you feel uncomfortable with rising temperature. Use some light fabrics like Chiffon or Georgette. Chiffon with its elegance and sheer quality gives quite a graceful drape. Georgette. on the other hand has a grainy sheer texture. Though it is not as soft and lustrous as chiffon, it drapes well and is easy to maintain. In a chiffon lehenga or a Georgette lehenga, you will have enough comfort to perform all the wedding rituals without breaking a sweat !

For a Winter Wedding, a Silk lehenga may be the best choice. Silk adds a touch of glamour and elegance and drapes well on any body type. If you find silk as an expensive option then you Satin. A Satin lehenga is a classy option, as it feels smooth and drapes well on brides with a slightly fuller body. 

If you have a slim figure, Organza may be a good fabric choice for you. Organza has a stiff drape and falls away from the body and therefore women built on the heavier side should avoid this fabric. Because of the way this fabric falls, organza can bring a Crispy freshness to your wedding lehenga. Plus-size women should always choose some fabric that has a smooth drape and which tends to cling to the body. The preferred fabric for women with such a built would be silk, chiffon or Georgette.

Another excellent choice of fabric for your wedding lehenga is Crepe. Crepe is another fabric which looks beautiful and drapes well into soft flares. However, it can be a bit expensive for brides with an eye on the budget. One thing you have to remember though that crepe though a luxurious fabric with a dull sheen, tends to shrink a lot. If you don't care for the budget then crepe is a good option for you. 

Another fabric that is rich and elegant is Brocade. It makes you feel like a queen and gives a classy look to the Bride. Brocade is a rich and elegant fabric, woven on a jacquard loom and is usually stiff. But with its intricate designs and lovely motifs, the lehenga will get a designer look. Brocade can be heavy fabric for Brides preferring softer, lighter fabric. We suggest you go for trials before getting  it stitched.  

 A glamorous choice for your wedding day look can be a net lehanga. You can choose some elegant fabric like chiffon, Georgette or silk as its lining for making it a really beautiful wedding outfit. Last but not least, if your skin is allergic to synthetic fabrics, try to make the lehanga with some skin friendly fabric. Go for organic silk or other such fabrics. Cotton lehenga made with fine and soft cotton with sheen can also do provided you decorate it with some special fabrics and trims like net and laces. You can even have a net lehenga with a lining of fine soft cotton. The aim should be ultimate comfort so that the bride too can enjoy her own wedding!

Choosing the color of your Lehenga

Selecting a perfect bridal lehenga is a task in itself as more than the color of the season, it depends on the style and color that suits you. Marriage is an occasion, which is forever remembered by you and people who were invited to your wedding. So you need something that will have a lasting impact not only on your guests but also on the pictures in your photo album that you will so fondly keep viewing for the rest of your life. So you need to make the right cut.

For December Weddings you can go in for a warm shade that will flatter the mood. You can consider burgundy, rust or may be onion pink for your attire. Avoid wearing blue-to-greens shades, as they will conflict with the feel of the season. You can go for contrasting colors. But remember to use colors in such a manner that the dark colors are more pronounced and at certain specific places than the light ones.

However, a bride needs to like what she is wearing. If you know your color, go for it. Don’t be hesitant to buy a lehenga of your choice just because it’s not the color of the season. In your wedding, the color on your cheeks will matter more than the color of the season or latest trends. So don’t compromise with your liking.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wedding Pledge for a healthy Marriage

The 'Saat Vachan' or Seven Vows that every couple takes as they tie the knot of togetherness in Hindu Marriages are the core of Marriage Ceremony. These vows are very significant and in Sanskrit. In the current changing times though, there seems a need to revamp the traditional promises, and add something new to them. Well if you wish, there is certainly room for those pledges to turn into personal statements of your love and commitment. Here are a few ideas from us, for your seven vows that you can take together and prepare for your marriage...

Pledge 1- Respect each others space - While we all know that matrimony is all about doing things together and spending quality time etc.. but it is extremely important that you keep some 'ME' time for yourself too. Diversity in a relationship is important. Respecting each others hobbies and space adds up to a healthy relationship and we all know that a little distance makes the heart grow fonder!!

