The Ceremony

The bride’s wedding day starts with a prayer invoking Lord Ganesh, whose divine grace dispel all evils and promotes a successful and peaceful completion of the ceremony.

The bride’s mother welcomes the groom with a Garland, then applies a Tilak (red vermilion powder) on the groom Forehead. The groom then smashes a clay pot with his foot breaking it into pieces, demonstrating that he has the power to overcome all the obstacles the couple may face in their married life. The bride’s Mother and Father then escorts the groom to the Mandap.

It is at this time that the saalis (sister-in-law) will try to steal groom’s shoes. Traditionally, the groom must leave the wedding with the same pair of shoes that he enters with. If his shoes are stolen, he must offer the sisters money in order to get them back.

The bride’s Parents performs a pooja where they wash the grooms feet and he is offered a drink mixture of honey and milk/yogurt. Sunskrit scriptures states that at the time of marriage the groom is a representation of Lord Vishnu Himself. At the end of the pooja, a veil of cloth (Antarpat) is held in front of groom to prevent him from seeing the bride as she enters.

The bride is led to the Mandap. When she reaches the Mandap, there is an Antarpat (curtain) which separates her from her Groom. The Acharya begins the ceremony and the Antarpat is lowered and the couple exchanges garlands (Jai Mala). The wedding ceremony takes place in front of a sacred fire and is conducted by the pundit.

Consent from parents is obtained for the wedding to proceed. The bride is presented to the groom by her mother putting the bride’s right hand on the groom’s right hand (Hastamelap) while reciting sacred verse.

Garlands are exchanged by the groom and bride. This symbolises the spirit of complete cooperation with which, they embark upon their married life.
The elders of the house place an auspicious white cotton cord around the couple’s shoulder’s to protect them from the evil influences. This also symbolises the couple’s bond. The groom holds the brides hand and they both take vows to love cherish and protect each other throughout life.

The priest ties the wedding knot as a symbol of the permanent union between the bride and groom as husband & wife.

This is a tradition where a cord is tied around the couple’s neck to protect them from evil. These cords are traditionally tied by the elders of the bride and groom.

The Priest Sets up a small fire in a kund (cooper Bowl), inviting Agni(the fire). The couple pray to Agni which is the symbol of light, power and purity at the same time Ghee(Purified butter), rice and Jau (Barley seeds) put into the flame. These prayers have a special importance, for it is Agni who dispels the darkness and ignorance from our lives and leads us to eternal light and knowledge.

The groom and bride walk around the sacred fire four times, each time they stop to touch their toe on a stone in there path. This symbolises obstacles in life that they will overcome together. These four rounds stand for basic human goals:

DHARMA – Righteousness
ARTHA – prosperity – material possessions
KAMA – Energy and passion in life
MOKSHA – Spiritual, forward the path of god

The groom is signifying his contribution in helping the union to attain DHARMA, ARTHA. And KAMA leads the first there rounds. The is bride signifying their continual journey spiritual liberation leads the last round.

The groom and bride take seven steps together around the fire. It is said in hindu philosophy that if two people walk seven steps together then they will
Remain lifelong friends. They exchange sacred vows at the beginning of each encircling walk. At the end of each walk, the bride open her palms which is filled with puffed rice by her brother signifying wealth and prosperity. The seven steps and their promises are

Let us take the first step to provide for our household, keeping a pure diet and avoiding those things that might harm us.
Let us take the second step to develop our physical. Mental and spiritual powers.
Let us take our third step to increase our wealth by righteous and proper means.
Let us take out fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love, respect and trust.
Let us take the fifth step so that we may be blessed with strong, virtuous and heroic children.
Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.
Let us take the seventh step to be true to each other. Loyal and remain life-long companions.

The groom places Sindoor (red powder) on the brides forehead & front hair-parting and places a necklace (called Mangalsutra) round her neck, a sign of his love and respect for her. Wearing a Mangalsutra is a statement by Bride that she is a happily married lady.

The groom and bride Feed Each Other Four Times For Nourishment Of The Bone, Muscle, Skin And Soul.

In this tradition, seven married women from the bride’s side will pass by the couple at this time and whisper blessings into the bride’s right ear.

The Guajarati wedding concludes with the Aashirwaad in which the bride and groom asks for the blessings of their elders.
They are blessed with gifts and other auspicious items.

The farewell to the bride by her family and friends is a very emotional episode. The bride is leaving her parents home to build a life with the groom and his family. She leaves with tears of joy and sorrow.

Before the wedding car departs for the Hindu temple. The priest will place a coconut under the front wheel of the car and wait for it to be broken by the weight of the car. The historic significance of this is that in the old days the couple would use a horse drawn carriage and the breaking of the coconut ensured that the vehicle was roadworthy for the journey.