10 Reasons an Indian Wedding Should be on Your Bucket List

There are weddings and then there are Indian weddings. Attending an Indian wedding, in India, has been on my bucket list for years.

When we received an invitation to celebrate the marriage of two beautiful Indian friends in New Delhi, we jumped at the chance! And not just to check it off the bucket list, but because being there for their marriage would be a true celebration.

Typically, an Indian wedding reflects the cultures of both the bride and groom and involves very special and formal rituals. Our friends had both a Sikh and Hindu background, and over the course of the wedding, we participated in both Sikh and Hindu rituals. We had the good fortune to experience the connection of two families and two religions during this three-day celebration of love.

Beautiful Indian wedding of a very beautiful couple

This wedding was incredible and I felt as though I was in a Bollywood music video. The culture, food, vibrant colors, special ceremonies, and traditions that seemed to go on and on were simply magical. And NOTHING beats the incredibly warm Indian hospitality we enjoyed the entire time.

Here are 10 outstanding memories and ten reasons you should try to experience an amazing event like this. Maybe it’s a movie? Our Big Fat Indian Wedding.

1. Lavish Indian Wedding Decorations

This Indian wedding had the most beautiful and detailed decorations – not a stitch or seam was overlooked. It’s a Pinterest board’s wildest fantasy. For each event, the room was filled with colorful, elaborate decor fitting the mood and color scheme. Many events had their own unique themed decorations and there is no expense spared.

Hindu wedding ceremony with lavish decorations

2. Incredible Indian Cuisine

Food is an essential part of any Indian wedding. We were served so many different options of vegetarian and meat, Western and Indian food. Three days of different and delicious meals made it delightful to be a guest.

Image result for indian wedding cuisine

I am not exaggerating when I say there were almost 60 different dishes (not including dessert!). Dinner is typically served buffet style and open for a few hours, so there is plenty of time to make a plate of delicious food.

3. Plethora of Colors

When celebrating, Indians love to bring out their brightest and most vibrant colors, and they seem even more festive for weddings. Coming from the US where it’s traditional for the bride to wear white, it was lovely to see the beautiful bride and guests glow and shine in outfits of every color.

indian wedding colors, women in saris

I learned the bride chooses a color for most events and shares that with the wedding party.  Guests often try to match the bride’s preferences. It was a visual treat and as we walked into the room for each event, I had to stop myself from gasping at the sheer beauty.

And don’t get me started on the jewelry and henna tattoos. There is a decorative piece for almost all body parts i.e head, forehead, ears, neck, waist, feet, and arms. The elegance is simply out of this world.

Enjoying a very special celebration

4. Best Dance Party Ever!

Hands down, Indian weddings have the best parties once the dance floor opens! The DJ played a mixture of old school, Indian, and American music, and at some events, we had private drummers and featured singers. It was a PARTY every night!

Getting down on the dancefloor at this wedding

We were on the dance floor breaking it down with cousins, brothers, uncles and aunties…. and it was lovely to see guests of all ages (yes, even 98-year-old Great Grandpa) busting a move!

5. Mehendi Ceremony

Before she’s married, an Indian brides gathers their closest friends and family together to dance, celebrate, and decorate their hands and feet with intricate henna tattoos. Mehndi (henna) is a paste associated with positive spirits and good luck.

Intricate henna tattoos are part of an Indiand Mehendi ceremony

Indian wedding tradition calls for a Mehndi ceremony to be held the night before the wedding as a way of wishing the bride good health and prosperity. In the Indian culture, it is said that the deeper the color, the stronger the love the groom has for the bride.

Henna hand tatoos at the Mehendi ceremony

6. Haldi Ceremony

The Haldi ceremony is performed on the morning of the Hindu wedding ceremony. During this ritual, turmeric, oil and water are applied to both the bride and groom.

Haldi ceremony at an indian wedding

The Haldi is considered auspicious and signifies protection. The mixture is believed to bless the couple before the wedding and ward off evil.

It’s an intimate ceremony where close friends and family of the couple were invited to celebrate and bless our beautiful bride. The bride and groom host separate Haldi ceremonies. The Haldi paste is made from turmeric by elders of the couple.

Indian wedding Haldi ceremony

The premise of this Indian wedding ritual is quite solemn. However, there’s colorful paste involved, and as we approached the bride to bless her, we had to smear the mixture on her face at the end. She may have ended up with a yellow turmeric mustache!

