The groom’s procession to the wedding hall.
In a private ceremony before the start of the wedding, the bride performs a puja (prayer) to invoke the blessings of the Goddess Gauri for a long, everlasting, and happy married life.
The ceremony begins with a prayer to Lord Ganesh, who is the remover of all obstacles and symbolizes peace & friendship.
Arrival of the Bride- The maternal uncle (or father) of the bride, escorts the bride to the wedding mandap (altar). The bride and groom stand on either side of the antarpat (special cloth held up by uncles), which signifies their separate identity prior to their union. This creates a silent moment for both the bride and groom to dwell on submitting to God’s will that brought them together.
Songs of Blessings- Auspicious hymns are recited by the priest in Sanskrit. They evoke God’s blessings for the couples and create an auspicious moment and starting point of the union. The concept of purna purush states that the groom is half man and the other half is his wife. They both merge their individuality into one united identity.
Exchange of Garlands
The bride and groom exchange garlands to symbolize their mutual consent to this union of two souls and two families. The priest and Karavali (sisters of the bride and groom) merge the Kalash (copper pots filled with water, earth, flowers, leafs from the respective places of their upbringings). Another sister of the bride or groom performs Aukshan (aarati) using a lighted lamp to bless this moment for both of them. The lamp symbolizes selfless giving to each other.
Giving away of the bride by her parents- This event symbolizes the perpetual flow of life for generations to come. While the priest is chanting hymns, the mother of the bride pours water on the right hand of father of the bride. It flows to the bride’s hand, and on to the groom's hand, and finally on the ground to symbolize planet Earth. The bride’s parents consent to the union and ask the groom to treat the bride with love and affection, and as his friend and equal partner in all married life’s decisions and actions. The groom assures the bride’s parents that he will be true to her with an assurance of fidelity.
Paraspar Akshta Ropan
Vedic Marriage Vows
Bride: In our married life I promise to enrich our joy and happiness in my words and deeds.
Groom: In our married life I promise to enrich our society in my words and deeds.
Bride: In our married life I promise to assist in our prosperity in my words and deeds.
Groom: In our married life I promise to strive for and promote morality in my words and deeds.
Bride: In our married life I promise to enrich our children with my words and deeds.
Groom: In our married life I promise to enrich our success with my words and deeds.
Both: Everyone in attendance today, know that we accept each other with joy and without reservation. Our hearts shall be one and at peace with each other. We shall love each other until the end of time. These rings symbolize our eternal love.
The audience confirms and witnesses these vows by saying “Tathastu” (so be it).
The parents of the bride and groom bless the Mangalsutra (necklace of black beads) which is a symbol of marriage in the Vedic tradition. The groom and his family give the bride the Mangalsutra, symbolizing their consent and welcome the bride to the groom’s family. The first knot will be tied by the groom's sister, the second knot by the bride, and the third knot by the groom himself.
Invocation of Fire God (Agni)
The priest invokes a fire with the help of the groom by reciting the first verse of the Rig-Veda that depicts fire and water, two elements essential for life on earth. The bride and groom offer five oblations (religious offerings) to the fire gods.
While the priest recites verses that create a bond between the couple, both the bride and groom hold their hands together in front of the fire. This symbolizes that both agree to giving themselves to each other for love, and endurance of this union and nothing that is solemnized here can be asunder.
The symbolic tying of the cloth worn by the groom to the cloth worn on the bride’s shoulders. The groom's sister tie the groom's uparane (cloth worn on the groom’s shoulder) to the bride's shawl (cloth worn on the bride's shoulders).
Auspicious Circling the Sacred Fire- The bride and groom will walk in a circle around the fire 3 times with hands joined together to symbolize the goals of life, righteousness, prosperity, and love.
Laja Home / Kan Pili
Brother’s Promises- The bride’s brother invokes blessings of the Fire God for the couple by offering oblations in the hands of the bride and groom. He requests that the groom care for his sister. He then seeks confirmation of the groom's promise and requests him to care for his sister, by twisting the groom's right ear. In the spirit of goodwill and joy in the marriage, the groom gives the bride’s brother a small gift and promises to care for his sister.
Seven Steps Together- the bride and groom take 7 steps on mounds of rice as they seek blessings for their lives together from all those in attendance, led 4 times by the groom and 3 times by the bride.
Groom says to the bride as he takes the 1st step: You believe that it is the will of God that brought us together.
Groom says to the bride as he takes the 2nd step: You are the bundle of energy that gives sustainability to our married life.
Groom says to the bride as he takes the 3rd step: It is my intent for us to live like king and queen, living a royal life of pleasure and happiness.
Groom says to the bride on the 4th step: Material wealth is maya, it is here today and may not be here tomorrow. Realizing this eternal truth we will always give ourselves to each other.
Bride says to the groom on the 5th step: You believe that it is mutual intent to have progeny, one like you and one like me.
Bride says to the Groom on the 6th step: Seasons will come and go, moods will vary, the sun and moon will cycle, but you will be always there for me anytime day or night, and so will I.
Bride says to the groom on the 7th step: By taking this step together we believe we are equal as friends on one team, with one goal, no matter what our age, origin, race, color, religion, education, occupation, or upbringing.
Unbreakable Steadfast Marriage- The groom holds the bride’s right toe and places it on the ashma, an unbreakable steadfast stone, to symbolize these qualities of his bride and their new marriage.
Blessings of the Parents- The parents of the couple bless the bride and groom, and each welcome their new child into the family. The bride and groom pay their respects to their parents. The priest also joins the bride and groom’s foreheads together as a symbolic union and declares it solemnly.
Akhand Soubhagya Kankshini
Blessings and advice are given by other married women at the ceremony, symbolizing the help and blessings the bride may expect from the women of the family and community. She is be gifted with fruit, coconut, rice, and grains by these women, along with a word of advice whispered in the bride's right ear.
Conclusion of the Ceremony
Short vows by the couple, and then guests eat their pedhas provided at the beginning to celebrate the wedding. Cocktails and appetizers will be available in the adjacent room.