Splashes of mandarin against the deepest of fuchsias.
Punchy sunshine yellows and royal gold.
Take this bold colour palette and lace it with fiery middle eastern spices.
Then combine it with a vibrant ancient history living through traditions of family, music and lavish celebration. Indian wedding traditions vary depending on what region families are from and what religion they follow, though wherever their roots lie, a traditional wedding is a spectacular feast for all the senses and centred on the union of spirit and body.
The Indian Bride
An Indian bride is a divine picture of Middle Eastern royalty; draped in the colours of her homeland, her hands and feet beautified with Mehndi ink, her head and wrists heavily embellished in golden adornments. Each of these items comes with a purpose and a story. You will come across many reasons as to why Indian brides wear the customary nose ring on their wedding day. Some say that it is a symbol of marriage to have the left nostril pierced. It is commonly believed that piercing this side of the nostril enhances fertility in accordance with ancient Ayurvedic medicinal practice. They have also been deemed a mark of social standing and an honour to the Hindu religion. Brides are often seen to be wearing Bindi on their foreheads, to symbolise their newly married status and to embrace the future-seeing powers of the third eye.
The lead up to an Indian wedding is characterised by various religious events. If you've been lucky enough to be a part of the 3-day long celebrations, you may have witnessed the Hindu tradition of Pithi. Family members gather at separate houses for the bride and groom. The couple are then “painted” with a yellow paste made from mixing turmeric, chickpea flour and other spices. This paste is known as Pithi and is said to cleanse the couple in preparation for their wedding. The combination of ingredients leaves the skin with a radiant glow when washed away. At the house of the bride this is a festive musical affair, with Indian women singing pre-wedding songs during the painting.
The wedding ceremony itself is dictated by countless beautiful rites, all depending on the families' religions and origins from within India. One that seems constant throughout most is the sacred fire ritual. During the wedding, the groom ties his traditional neck scarf to the Sari of the bride, signifying their union. They then walk around a sacred fire together, first led by the groom, then the bride. These laps around the fire symbolise vows they will uphold during their marriage and goals they will achieve. In Hindu ceremonies, these four vows are duty, wealth, pleasure and liberation.
After the formalities, be prepared to tear up the dance floor with some Bhangra moves! You can be sure you'll dance off that sumptuous Indian feast, this dance is a serious (and seriously fun!) cardio workout! Think big arm movements with side to side high knees and bouncing squats. If you've managed to master the art of shuffling, you might just keep up with the beginners! Even the shyest of wall flowers will feel seduced by the infectious Bollywood beat and shouts of “Balle, Balle!!”