Pledge 2- Role-reversal - In today's fast-paced life, it is hardly about “who wears the pants” anymore. Since you are equals and a team your tasks should not dictate gender bias. Just cos you are a man does'nt imply that you cannot do home chores. It is important that you swap work once a while to respect what the other is doing. Keep one day of week (sundays maybe) when your husband prepares a meal. 

Pledge 3- We know you gave your heart, now give your ears too.. in other words listen! 
We all know that listening is a rare skill, but for a healthy relationship you both need to listen to each other. You can have different opinions, motivations and strong viewpoints. It is imperative that you understand each other's ideas, and respect the individuality of the other. If you try to burden each other by what you feel is right, then your dream of smooth relationship will be over soon. So our advice is the take a pledge to listen to each other. 

Pledge 4- Don’t be secretive -  Now that you are starting a new journey, treat your partner like a buddy (your partner in crime!). You can cause a lot of misunderstanding if you try to be too mysterious about  any matter. We are not telling you to tell all about your ex's here. But any financial transactions- like loans, medical problems, career shifts, etc have to discussed like a team. It is not fair to be secretive and keep things away from your significant other. Remember, mutual trust is always a deal important. 

Pledge 5- Don't snoop around- 
Prying is bad. You really don't need to know much about his/her facebook status or the whatsapp messages/ mobile activities if you trust your better half. I reiterate here, that one needs to respect each others space and intent if you want a healthy and fruitful relationship. Constant monitoring of callers log won't get you anywhere. 
If you have any concerns about anyone then i suggest you talk it out honestly with your partner. 

Pledge 6- Partners in parenthood- Parenting is a joint effort. So, please make a solemn declaration to divide responsibilities and tasks after your baby is born.  Yes we all know that its a mothers job to nurture. But it would be great if you show equal contribution in the process of nursing and nurturing the baby. Unburdening each other with a sense of sharing will make your marriage a blissful journey, even after a few years.

Pledge 7 Judging your partner - Sure, certain activities of your partner may bother you, but to sustain a healthy relationship, you should not be critical about your partner’s actions. You are making a lifelong commitment, so you need not put them under the scanner at every stage. Do not comment on your spouse while attending a family function or meeting your parents. It will corrode your love life.

Though i have mentioned Seven Pledges, last but not the least is to understand your spouse’s social circle. It  is important step to accepting his/her background and making your future strong. Let's not forget that your spouse had other people in her/his life before you came in picture. We do not mean that you should drag your buddies into your personal space, but you should also allow your spouse the freedom to mingle with their group of friends. Promise this to each other, and see the results.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Advice for a Stress-free Wedding

Planning a Wedding can be tiresome what with the last minute shopping and the hustle bustle of the relatives and family members. Since every Bride hopes for a smooth and stressful wedding, she can very well prepare a list to avoid the petty and irritable issues that can crop up. So to avoid the stress lines to show on your Wedding day, or to avoid the bloodshot look owning to lack of rest and sleep, here are a few pointers that may help you...

Step 1 is to stay hydrated. We don't want you falling unconscious in a middle of a ceremony. Winters or summers, you need to have ample amount of juices and coconut water to stay fresh and energetic. Coconut water will help you stay toxin free. 

Step 2 Surround yourself with positive friends and family
The chores along with the wedding preparations can be quite crazy. I would suggest that you stay calm in case you are not able to shop for your color choice. Keep your mind open and stay positive. Shop with someone sensible who you trust and believe in. 

Step 3, go for lighter wedding outfits
 In our Punjabi Weddings, the heavyweight lehengas and saree's have become a fashion trend. Go for lighter wedding outfits, something which can wear with comfort. The weight, the heat and the uneasiness you feel while moving around in them can be stressful. Lighter attires on the other hand that are accessorized well, leave you feeling happy and light throughout the affair. Go for chiffon or Georgette or alternatively you can go for crepe too. 

Step 4, is to manage time effectively. 
If you strategically manage time before wedding by creating a checklist and going according to the schedule, then there will be less of last minute panic. Learn to delegate work, and work on finishing the major tasks way before the wedding day. Give yourself a month before the wedding to relax, enjoy your pre-bridal spa. Go for casual shopping with your friends and young family members to get ideas for a great trousseau. 

