Be Our Guest: Indian Wedding Ceremonies

Did you receive an invitation to an Indian wedding, but don’t know what to expect? It’s good to keep an open mind and to ask lots of questions before arriving to a wedding you know nothing about, but we are here to help break down some of the basic Indian wedding ceremonies for you!

The very first thing that you need to realize is that India is a large country, with three main religions and different geographical regions that are each known for their distinct traditions, culture, music, and food. There will always be different traditions and concepts of “Indian weddings” in different parts of the country, but there are many parts of an Indian wedding that are relatively the same in most regions.

Indian Wedding Ceremonies

A traditional Indian wedding goes on for almost three days. As a guest, you can be invited to either all of the days, or even just some of the rituals. Here are few of the ceremonies that most Indian weddings feature:

Indian BrideGanesh Puja

On the first night of the wedding ceremonies, a priest will often perform the Ganeshpooja.This is a ceremony used to bring luck about on the day of the wedding and to bring success to the couple as they begin their life together. It usually happens at home with the soon-to-be husband and wife, as well as the bridal family and a few close relatives.

Mehndi & Sangeet Ceremony

Moving on to the next ritual is the Mehndi ceremony that usually takes place on the second day. For this ceremony, the bride and all her female friends and have intricate and beautiful henna designs drawn on the hands and feet.

The same evening, another ceremony called “Sangeet” takes place. It involves a lot of music and dance performances from the females of the family and other close relatives. It’s similar to the rehearsal dinner where guests from both families meet before the final wedding ceremony.

Baraat/Groom’s Procession

On the third day you will see the groom arriving at the wedding destination, which in most cases is bride’s house, on a well decorated white horse. While the groom sits on the horse, the friends and family members dance around him for several of hours. There is a lot of loud music during the baraat ceremony that can include DJs, Indian bagpipers, and people dancing to the beat of the Indian drum, also known as the dhol.

Indian Bride and Groom holding handsFinal Ceremony

Once the groom arrives, the bride’s family welcomes the groom and the guests. The bride is then brought to the wedding location where the couple will exchange garlands around their necks to signify their approval of each other. In this ceremony, the groom, the bride, the priest and the bride’s family sit under a canopy known as mandap.

The priest starts off the ceremony with Kanya Daan where the bride’s parents give away their daughter to the groom. Then the couples take circles around an enclosed fire chamber. This ritual is known as mangal phera. The couple then takes the seven rounds to vow to be together and take care of each other. Finally, the groom ties black necklaces around the bride’s neck and applies sindoor, a red powder, to the bride’s forehead symbolizing that she is now his wife.


Once the wedding is complete, the final reception takes place where the bride is introduced to the groom’s friends and relatives. Like a reception in the United States, the party is filled with music from all cultures: Indian, Punjabi, and even Western pop!

What Else Should You Expect at an Indian Wedding?

Lots of Guests

Another thing that you can expect at an Indian wedding is a large guest list. In Indian culture, not being invited to any family member’s marriage is taken very poorly. Therefore, lots of guests results in lots of fun, dancing, and food.

Food Choices

Since Indian weddings are very complex, most of the couples like to use wedding planner services or event management services for a better experience. If you are concerned about the food,, you can find all types of cuisines to choose from at most Indian weddings. If you are not fond of spicy foods, you can always find suitable Continental, Italian cuisines, and desserts at different food stations at most ceremonies.

Wedding Outfits

When you are attending an Indian wedding, you surely want to embrace the bold and bright Indian attire. This means you will need to change clothes and matching accessories for every event on different days. So, decide in advance and keep your outfits ready for the final days with eye-catching beautiful jewelry and clothes.

Wedding Gifts

If you’re not sure what the perfect wedding gift is, giving money or any kind of gift is allowed. Money is a great way to avoid any awkward moments, but bringing a wrapped gift is a great way to show the couple that you went to great lengths to get them something they would like.

Still Nervous About Your Invitation?

There’s no need to be overwhelmed by an Indian wedding. If you are still unsure about the food or ceremonies, you can always ask questions prior to attending. But if you’re wanting to try Indian food ahead of time, you can always visit your local Indian grocery store to find authentic Indian ingredients to create some Indian dishes at home before you accept the invite!

But there’s not really any need to fret about your invitation. Just RSVP, test out your local Indian foods, and get ready to dance the night away with your friends and loved ones!

Want to Know More About What to Bring to an Indian Ceremony or Party?

Venture over to our other blog to learn more!

  1. 4 Indian Foods Perfect for Your Next Party