South Asian Wedding Traditions We Love

At Exquisite Occasions, we specialize in South Asian weddings in the Toronto and surrounding area. We’ve helped many Indian couples tie the knot – and we just love the celebration and traditions that are involved in these weddings. From the brightly coloured décor to the intricate details, South Asian weddings are beautiful celebrations of love. The meanings behind the many ceremonies are steeped in cultural history and family tradition.

Here are four South Asian wedding traditions that are our absolute favourites!

Mehndi Ceremony

The mehndi ceremony is a pre-wedding ceremony that takes place at the bride’s family’s home. This is an event attended by the ladies on both sides of the family where the bride is adorned with beautiful and intricate mehndi tattoos on her hands and feet. Mehndi is a paste made from the powdered leaf of the henna plant and is an essential element for every Indian bride. Occasionally the groom also attends and is adorned with some mehndi as well. This ceremony typically happens a day or two before the wedding day itself.

The mehndi represents the bond of matrimony and is considered a sign of good luck and shows the love and affection between the couple and their families.

It is said that the darker the mehndi, the deeper the love that the groom has for the bride. They also say it represents the love and understanding the bride’s mother-in-law will have towards her. It is no wonder every bride strives for dark beautiful mehndi. For tips on getting beautiful mehndi, read our article called Tips for Beautiful Mehndi on Your Wedding Day.

Toronto Mehndi artist

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Chooda Ceremony

This ceremony takes place the morning of the wedding day. It is a very emotional and touching ceremony for the Punjabi bride’s family and only close family members attend. The bride’s eldest uncle, or the mama (mother of the bride’s brother) will purchase twenty one red and white (cream) bangles for the bride. These bangles are dipped in milk to be purified, as well, everyone in attendance will touch and bless the bangles, offering their wishes for the bride’s future marriage. The uncle will then place the bangles onto the wrists of the bride.

The bride cannot see the bangles until she dresses for the wedding ceremony, so she will be blind folded during the process, and the bangles will be wrapped in a cloth to hide them until it is time for her to see them.

The bangles are a clear symbol of a newly married woman, and she will wear them anywhere from forty-five days to a year after the wedding day.

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Baraat

The baraat is a tradition from Pakistan and India and is the groom’s grand procession to the wedding venue atop of a mare. The groom will be elaborately dressed and accompanied by his entire family, as well as dancers and a band. The ceremony is very celebratory, with lots of music and dancing as the group makes their way to the wedding venue.

Once the group arrives at the venue, they will be greeted by the bride’s family where the bride’s mother will apply tilak onto the groom’s forehead and will perform aarti to ward off evil. The groom is offered a token of gratitude from the bride’s family in the form of money, and then the entire entourage will enter the venue for the wedding ceremony.

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Varmala

This Hindu wedding tradition happens at the commencement of the wedding ceremony. Once the baraat has ended and everyone has entered the wedding venue, the groom will enter the room and stand on the stage where the ceremony will take place. The bride will greet him and present him with the varmala garland made of flowers, usually roses and jasmin, as well as shiny adornments. The groom will then place a similar garland around the bride’s neck. The varmala garland represents the value of sharing and the magnitude of love and harmony between the bride and groom, and symbolizes the acceptance of each other in their lives.

This ceremony can be quite fun as both sides of the family will tease the bride and groom by creating obstacles while they are trying to place the varmala around each other’s necks.

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Are you planning a South Asian wedding in the Toronto area? We would love to assist you in all of the planning to create a spectacular wedding day. You can contact us at info@exquisiteoccasions.ca   We would love to answer any questions you might have.

Photo’s by Randy Hansra and Radisson Photography

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