Hindu Indian marriages are performed by priests who chant Sanskrit hymns and mantras in front of the sacred fire, while special Indian wedding music – Shehnai in the North Indian weddings and Nadaswaram in the South Indian weddings – are played.
A typical Hindu Indian marriage begins with the selection of an auspicious day, and time to perform the wedding. A day before the wedding, the bride’s palm and feet are decorated with henna or mehendi. The Indian wedding ceremony is conducted in a mandap, a special dias decorated with flowers for the occasion.
The Indian wedding procession of the groom, the Baraat, is a main event on the groom’s side. The baraat headed by a display of fireworks, accompanied by the rhythm of the dholak or melam, reaches the meeting point, where the elders of both the families meet and welcome the groom with garlands and aarati.
After this the bride, decked with the finest of jewelry, and the groom sit in the mandap in front of the sacred fire, where the kanyadaan is performed. Kanyadaan is the ritual where the bride is given to the groom by her father, symbolizing giving of the bride to Vishnu. Next, the groom ties the knot. The ritual of pradakshina follows, where the bride and the groom walk seven times around the sacrificial fire. The last stage of the Indian marriage ceremony is the saptapadi, where the bride and the groom take seven steps together facing the north, after which the bride shifts to the groom’s left. The couple is now declared married.