Step 5, Stay involved and informed of the Wedding preparations
Yes we did tell you to delegate but you have to stay involved and most importantly informed of all that is happening for your wedding. The catering, flowers, venue, color scheme for your wedding, wedding theme (if you are inclined to have one) are not going by the schedule then you should have a family meeting for alternatives. Don't crib that your favorite fish din't come out right or your flower decoration din't get an approval from your in-laws. Plan before hand to avoid stress. 

Step 6, Most importantly work on the problem areas
Do you think your panditji is overbooked on the day of your wedding and might not be able to reach your wedding on time? Or has your caterer ordered a special cake that has to be assembled at the venue? Well, things left to the last minutes can cause stress later on. So, work on the problem areas beforehand. It is best to have each member of your family assigned to a different responsibility so that you can cover all areas cleverly.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chooda and Kalire for a Punjabi Bride

Wedding is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and memorable day of a couple’s life. This auspicious event not only brings two souls together forever, but also brings them close to their family and friends who join them in the celebrations as a couple begins their new life together. The wishes and blessings of these people are very important for a couple's smooth journey into this new phase of life.
In an Indian wedding, all the rituals performed hold some cultural or religious significance.  The chooda and kalire ceremony that is usually part of a Punjabi wedding are important too.  Held for the Bride, this is usually done on the day of the wedding.  The 'chooda' is the red and white bangles with beautiful golden accessories that hang on them, are famously known as 'kalire'.

In a Punjabi wedding,'Chooda' ceremony holds a special position in the brides family. Chooda is traditionally, a set of 21 bangles in red/maroon and white/ivory gifted by the bride’s maternal uncle (Bride's mothers brother).  
The ceremony begins with a  puja or havan. Bangles are first purified with milk and rose petals. Before it is put on the bride's wrist by her maternal uncle, all the close relatives touch the chooda as a mark of their blessings. After that, the wrist is covered with a white cloth, as the bride cannot see the chooda till the time of the wedding ceremonies. 
Chooda is an important part of a Punjabi bride’s solah shringar. This is one of the most evident marks of a new bride. Not only that, it is also known to bring good luck for the newlyweds. Also, red is a very important colour for a married woman as it is believed to strengthen the bond between a couple. Fertility and prosperity are two words that can be easily associated with the chooda, which is worn for a minimum period of 40-45 days after the wedding day.
The chooda is accompanied with the bridal lehenga, which in many communities is gifted by the maternal uncle as well. Chooda ceremony is a Punjabi ritual but the same can vary in names for different cultures around the country.
The umbrella-shaped hangings tied to the chooda, signifying happiness and eternal love between the couple are kalire. The bride’s sisters and friends tie the kalire to her chooda. Kalire are usually made from gold or silver threads, red being a favorite color in all Punjabi Weddings. Sisters and Friends of Brides usually tie kalire, giving their blessings to the would be wife and reminding her to not forget them post her marriage. Also, the coconut-shape of the kalire is symbolic that she never runs out of food in the new home, while the metal symbolises wealth and prosperity.

Often there are dried beetle nuts, dry fruits and coconut encrusted on the kalire. These are available in various designs and sizes, and one can pick according to their choice. 
It is said that if the Bride touches her  kalire worn hands on the heads of all the unmarried girls present and a loose kalire falls, then she is the next one to get married. The next day after the wedding, one of the kalire is left at the temple with the priest for blessings and the rest are kept by the bride as a memory of her parent's home and a momento of the wedding day

Friday, April 18, 2014

Baraat and Baraati's

The Baraat or Wedding Procession is the highlight of all Indian weddings. The baraati's are usually the family members, friends and relatives who accompany the Groom to the Wedding venue. Baraat is all about fun, music, singing and dancing to the popular Bollywood beats. The Groom and his horse are covered in the finest with Groom's head adorned with a Turban and his face partially covered by the Sehra or the Floral Veil to add Royal touch.

The main focus of the baraat is the groom who is traditionally mounted on either a white horse or a horse-led carriage or in some cases an elephant.