Great grandpa was there to celebrate!

7. Reception of Baraat

The Baraat is also known as the Groom’s procession. It’s a tradition where the groom arrives at his wedding and he makes sure that everyone know he’s arrived.  It typically begins down the street from the wedding venue. It’s orchestrated by the groom’s family and I think the louder and more boisterous his arrival is, the better.

Baraaat at an indian wedding

Over the course of about 30 minutes the groom, family and friends, accompanied by lots of singing, dancing, drummers etc., make their way slowly towards the bride. The groom is dressed to the nines and traditionally carries a ceremonial sword by his side.More dancing!

Baraat at an indian wedding, drumming, dancing and singing!

8. Special Rituals and Traditions at an Indian Wedding

Celebrations for Indian weddings go on for months leading up to the actual wedding celebration. Weddings in India are a reflection of the Indian culture and one or more religions.

Religion and the location where the families are from can dictate what is eaten, how a particular ceremony is performed, and what the wedding party and guests should wear. And most of the time, there’s fantastic Bollywood dancing involved!

Sikh wedding ceremony with that ceremonial sword

We were thrilled to learn tiny details of the Hindu and Sikh religions, and what is involved in bringing these religions together in the name of love. Regardless of your religion, in a Sikh ceremony, you need to remove your shoes if the ceremony takes place inside a temple or place of worship.

9. Someone will Steal the Groom’s Shoes

Traditionally, the groom’s family tries to protect the groom’s shoes (which he removes during the Hindu ceremony) while the bride’s side tries to steal them. If they are successfully stolen, the bridesmaids can demand gifts or HUGE amounts of money from the groom to retrieve them.

We saw many unique rituals and traditions just like this that were simply beautiful and fascinating.

indian wedding traditions and a very happy couple

10. Indian Wedding Outfits

At most Indian weddings, Western guests are encouraged to wear traditional Indian clothes. Especially at Indian weddings in India.

Women can wear a saree, an Anarkali suit, or a lengha. Men typically wear a kurta pyjama, a sherwani or a jodhpuri top. I sought the help of my dear Indian friends in Los Angeles to help style me and Hot Hubby for this wedding and all of the related events.

Samantha in an Indian wedding outfit

I wore six traditional outfits over three days of celebrations, a different one for each ceremony. That meant I also needed different accessories to match the different outfits!

Indian clothes are famously bright, colorful and fun. At the end of our trip, my ears were hurting from heavy earrings, there were a few red scratch marks on my body from taking the outfits off, my head was hurting from the various hairstyles with many bobby pins, and my feet were hurting from three days of heels and hours of dancing. A bit like wearing a new pair of shoes, but so worth it!

Happy guests attending an Indian wedding in New Delhi

Bright coloured clothing for an Indian wedding

But it’s all in the price of beauty!

There is no such thing as “too many outfit changes”. Trust me.

Baraat clothing, dressing with style
We were honored that hubby was offered a traditional red headdress worn by the bride’s family as they welcomed the groom into their family. Huge honor.

The best part of this long special celebration is the time family and friends spend together. Often the way a bride and groom are able to meet all of their relatives is either a festival celebration or a wedding. The long duration of celebrations gives loved ones enough time to be together and spend time with one another, and creates a special lifelong bond.

Papa Singh at the Indian Wedding

Naina, Baljit, and the Singh and Mahngar families thank you from the bottom of our hearts for including us in such a special celebration!

We will treasure these memories and friendships forever.

The Mahngar family welcomes a new addition!

I will be writing more detailed blog posts about each ceremony, so be sure to subscribe to my newsletter!

Have you been to an Indian wedding?

What are your favorite Indian wedding traditions??

Let me know in the comments below and join me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Julie | 21st Nov 19

    It was a joy to follow along with your pictures for each day. What an incredibly beautiful start to marriage! Best wishes to the happy couple!!

    • Samantha | 21st Nov 19

      ahh it was so incredibly beautiful and magical. I’m hoping they do it again on their 5 year anniversary! 😉

  2. Fiestroevents | 29th Nov 22

    The pictures are so lovely. Thanks for sharing

    • Samantha | 30th Nov 22

      It was the most magnificent wedding I have ever attended! I feel so lucky to share!

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