Wedding planners are more than just event planners. We're designers, problem-solvers, coordinators, budgeteers, part-time therapists, and friends to the couples and families who are entrusting us to help them with their events. Since we're on friendly terms now, here are some tips and tricks to the trade of navigating wedding planning!
A traditional Indian wedding may seem complex and a bit overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the customs and timeline. However, it’s all focused on love and the tying together of two families. Many Indian rituals and customs have been adapted to incorporate western traditions, but following tradition is an important aspect to having a meaningful and symbolic Indian wedding.
Please note this article is not conclusive. Customs may change according to family traditions, beliefs, and religion.
A lehenga or a saree are both traditional Indian attire worn for wedding celebrations. In western wedding ceremonies, brides unusaly wear white, but in Indian, white is a symbol of mourning, so they generally opt for wearing bright colors. The colorful saree generally reflects their region of origin. Shades of red are commonly chosen colors because they represent happiness and good luck for the married couple. Although, some brides that are more modern and want to stand out may choose other colors like blue, pink, tangerine, green, or coral. These colorful lehengas are embroidered with intricate gold designs made from 24 karat gold thread and adorned with crystals. Usually the bride is draped with an extravagant head scarf and a large amount of jewelry, but a more modern bride may choose to forego the traditional headscarf.
Traditionally, the bride will wear a different saree for the reception. After the ceremony, she’ll usually change into another lehenga. If the bride wore the traditional red lehenga for the ceremony, she may choose a different color for her reception like pinks, golds, blues, oranges, and purples. Some Indian-American brides choose to wear a westernized wedding dress for their reception to incorporate both cultures into her wedding day. I do love to celebrate mutliple cultures!
Henna, or mehndi, is a very important custom in Indian culture for a bride’s wedding day. It's applied the day before (or sometimes a few days before) the wedding ceremony and is a detailed and elaborate pattern of swirls and designs that symbolize joy, beauty, and spiritual awakening. Typically applied to the feet and hands, henna is an ink that dries and peels off to leave a brown stain on the skin. It is said that the darker the stain, the stronger the bond will be between the bride and her groom, as well as the bride and her mother-in-law. There is also a custom that the bride and groom’s names are written in henna somewhere on the bride and it’s the groom’s job to find them on the wedding night.
Indian brides are decorated in beautiful gold jewelry. They'll be wearing heavy necklaces, bangles, dangling earrings, head pieces, possibly finger and toe rings, nose rings called nath, belts called kamarbandh, and maybe even more! Not only does the bride look and feel gorgeous, most of the jewelry carries a special meaning. One traditional piece is an ankle bracelet, or a payal, that is meant to tinkle as the bride approaches her groom. Bangles symbolize safety, luck. fertility, and properity in their new marriage!
Attire of the Groom
The groom typically wears fitted trousers, called Churidas, and a long jacket, called a Sherwani, over them. Most commonly they are a color that compliments the bride's attire. Red, gold, and white are very traditional wedding colors. His loafers, Mojari, are typically leather and must be removed before entering the mandap. It is also traditional for him to wear a turban, or Safa. This is adorned with a beautiful brooch called a Kalgi, symbolizing respect. The groom wears this outfit through the entire wedding, but will sometimes remove the Safa during the reception.
Guest Attire for an Indian Wedding
If you’re attending a wedding, whether it is a Jewish Wedding, Irish Wedding, Western Wedding, or an Indian Wedding, you should always be respectful of their traditions. Traditions are rooted in all types of different parts of a wedding day, including the clothes. Just like you wouldn't wear white to a Western Wedding, at an Indian Wedding, you should avoid wearing the colors black and white. These colors can be seen as disrespectful since they are common colors when attending a funeral. Also, it’s polite to avoid wearing shades of red because the bride typically wears red.
An Indian wedding is a very modest and traditional ceremony. Tight-fitting or revealing dresses are less appropriate to wear. Any gowns that show your shoulders, like a strapless dress, should also be avoided unless you choose to wear a shawl. Take an opportunity to really enjoy the day and immurse yourself in the traditions! You could even wear a saree of your own!
Tara Ybarra, Co-Owner and Event Planner for Ybarra Events, has been in the Wedding Industry for over 20 years. From Photographer, to Wedding Cake Artist, to Florist, to Officiant, and now Wedding Planner, her accumilated experience, paired with her College Courses in Event Planning, have given her the experience she has today. Blogging gives her an opportunity to share that knowledge with her readers.
Ybarra Events is located in California’s spectacular Napa Valley. Ybarra Events are the pièce de résistance of wedding planners. Run by the dynamic duo of Tara and James Ybarra, they help couples organize, design, and plan their nuptials at some of the most fabulous and luxurious wedding venues in Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco, and Beyond. Chat with them today to start planning the wine-country wedding of your dreams.