How to Plan a Hindu Wedding

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Hindu weddings are steeped in important rituals and customs. Some couples choose to have the typical Hindu ceremony that spans several days, while others have a condensed version that lasts only a few hours.

Arrange the proposal so that the whole family feels included in the event. In this way, you will receive approval from elders, and the family will also be able to determine whether they think you and your partner are compatible for marriage.

Check with an astrologer to match your horoscopes and determine an auspicious date and location for the wedding. Many Hindu ceremonies take place at the bride's house or at a hall.

Decide if you will have guests sit on the floor, as is typical at Hindu weddings, or whether you would prefer to go the more modern route and provide chairs.

Include the 15 rituals that traditionally make up a Hindu wedding ceremony. Or, if you prefer, select only those that have special meaning for you as a couple.

Provide a sari bought by the groom for the bride to change into during the ceremony. (The outfit she arrives in will typically be bought by her parents.) The change of clothes is very meaningful, since it signifies the shift of responsibility from the parents to the husband.

Offer food and alternate entertainment to occupy the guests during the wedding ceremony. (Eating, drinking and talking during the ceremonial events is accepted practice at Hindu weddings.)

Order garlands of flowers that the bride and groom will exchange during the ceremony, often along with rings, to symbolize acceptance and welcome.

Bring a gold necklace if you would like to include the "tying the knot" ritual, in which the groom ties the necklace around the bride's neck.

Include a portion of the ceremony (known as the saptapadi portion in Hindi) in which the bride and groom take seven steps together toward a long and happy marriage, praying for blessings such as wealth, happiness, strength and devotion with each step.

Prepare a mixture of honey and yogurt, which the bride offers the groom to ensure his good health and a sweet start for their marriage.

Offer food to the gods during the ceremony to obtain their blessings. (In the Hindu religion, there is one supreme being, with all other gods being aspects of this one.)

Provide a stone for the bride to stand on to signify her faithfulness and loyalty to the marriage.

Ask the groom's brother to sprinkle puffed rice for prosperity and flower petals on the couple after they exchange vows, following an ongoing Indian tradition.

Create a marriage mark on the bride's forehead with sedhu, or orange powder, to announce to the world that she is now married. After the mark is applied, the couple should touch each parent's feet and receive their parents' blessings.

Prepare a large feast to serve the guests following the ceremony. Expect family and friends to help make the food.