In some cultures, the groom is accompanied by a younger sibling, called “sarbaala” who they say acts as his protector.Today most modern grooms prefer to travel in classic vintage cars which are decorated with flowers or ribbons.

A traditional  Baraat consists of a group of 12 or more musicians, usually a brass band, playing a number of instruments to the latest Bollywood hits. The smartly dressed brass band members are a part of the dancing and merry making. Adding to this are the Dhol beats playing for the bhangra loving baraatis.

The entourage may be accompanied by light bearers who carry portable lamps on their head. A beautiful display of fireworks contributes to the excitement and enthusiasm of the crowd. The instruments commonly played in a traditional brass band are trumpets,trombones, tubas, clarinets, cymbals, tabla, base drum and saxophones. On reaching the venue, the baraatis are welcomed with garlands, a spray of rose water and refreshments. The groom is welcomed with an aarti and led to the mandap, where his bride awaits.

Sindoor or the application of the Red Dot

The 'Sindoor' or the 'Vermillion' powder or 'Kumkum' signifies married. Its a symbol as of marriage like the engagement ring or mangalsutra for that matter. In a Traditional Hindu household, these two things are symbolic of a married women. Sindoor or the Red Dot is generally applied on the hair parting. It is said that a married women should adorn herself with Sindoor till she is married. Its an integral part of our Wedding Ceremony though nowadays many young boys and girls do not follow this tradition. 

According to Hindu mythology, it has been suggested by scholars that the red color imparts power and when sindoor is applied to the parting of the hair it symbolizes the energy of female divinity – Parvati and Sati. It is also believed that if a woman wears sindoor in her hair parting then Goddess Parvati will bless her husband with the longer life. Application of sindoor also wards off evil and invokes Goddess Parvati to safeguard their husbands. Applying sindoor is considered to be auspicious as it brings good fortune.

In earlier times, women preferred to prepare Kumkum or Sindoor at home. The sindoor is prepared using mercury, turmeric and lime. The mercury in the sindoor acts as a catalyst that eases stress and strain. It also helps in keeping the brain active and alert. So we have a scientific reason to apply sindoor as well. The Mercury not only keeps the Blood Pressure in check but also helps in controlling blood pressure, activating sexual drive and libidinal energy. 

Sindoor is not just used by the womenfolk of India. Even men, boys, girls and little children apply a dot of this powder on their forehead when they visit a temple or attend some religious function.

However, for married Indian woman, it's is almost compulsory to apply Kumkum 

Types of Indian Wedding - Parsi Weddings

Like all other Indian Weddings, Parsi Wedding Ceremony is also spread over a couple of days. The wedding celebrations are divided into three parts- Pre-Wedding rituals, wedding day rituals and post wedding rituals. 

The Pre-Wedding Rituals begin with a ceremony called Rupia Peravanu. This is like a engagement between both the families. Ladies from the groom’s household visit the bride’s home and present her with a Silver coins as a token of gift or 'shagun'. After spending some days, the groom’s family return home where they are then visited by the bride’s family. Now they give gifts to groom.

Madhavsaro is another interesting ceremony observed few days before the date of wedding. The bride and groom plant a tree in a pot individually. This pot is kept at the entrance of the houses and watered everyday till the eighth day after marriage. After this the plant is planting somewhere else. 

According to this ritual, groom visits the bride’s place and gives her gifts like clothing and jewelry. Sev, dahi, boiled eggs and bananas are kept for the groom’s family to eat.

Supra nu Murat ritual is performed a day before the wedding. Five married women applies turmeric paste to the bride and groom followed by Nahan, or the purifying bath before the wedding. 

According to the Zorastrians or Parsis the time immediately after sunset or very early in the morning is considered auspicious for marriage. The Parsi lagan is called ‘Achumichu', which takes place either at a Baug or at an Agiary (the fire temple). A stage is build up for the couple and before they step on it, the groom first, a ritual called Achumichu is performed. The bride's mother takes a tray with a raw egg, supari, rice, coconut, dates and water and begins the ceremony with her son-in-law to be. In Ara antar ceremony the couple is made to sit facing each other with a cloth held between them, so they cannot see the other. Among the other main day rituals are Chero bandhvanu and Haath borvanu. 

