Moments from a traditional Indian wedding

Even though I had no idea where I was going, I felt lucky enough to be invited to a traditional Indian wedding.

I repeatedly asked the locals I was with, but none of them seemed very sure about it, so I just gave up and accepted the fact that in the Garhwali region of Uttarakhand, India, there still are places you cannot find on the map.

traditional indian wedding

On the way to a traditional Indian wedding, enjoying a traditional sunset in the Garhwali region of Uttarakhand, northern India

What I do know, however, is that to reach this godforsaken village took us hours from Manila, which, given the roads we had to pass by, doesn’t necessarily mean it was that far.

Most of the route towards the traditional Indian wedding was completely covered with huge stones, and we definitely struggled to make our way out of them and reach the longed spot.

Now, calling it “village” might look inappropriate to many people’s mind, let’s say that it was a small conglomerate of houses with seldom natives hanging around and with an ever-present temple. More than one temple actually, but it’s India after all, and temples are one of the main factors of Indian charm and peculiarity.

traditional indian wedding

The actual sunset, at this point, in the middle of nowhere, we stopped the car, so that all EIGHT of us could enjoy the few moments of a beautiful natural light

So, after all the necessary trouble, we finally reached the first temple of the wedding, where the friends and family of the groom (mostly men) were gathering in the wait to leave towards the house where the actual marriage was going to take place. We stationed there for less than half an hour and then we made our way to the final destination, where friends and family of the bride were waiting.

I was told that that was the main of the five days of celebration, and the day after would have been the last one, when the couple could finally get to their place and rest. The night I was there was when the priest celebrated the marriage, and probably one of the first times bride and groom actually met, as this was very likely an arranged marriage, like most, if not all, marriages in the Uttarakhand.

traditional indian wedding

Apparently, we were not alone. Here are two buses on their way to the same wedding

A traditional Indian wedding in Uttarakhand

Due to the striking difference with the weddings I’m used to and the rare possibility to attend a so traditional ceremony in such an unknown place, made me spent most of the time taking pictures. In the beginning, I was worried to be invading the couple’s privacy and on the way to the wedding I kept asking my friend if it was fine for me to take photos, but my doubts were swept away as soon as we arrived, as children immediately asked me to be captured by my camera.

So here it is, a traditional Indian wedding, how it’s celebrated in the Garhwali region of Uttarakhand.

Seen through my eyes, lens and through what I managed to understand from locals’ seldom explanations and the ones of the bride’s cousin since nobody else could speak English.

traditional indian wedding

A moment of the traditional Indian wedding when the groom, with the golden head-cover, received the blessing from the priest and the bride’s father

traditional indian wedding

Women praying during the ceremony of the traditional Indian wedding

traditional indian wedding

The priest performing the ritual of the traditional Indian wedding once at the house, still only with the groom before the bride showed up

traditional indian wedding

Young girls enjoying the celebrations

traditional indian wedding

Myself with some of the women attending the wedding

traditional indian wedding

The boys at the wedding, who very much enjoyed both the celebrations and my camera

traditional indian wedding

Finally I met the bride, who was in a small room with family and friends, waiting for the groom to arrive

traditional indian wedding

During a traditional Indian wedding, after the groom arrives and the bride shows up in public, among flashes, handclapping and countless “oohh”

traditional indian wedding

I believe a member of the bride’s family, the Indian version of the bridesmaid

traditional indian wedding

The bride, posing for the cameras

traditional indian wedding

The couple getting married

traditional indian wedding

Part of a traditional Indian wedding is when husband and wife try to grab each other with a flowerchain in front of their guests

traditional indian wedding

The wife didn’t quite manage to grab her husband and the necklace is hanging from the head-cover…

traditional indian wedding

Showing some affection in front of the cameras, probably the first and last time they would do it in public, as it’s not socially appreciated

traditional indian wedding

The newly-wed couple posing for the cameras

traditional indian wedding

Around 1am I went to bed and this was the view when I woke up

traditional indian wedding

As best as I could at 6am, here I am with my lovely host

traditional indian wedding

Here is where I washed my face before going up and have breakfast

traditional indian wedding

And here is our breakfast, delicious but a punch in the stomach at 6 in the morning, especially for who is used to yogurt and fruits

I was struck by the spontaneous hospitality of the people in this village, I couldn’t stand up one minute that immediately a chair was brought behind me, I couldn’t stay one minute with empty hands that tea, sweets and any sort of food was offered to me, to the extent that dinner time, I was already full.

