A typical Indian Christian wedding revolves around pretty white dresses, a lot of beautiful of flowers, and cute bridal train. Christian weddings are subtle and elegant, they are a vision in monochrome, but the scenario is a little different as far as Christian weddings in India. Although the basic essence of the rituals in an Indian Christian wedding is almost the same as that of a regular Christian wedding, a host of traditional Indian rituals have impacted almost all communities throughout India. Indians who have been Christians for a long time mostly adopt these rituals. They are a fascinating blend of the movie style Christian wedding we see on TV with adherence to pre and post wedding rituals that are essentially peculiar to the Indian people. Right from the wedding outfits to the bridal jewelry, Indian Christian weddings are quite distinct from what we imagine.
A typical Christian wedding takes place during the mass in a church, officiated by a priest who writes and reads the vow to the couple in the presence of families from both sides and friends. The church entrance decorated with wedding theme decoration, which can include flowers, ribbons, theme colour cloth etc., the altar where the vows are exchanged is also decorated with wedding decoration matching the entrance deco. Ambience lighting to suit the occasion is also suitable, as it will make guests appreciate it more. We can also provide you with candid photography and svideography this is closely followed by a reception shortly afterwards. Let us go on to examine some of the rituals that take place in a typical Indian Christian wedding ceremony:
Matchmaking or Badalchen
Matchmaking is prevalent in the Indian Christian communities and just like any other community in the country, arranged marriages are quite pervasive. Major Christian population in India is concentrated in South India, North-East India and parts of Konkani coastal areas. Matches are generally arranged within the specific denominations of Christianity that either the bride or the groom belongs to. For example Roman Catholics will prefer a match with a Roman Catholic family and not a Protestant, Presbyterian or Lutheran Christian. Once a preferred match is settled, the families meet and if everyone is satisfied, then the talks proceed. Very often than not, there is a courtship period, where the bride and the groom get to know each other. If they find each other compatible, then formal proposal happens, mostly from the groom’s side. In some cultures in south India, this moment is sealed with discussion of dowry and presenting each other with betel leaves and betel nut. The ceremony is known as ‘badalchen’.
The engagement is perhaps the most important pre-wedding event in a Christian wedding. After formal proposal comes from the groom’s side, a date is set for the formal engagement ceremony. It may be a somber and small affair with just close friends and relatives participating, or it may be a gala bash where acquaintances are invited for a fun-filled exciting evening. Either way you prefer, we can provide you with the Engagement decoration of your choice. Traditionally, the groom is to present a ring to the bride and he places it on her left ring finger. This ritual symbolizes the betrothal of the girl to the groom. The rings have to be blessed by the priest either at the church or at the engagement venue. Nowadays sometimes, the bride also offers a ring to the groom, which he wears on his right hand ring finger. The groom also gifts his bride-to-be with other gifts such as clothes, perfumes, handkerchiefs etc. The two families mingle with each other at a party following the ritual. A good musical system that suits the occasion is perfect for this part of the event. The engagement is generally followed by a courtship period before the actual wedding date is fixed. The engagement is also announced at local churches and sometimes in the local newspapers also.
Following the engagement, the bride’s relatives throw her a bridal shower. Mostly young cousins and friends of the bride decide on a day and take the bride out for a merry night. They often host a party where they play a number of games, shower the bride with gifts that she might find useful in her upcoming conjugal life and encourage her to sing and dance to her heart’s content. It is a tradition for the bride to have a pink cake served to her companions where she has hidden a silver thimble. This cant also be a thematic cake of the bride’s choice which can be provided by us. The friend of the girl who is served the piece of cake with the thimble is believed to be the next one getting married. It is the day where the bride gets to do all her favorite things with her girlfriends before she enters into a deeply committed relationship and a life of putting others’ happiness before her own. Nowadays, destination bridal showers are in vogue where the bride’s friends whisk her away from the wedding venue to a beach or on a road trip for her to fully savor her carefree moments.
This is sort of an anointing ceremony that takes place in some of the Indian Christian communities like that from Goa or Konkan. It is similar to the Haldi ceremony of the Hindu weddings and takes place on the eve of the wedding day. It involves the bride and the groom taking a ritualistic bath in their respective homes. The bride/groom is anointed with oil, where the participants, generally relatives, dip their forefingers in the oil and perform the sign of the cross on the forehead of the bride/groom. Oil drops are poured on ears and on the head, followed by coconut juice or roce, which is rubbed on the head, face, hands and feet. After this, the bride/groom is bathed with water. A roce prayer and then dinner with drinks and a light party or event follow the whole ceremony. This can also be arranged by 7events. A photo booth can also be provided to catch this unique moment, which is precious to the bride and her family.
Welcoming of the Bride
On the morning of the wedding day, female relatives of the groom visit the bride’s home with her bridal outfits, some jewelry, trays of dry fruits, sweets and fruits. The priest is to bless the bridal dress before it is handed over to the bride. The bride gets ready in her house and sets off for the church in a car sent by the groom with some of her friends, generally bridesmaids. Her family follows. She is received at the church by the groom’s family and is escorted into the church by the groom’s best man.
The Wedding Mass
On the day of the actual wedding ceremony, a wedding mass is held in most Indian Christian weddings especially in Roman Catholic orders. During the mass, the priest performs prayers and hymns. The program starts with an opening prayer, which the guests can join in. Following the opening prayer, the Bible is read both from the New as well as the Old Testament. The priest chooses the verse but a member of the bride or groom’s family can do the reading. The altar is usually decorated with wedding-style deco. Our experts can help you in picking the best deco to suit the church service program. An altar table is also decorated with matching thematic tablecloths. Next part of the program is singing the Psalm, either by the guests or the church soloist. The priest rendering the sermons follows this. Let us also note that a splendid church entrance decoration will leave the guests in awe, not knowing what to expect next.
The Wedding Vows
After completion of the wedding mass, the priest starts the actual marriage rituals by uttering the Opening remarks where he gives a short speech about virtues of marriage and in some cases about the bride and groom. The bride and groom then are asked to utter the vows of marriage. In India, the priest mostly decides the vows and the couple just utters them after him. They essentially promise each other that they will be by each other’s side through all phases of life till death does them part.
We also provide beautiful car decorations. The wedding car takes the couple from their residence to the church for mass, then from the mass to the wedding reception. It is usually decorated in eye-catching balloons, ribbons and even pretty coloured thematic cloth. It should be done perfectly because it will be part of the wedding pictures forever. No room for error here. Take a look at one of our wedding car deco below.
After completion of the wedding ceremony, the couple exits the church amid excited cheering and showering of confetti by the guests. The newlywed couple, along with all the invitees, moves to a banquet hall to attend the wedding reception. Here, there is usually a wedding feast and the guests propose toast to the couple’s wellbeing. There may or may not be speeches from the best man and maid of honor, but there is always cutting of the wedding cake by the bride and groom who feed each other the first two pieces before it is distributed among the guests. To make it more colourful, there is a live band or musical group present to encourage the guests to dance. The wedding reception is decorated with eye-catching wedding decoration and fitted with ambient lighting, which put everyone in the merry mood to celebrate with the couple.