Chero Bandhvanu is when the couple sits beside each other and the priest circles the couple with a String. The oil lamps are lit on each side and prayers are said. The ceremony ends with bride's sister dipping the groom's hand in a glass of water, and sprinkles little milk on his shoes. The seven strands binding the couple are removed and they are pronounced married. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Choosing the Date for your Wedding

Are you planning to tie the knot with your someone special in 2014? If yes, then you have come to the right place or rather Blog! We can help you zero down on the most auspicious dates, days, time and Nakshatras for you in this year 2014. Wedding days are the most important days of your life. Therefore it is important that this day is favorable to you and your would be partner. Vivah Muhurath is usually few auspicious days when the rituals if done appease the deity and one gets blessed. The best thing about Marriage Muhurat 2014 dates is that it will not only tell you when to begin the rituals, but will also tell till when they should be performed.

Marriage Muhurat 2014 is consisted of many auspicious days and dates for marriage, so that you can select the one that suits you the best. Taking any step toward marriage is impossible without Guna Matching. The Wedding Dates or Vivah Mahuraths are usually decided based on the combined consideration of horoscope and stars of the Bride and Groom. Various factors are considered while finding auspicious dates in Hindu marriages. Akshaya Tritiya is considered as one of the most auspicious wedding dates. Holding wedding in Chaturmas period is also considered highly auspicious.

Significance of the position of Moon and Sun in choosing an auspicious date

According to Hindu Vedic astrology, the first step that is taken before fixing marriage of an eligible boy and girl is to match their zodiac signs. This helps in understanding their nature and compatibility. Each zodiac sign has a different meaning and zodiac sign has a big impact in a person’s character. This is where astrologer helps a person in matching and informing the couple about their compatibility and future married life. When the astrologer reads groom’s astrology chart he reads it in accordance with moon’s position and when he reads bride’s chart then he matches it with sun’s position. If the astrologer finds that both situations or dasha’s are suiting each other, then on the basis of that dasha he informs the couple and their family about auspicious wedding time and date.

Apart from moon and sun, phases of Nakshatra in which bride and groom were born and the letter corresponding to it are also considered while calculating the date and time of marriage.

Inauspicious Time- Birthdays can be times of trial, so they are recommended to be avoided. Even if someone is planning to get married in court then also importance and consideration should be given to date and time of marriage

According to astrology, there are certain phases or periods which are not considered auspicious to perform marriages ceremonies. These phases are: displacement of Venus and Jupiter, Solar or Lunar eclipse, Pitra Paksha, Bhishma Panchak etc.

Types of Indian Wedding - Maharashtrian Wedding

The Maharashtrian Marriage Rituals usually start in the mornings. Usually observed by the Marathis the entire wedding process be it a arranged or love marriage, starts with matching the horoscopes. Astrology plays a key role in Indian Weddings. After the family priest matches the gunas or horoscopes of Bride and Groom, the date is finalized for other ceremonies. 

The preparation of the wedding starts with Sakhar Puda. This is the first ritual of the wedding. As the marriage is finalized the bride-to-be is gifted a Red colored Wedding Sari along with a some sugar or Marathi sweets, by the groom’s family. This is usually symbolic to an informal Engagement of the couple.

After this a 'Puja' is performed at the respective houses of Bride and Groom called Kelvan Ritual. In this ceremony, both the families offer their prayers to their Kuldevta .

The Halad Chadavane or Haldi ceremony involves mango leaves that have been immersed in haldi paste. Its applied on the body of Bride and Groom. Haldi is considered auspicious and has been scientifically proved to have medicinal value. If applied in a form on paste, haldi improves complexion and reduces the affects of acne. This is followed by Ghana Bharne. Performed by Five Married Women grinding rice grains holding five sticks together.  The bride and her mother holds the sticks to give direction. Similar thing is performed by the groom’s mother at her place.