I wish the couple a very happy married life, and I would love to see them again in a couple of years, to show them my pictures and maybe this post.

  1. Wow! Looks like you had a great time — and those colours are spectacular… :)

  2. Fantastic Post. Congratulations on getting such a great invitation and being alert enough to take all those pictures. I tend to forget I even have a camera when I’m in such an exciting and interesting situation.

    • Thanks Vera, I admit it was not easy to take photos as the wedding took place in a small house and it was absolutely packed, to be honest more than once I gave my camera to my friend who managed to get around better than me!

  3. Weddings are normally magical, whichever part of the world you are in.

  4. Very interesting. We’d love for you to share some of these pictures on our Offbeat Travel community on Facebook :)

  5. Quelle histoire! Mais vraiment tu n’as pas su le nom du village? Cela ajoute du charme à l’aventure. Les photos sont vraiment splendides. Que dire? Compliments et continue comme ça!!

  6. Mi piace! Brava, hai saputo descrivere questo ” wedding ” indiano in modo pittoresco! Sarò noioso, ma veramente ancora complimenti per le fotografie!

  7. Love the great photographs which bring the ceremony to life. Wonderful way to learn how a wedding is so much different over there.

  8. Wow…lucky you. Amazing perspectives. Loved it completely. And yes weddings are extravagant in India. And let me tell you as an Indian we love that. Thanks for sharing :-) Keep traveling

    • Oh yeah, the Indians there were so excited, seems like May is the wedding month, they wandered from a wedding to another and they couldn’t wait for the next celebration!

  9. How fortunate to be able to attend this traditional wedding and be free to take such great photos. Everything about this post is interesting — it’s so different from any wedding I’ve ever attended. Beautiful photos. Nice to see a couple of pics of you, too!

    • True, I was lucky and very grateful they invited me, it’s not really an every-day experience, especially in such unknown places where they don’t even know what a tourist is.

  10. Wonderful photos. Such a terrific experience. Congrats to the happy couple.

  11. J’ai lu les autres commentaires, et je suis absolument d’accord , c’est vraiment une expérience unique, et quelle chance tu as eue de pouvoir narrer et photographier à ton gré et librement!!!

  12. Wow — what an experience. It doesn’t seem real. Those colors are so, so beautiful.

  13. What a beautiful experience, and your photos are wonderful!!

  14. Wow, great photo essay, very elaborate. That nose ring that goes into the headdress is way cool!

  15. WOW! That first picture you have of the bride? Absolutely stunning. I love posts like this – they’re like little windows into a world I’ve never experienced before. It looks like a great time.

  16. I watch images and read few lines. Thank to you. I have to say honestly I smile. When you coming to India again?

  17. This is a real treat getting to see your photo essay here. One thing I did not get to experience during my time in India was a wedding.

  18. We’ve always wanted to attend a real Indian wedding in India! It looks like a lot of fun and has such beautiful colors! The next time we get a chance to attend a wedding in India, we’re definitely not passing it up!

    • Beautiful colors and the more traditional is the wedding the more interesting for guests, try to attend one, they are amazing, and Indians love guests, they have a sense of hospitality many places have forgotten!

  19. Wow, you captured colors, faces, details…this must have been a very interesting experience (but too bad it was so tiring– I guess some of the best traveling experiences make us exhausted!).

  20. nice clicks Angela…..glad to see u in the marriage of uttrakhand…actually it is totally unexpected…. I am from Uttrakhand…I hope u enjoyed & had a great time there….??

  21. I would love to go to India. Great photos!

  22. Hi Angela, nice images and nice post by you. specially your photography . i like it.

  23. Wow!!Such a wonderful trip and amazing hospitality!Bellissime foto !

  24. Hi Angela.. I just seen all these pictures, I am really surprised to see all these pics are from my village. And that was my cousine’s marriage. .. I m really feeling proud to red your comments and reviews. And it would be our honour to serve you better to better hospitality again.

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