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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you attend a traditional Indian wedding, you can expect to see beautiful and elaborate ceremonies full of singing, dancing, and rituals.
These weddings are incredibly vibrant and festive, and they offer a unique glimpse into Indian culture. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to one, make sure to take in all the amazing sights and sounds! You won’t regret it.
What should I wear to an Indian wedding?
When attending an Indian wedding as a guest, you should wear clothes that are appropriate for the occasion and respectful of the culture. I personally attended with my shirt and jeans.
Indian weddings are usually very colorful, so you can definitely dress to stand out! However, avoid wearing anything that is too revealing or unsuitable for a religious ceremony.
As far as colors go, white is considered auspicious and is often worn by guests. However, if you want to add a little more color to your outfit, pastels are always popular choices.
You can also go for jewel tones like emerald or ruby. If you’re looking for something traditional, consider wearing a sari or lengha. These garments are beautiful and festive, and will make you feel local.
How long is an Indian wedding?
The length of an Indian wedding varies depending on the caste, religion, and region of India. However, most weddings last for days, sometimes weeks.
The pre-wedding ceremonies usually begin a few days before the wedding day and can last for a few hours each. The main wedding ceremony usually lasts for a few hours, followed by lunch or dinner.
Then the post-wedding ceremonies take place, which can last until the wee hours of the morning. Overall, an Indian wedding can easily last 3-5 days among the both families!
How Much Does Indian wedding cost in India?
India is a land of contrast, and that is reflected in the wide range of wedding costs you will find across the country. A traditional Hindu wedding can cost upwards of $100,000, while a more modest affair may be as little as $5,000.
Costs can also be broken down into pre-wedding expenses and post-wedding expenses. Pre-wedding costs typically include things like booking the venue, hiring a photographer/videographer, ordering invitations, etc. Post-wedding costs usually consist of paying for the food and drinks at the reception, as well as any decor or entertainment.
Of course, there are many factors that will affect the cost of your Indian wedding, including the number of guests you invite, the location of the event, and the time of year you choose to tie the knot. But no matter what your budget is, there are ways to make your Indian wedding an unforgettable event.
Generally speaking the cost of an India wedding way less than a wedding in Europe or North America and obviously directly connected to the average income.
Who pays for the wedding in India?
It depends on the religion and caste. In Hindu weddings, for example, the bride’s family pays for most of it, although the groom’s family may also contribute.
In Muslim weddings, the groom’s family pays for everything. Christian weddings are typically more expensive, and both families often share the cost.
That said, in recent years, no matter the religion, more and more grooms are pitching in to help pay for the wedding. And with the rise of dual-income couples, it’s becoming more common for both families to contribute financially to the wedding.
How is a wedding celebrated in India?
A wedding in India is typically a very lavish affair, with all the bells and whistles you could imagine. There are lots of different rituals and traditions that are followed, depending on which part of the country you’re in.
The bride and groom are usually dressed to the nines in beautiful traditional attire, and the wedding itself is usually held at a grand venue with hundreds or even thousands of guests in attendance.
The first step is usually the engagement ceremony, where the couple exchange rings and make promises to each other. This is followed by the mehndi ceremony, where the bride gets her hands and feet decorated with henna.
The festivities start with the baraat, which is a procession of the groom and his family and friends dancing their way to the wedding venue.
This is often accompanied by music and drumming, and often gets fairly rowdy as everyone enjoys themselves. Once the groom arrives at the venue, he then has to enter through a gate where he is welcomed by the excited bride’s family.
What is the marriage age in India?
Marriage age in India is 18 for girls and 21 for boys, though there is a significant amount of child marriage happening in the country.
According to the 2011 census, over 25% of all marriages in India were child marriages. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act outlaws child marriage, but the law is not well enforced.
49 thoughts on “Moments from a traditional Indian wedding”
Wow! Looks like you had a great time — and those colours are spectacular… :)
True, very bright colors, I had a very nice time, but at the end I was exhausted, especially due to the long drive to get there.
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!
Weddings are normally magical, whichever part of the world you are in.
True, thanks for commenting!
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!!
Merci mamine :D
Mi piace! Brava, hai saputo descrivere questo ” wedding ” indiano in modo pittoresco! Sarò noioso, ma veramente ancora complimenti per le fotografie!
Very interesting. We’d love for you to share some of these pictures on our Offbeat Travel community on Facebook :)
Thanks, I’ll stop by your community :)
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!!!
Oui, c’était gentil de m’avoir invitée.
Love the great photographs which bring the ceremony to life. Wonderful way to learn how a wedding is so much different over there.
The wedding and the daily life there, as the morning after around 6am I saw how the day starts in those Indian mountains!
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!
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.
Wonderful photos. Such a terrific experience. Congrats to the happy couple.
Beautiful experience for me, I’m happy I’ve been invited.
Wow — what an experience. It doesn’t seem real. Those colors are so, so beautiful.
Being India, it couldn’t have been with dull colors, could it?? ;)
What a beautiful experience, and your photos are wonderful!!
Thanks, I enjoyed the night, it was very tiring, but I’m aware it’s not really something you do every day, so I was really grateful they invited me.
Wow, great photo essay, very elaborate. That nose ring that goes into the headdress is way cool!
Thanks Mark, when I saw the nose ring my first thought was that it must be heavy! Picturesque nevertheless :)
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.
Thanks Amanda, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was an offbeat experience indeed, and the bride coming down absolutely wonderful!
I watch images and read few lines. Thank to you. I have to say honestly I smile. When you coming to India again?
I don’t know yet, but hopefully soon!
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.
I ended up at this wedding thanks to a friend of mine I was traveling with, he’s native from that area and was invited there, so I went along, very nice people :)
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!
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!).
It’s been exhausting indeed, but unforgettable, I wish I could go to India now and stay in one of those little villages at the very border with modernity :)
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….??
Hi Sunder, thanks for your comment, I’m glad you like the pictures. I absolutely had a wondeful time in Uttarakhand, such a fascinating state. I hope I can go back soon!
I would love to go to India. Great photos!
Thanks! India is an absolute must, you’ll have the most conflicting experiences there!
Hi Angela, nice images and nice post by you. specially your photography . i like it.
Thanks a lot Manish, hope you are well :)
Thanks :) Beautiful experience :)
Wow!!Such a wonderful trip and amazing hospitality!Bellissime foto !
It’s been truly a honor to be invited there, lovely people and interesting rituals :)
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.