The Wedding Celebration of the Maharashtrian Wedding begins with a Ganapati Puja to seek blessings of Lord Ganesh. The Maternal Uncle walks the Bride to the Mandap where the main ceremony will take place. The Seeman Puja is conducted when the Groom arrives at the Wedding venue. The Bride's parents wash groom's feet as a sign of welcome, and shower him with gifts usually made of gold. 

At the Mandap a silk partition is created to separate the Bride and Groom. It  is said that Bride and Groom should not look at each other as it brings bad luck. Now the priest recites Mantras, and the antarpat (silk veil) dividing the Bride and Groom is removed for the couple to see each other. The guests shower the couple with akshata or unbroken rice grains as the couple exchange garlands. This is meant to bring luck to the newly weds. 
The Kanyadan ceremony is done by the Bride's parents. Her hand is given to the Groom formally and holy water is poured as the Priest chants vedic mantras. The Groom ties the Mangalsutra around the Bride's neck and finalizing the final act of marriage ceremony. In the Hindu traditions, Sndoor or Vermillion and Mangalsutra are true symbols of a married women. 
The Seven Vows or Satapadhi ritual is when the couple take seven vows or seven circles around the Sacred fire. The fire deity is appeased and the couple ask blessings.
After each circle around the fire, the Bride has to touch her right foot to a heap of rice. Seven heaps of rice for seven circles around the fire.

 The girl also has to touch seven small heaps of rice with her right foot.

The Karmasampati ritual is when the Bride’s father, along with the newly married couple, prays to the lord for his blessings. To add a dash of humor to the ceremony, sometimes bride’s father or brother playfully twist groom’s ear, reminding him of his responsibility towards the bride. All this is followed by a grand lunch to mark the completion of wedding ceremonies.

The Vidai or Varat ritual marks the emotional moment when bride bids goodbye to her family members and take steps towards her husband’s house. The Newlyweds proceed to their new home and the Groom's family welcomes the new member to her house. Aarti is done and blessings give as the Bride enters  her new home. She is considered the pride of the family now, who will bring success and prosperity to the family. Her entry in the new house is considered auspicious and she is welcomed in the family with full warmth and love. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Types of Indian Weddings- Malayalee Wedding

We have heard of the Big Fat Indian Weddings everywhere. In contrast, the Malayalee weddings are short and simple.  Rich in traditions and rituals, Malayalee Weddings start with finding the right Muhurtham. Once the horoscopes of bride and groom are matched, a auspicious day/date is set for other important rituals of the wedding. This is usually done by the Family Priest or Astrologer. 

Post this there is the Engagement Ceremony, usually held at the bride's home. Though a small affair, almost all close family members/relatives are invited to bless the couple. This ceremony usually confirms the marriage. The couple exchange rings, and is followed by a lavish feast of traditional mouthwatering delicacies. Puja or visit to a temple is a must in every wedding. The  family appeals to the Family Deity to bless them. This is usually done a day prior to the Wedding date. The bride has to sit facing the East and is served a five course vegetarian meal as everyone else. Post this the bride offers prayers to the Almighty and seeks blessings from elders. Similar ceremonies are held at the Groom's residence as well. 

On the Wedding Day, before proceeding at the venue, the Bride and Groom seek blessings from all the elders present. Bride wears rich saree embossed in gold. Bride usually wears a two- piece saree known as the set saree. 

Her hair is adorned with fresh jasmine flowers and wears a lot of gold jewellery. The groom on the other hand is dressed in a simple dhoti and a plain white silk shirt. Malayalee grooms also wear a lot of gold jewellery like rings, bracelets and chains.

The groom is welcomed by the bride’s family to the beats of traditional music. The music is played as a gesture of welcoming the groom and his family. The bride’s brother welcomes the groom by washing his feet at the doorstep. The groom responds to this gesture by gifting the brother something usually made of gold. Thereafter the groom proceeds to the 'mandap' accompanied by his relatives. He sits next to his bride in the mandap who is already present there after making three rounds around the mandap.

