All you need to know about planning a Christian wedding ceremony in India

When one thinks of an Indian-Christian wedding, they imagine a perfectly white gown, walking down the aisle in the church, flowers all around and lots of happiness. Well, as cliche as it sounds and seems, a Christian wedding does have these elements but also more. What really happens in an Indian-Christian wedding? Is it the same as depicted in movies? If you have been invited or been a part of an Indian Christian wedding, then you know that it is different for the different states and communities. Of course, this is the happiest day for the bride and groom’s life, but it involves a lot of details, customs and traditions! 

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Christian wedding
Christian wedding

Pre-wedding Rituals 

#1. Engagement Ceremony

First and foremost, a to-be-married Christian couple has to celebrate their engagement. It is a ritual that is followed by most couples and is highly celebrated. This celebration is a declaration and announcement to the world that the parents have approved the relationship and the couple is set to tie the knot. 

#2. Haldi / Roce Ceremony

Just like in a Hindu tradition, the to-be bride and groom are applied haldi / roce (to people in Goa/ Karnataka). This ritual involves close family, friends, and neighbors. Here the to-be bride and groom get blessings and good wishes from their guests. A haldi like paste is applied to them, and later they are asked to take a bath. This happens in the respective homes of the bride and groom. This is followed by prayers and dinner. This ritual is followed to the T and never skipped out on. 

#3. Sangeet 

Borrowed from the Hindu tradition, including a Sangeet as a part of Christian pre-wedding celebrations is now common. If the to-be married couple wants to indulge in a little extravagance and add to the fun, Sangeet is definitely on the list. It is a fun celebration where family and friends from the bride and groom’s side put up dance performances and celebrate the new and lifelong relationship. 

#4. Bridal Shower / Bachelor Party 

These are two celebrations respective to the bride and groom. At a bridal shower, you have the bridesmaids and close family-friends showering the to-be bride with gifts, advice, and lots of fun before she gets married. The same is applied to a bachelor party, where the groom too has fun with his friends before he is officially married. These ceremonies are something that everyone looks forward to. 

#5. Wedding Attires 

Of course, one of the main parts of a Christian wedding is the wedding attire. This attire varies and depends on which state in India you are from. If you are from the Konkan/ Goan area, the bride traditionally wears a white gown, while the groom wears a formal suit. Whereas, if a bride and groom from the south get married, their wedding attire is a silk saree with a formal suit. Apart from the bride and groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen have their clothes picked out for the day by the to-be married couple. 

Wedding Day Ritual 

#1. Dressing Of The Bride & Groom

Although this ritual isn’t known by many it is followed by all Christians. In a Christian wedding, the bride and groom, get ready in their respective homes. There, the bride’s friends and family help her get ready for the occasion and the same goes for the groom. This part of the day involves a lot of chaos but is full of love because everyone is thrilled for the new beginning. 

#2. Walking Down The Aisle 

This is an extremely emotional ritual, especially for the bride’s side because here; the bride’s parents have to walk her down the aisle and give her away to her to-be husband. The procession of the walk begins with the flower girls, then the bridesmaids with the groomsmen, and then the parents with the bride. 

#3. The Vow

It is no secret that a Christian wedding involves the couple taking vows that will bind their relationship forever. These vows are extremely sacred and special. Unlike seen in movies, not all vows are written by the newly married couple. Either these are the sayings of the church or the additional vows the couple want to include in their wedding. 

#4. Exchange of Rings 

Once the vows are said, the bride and groom are asked to exchange wedding rings to show their commitment. This follows the announcement of them being married. This ritual later is sealed by a kiss. 

#5. Tying A Wedding Thali

This ritual is followed only by South Indian Christians. Here the groom ties a thali a.k.a mangalsutra around the neck of their bride to announce their marriage.

#6. Wedding Reception

The reception is heavily anticipated by everyone. It is where they get to celebrate the union of the newly married couple. This reception is extremely grand, spectacular, and full of life. There is lots of food, fun, music, and dancing! In a Christian wedding reception, the newly married couple cut a beautiful cake. Another aspect of this celebration is throwing the bouquet. It is not always followed but is a fun tradition. The bride gathers her single friends and tosses the bouquet towards them hoping the one who catches is the one to get married next! 

An Indian Christian wedding is very different and special but also elegant and beautiful.  Every person has a way of following and expressing the ritual and traditions. But what will remain the same is the celebration of love and marriage. What you see in movies or read in books may be completely different from what you experience in real life. So, if you have been to any Indian Christian weddings and found something new or different, let us know in the comments below!

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