The wedding ceremony is called Veil. This is conducted by the priest. The groom ties a Mangalsutra known as “thaali” in Malayalam round the bride’s neck during the muhurtham. The couple then exchanges garlands and this ritual is followed by Kanyadaan. 
Kanyadaan is usually done by the Bride’s father. The Father- of- the- bride places the bride’s hand over the groom’s hand symbolically suggesting that he hands over the responsibility of his daughter to the Groom. 
The couple then circles the mandap thrice and the groom then applies 'vermillion' also called 'Sindoor' on the bride’s forehead at the parting of her hair. The bride then applies sandalwood paste on the groom’s forehead and the couple seek blessing from their parents. 

The Wedding Ceremony is followed by lavish meal hosted by the Brides family. Post Wedding Rituals are usually a Reception hosted by the Grooms Family. This function is usually done to formally introduce the Bride to the extended family. 

The bride is welcomed by the maternal sister of the groom. This is usually called Grihapravesham. She welcomes her with an aarti performed using a traditional lamp which she then hands over to the bride. The bride walks into her new house holding the burning lamp in her hand. The bride and groom are then offered a mixture of sweetened milk and banana.

Visiting the bride’s home: A day after the wedding the bride and the groom along with a few of the groom’s relatives, visit the bride’s home. A lavish feast is arranged for them. The bride and the groom then pay a visit to both their close relatives to formally introduce each other.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Types of Indian Weddings

Diversity of India reflects on every dimensions of Indian context and Indian wedding is not an exception. They say, “ marriages are made in heaven” and undoubtedly it is one of the prime event of life. In India where social and cultural restrictions are so strong, wedding is perhaps the most important part of one’s life. Its a social occasion for an individual and their family.

Indian wedding is nothing short of a festival as it reflects the social and Indian heritage in every possible way. Some typical Indian weddings include the Hindu wedding, Punjabi wedding, Indian Muslim wedding, and Christian wedding. In India every part has their own type of wedding ceremony, rituals and traditions that are totally diverse and interesting. 

A typical Hindu wedding day starts with selection of auspicious day. The day/date of the wedding is usually decided by the Priest, based on the stars and moon locations. Mehendi ceremony is usually a common ceremony all over India, where the bride's palm and feel are decorated by Henna (Mehendi) Henna or Mehendi is a paste made from leaves that give a dark orange color when applied on the hand/feet of the bride. 

The Hindu wedding wedding is a long term affair, where numerous intricate customs and ceremonies are performed over a couple of day.  The best part of Indian wedding is the procession of groom where the procession or 'Baarat' headed by a display of fireworks, accompanied by the songs and dance reach the bride place for wedding. There is a lot of pomp and flair associated with Baraat. 

The tradition of Indian wedding wavers across religion, caste, ethnicity, language, region and other things. Today Indian scenario is changing where arranged marriages is usually found on the online matrimonial websites. In this developing country where everyone is busy building their careers, assisted matrimony from online websites is growing. 

In this modern society, Indian marriages almost have the same appeal and tradition. Traditional Indian weddings are generally starts with pre-wedding day ceremonies. In some parts it starts from one week ahead of wedding ceremony. Long before the actual marriage ceremony almost in all religions, rituals and customs play an important part. The ceremonies usually start with 'mangni' or engagement. In India marriage is not just between bride and groom but it also associates two families.  Its not just an event for bride and groom but its a festival that brings all cousins-relatives from far and near. 

Advice for Intercultural Couples

Every marriage takes work, compromise and commitment. But in intercultural relationships you have to work harder. To adjust and to be accepted by family, culture is a challenge. But you should remember love precedes all.

Here's some advice for people who are taking the plunge, so to say:

-- It's never boring!!! That's the good news. There's always something to learn about. It's such a flavorful way to live life.

-- There will be lots of misunderstandings. Get over it. Accept it. Communicate!

--  Immerse yourself in your spouse's culture. Learn everything. Read books. Watch movies. Listen to them as they converse. Visit their homeland at least a handful of times. Observe the customs. Soak in. Don't hesitate to ask questions. Understand the significance of the customs and rituals followed. Mostly there is a science behind it. 

To make an effort to understand their culture is to respect it. In Indian Weddings daughter-in-laws are faced some of the following questions- 
  • "Why do we touch elders feet?"
  • "What do you call an elder then, if not by their given name?"
  • "Why is there such a secrecy about boyfriend/girlfriend?"
  • "Why can't a girl talk back to the elders?"

--  Their culture's way of dating is probably completely different than yours. Plus, a couple will have their own pace of dating based on that mixture of the individuals.

-- Get used to people staring. It gets worse when you have kids!

-- Your first focus is to strengthen your relationship. Everyone else will come around.

-- If your spouse's family doesn't approve of you - be patient. You're not going anywhere. Don't let it stress you out. They probably just don't approve of the idea of you. Your spouse's family is not your problem - let your spouse handle them.

--  Don't let your cultural differences define you. Accept and admire each others differences.

There are some fights that are mostly about differences in culture, but then there are some that are about goals, jobs, priorities, families, money, sex, personalities - know the difference.

-- Have a support system. Everybody in your life should be rooting for your relationship. And find new friends who are in intercultural relationships who can really get it.

--  Fact: you're a foreigner. You will always be seen as a foreigner. Accept it and use it to your advantage. Any effort you make to understand their culture will be appreciated. So if you want to get some positive points from you new mom-in-law then dress the way she likes. Learn to appreciate the delicacies of the different culture. Ask for recipes! Food is the best way to bond with the female relatives.
But you can play the "foreigner" card in situations that are unpleasant and you want to be left out of.

The one thing to beware of is that an intercultural relationship will not work if you care too much what other people think. You have to have the courage to be in an intercultural relationship. Overlook the stares and comments. Even from your own family members. If you are committed then you are in it for life!

Only worry about you and your partner. Anybody else you cannot control. Don't waste one single fight over external influences such as your In-Laws, family, friends or strangers on the street. It's not worth it. Don't give them the satisfaction. Some people will try to break you up, create drama, and make you upset.

Only you will get satisfaction from the fact that whatever others do, can never affect your relationship.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How the Courtship Period moulds a Good Marriage Life

Indian weddings have evolved over a continuum of time. Be it with the help of an Indian Matrimonial Site, just through relatives or maybe after falling in love; the way marriages are handled and organized now has transformed. Times have changed and so has the people’s thinking. Culture has a very important role to play in Indian families. And every family has a different set of do’s and don’ts. 

Earlier, couples would get married almost as soon as the marriage was fixed. Now, Indian families believe in having giving the couple a decent time-gap between the engagement and marriage for courtship, so that they can get to know each other better. This is significant phase in the life of a couple as it will help you understand and determine a number of facets of your married life. 

Firstly, an Indian marriage is not the union of a man and a woman. It is the union of two families. So, your courtship period is a very important facet of your pre-wedded life. This is the best time to know each others’ families. Especially for a girl, it is of utmost importance. The girl mingles with the boy’s family and it will give her an idea about what kind of people there are and how they mingle. Even a boy must mingle with the girl’s side, as this will help you comprehend her background and upbringing of their spouse-to-be. 

Secondly, different families have their own style and system of living. One should be aware of what to expect in future. Certain families are forward and less religious, while few are religious and conservative. Understanding their culture and lifestyle is very essential.

Third, The courtship is the best time for a couple to get close and know each other. Spending quality time and discussing small to big problems, even arguing; gets one another close and increase their compatibility. 

Fourth, If you intend to continue studying or have predetermined goals about working, which include travelling a lot then such details should always be spoken out and clarified. If such matters are not clearly talked about during your courtship, it may lead to discontent in the future. 

Fifth, discuss aspects such as how you jointly wish to manage your social life, daily routines, work life as well as family life. If he or she thinks any different, you both should come out with a solution that makes you both happy. 

Sixth, both the partners must make an effort to mingle with each other’s friends in this period so you both get to be yourselves and he or she can understand your actual personality. 

Seventh, there are few more points that need to be discussed before marriage. Like, how many children do you and your partner want and when do you want to have children. 

Courtship is essentially a prologue of your life after marriage! Especially, if you are married to someone you got connected to over an Indian Matrimonial Site, or any other route of arranged marriages. 

Courtship is necessary while getting married. Be it a love marriage or through an Indian Matrimonial Site, one needs to know what he or she should expect after being married.