Christian weddings have always been admired for their elegance, grace and suaveness. These weddings are worth joining as guests. Christian weddings are mostly dominated by the color white. The bride’s gown, decorations are mostly white denoting peace, serenity and soberness. The whole scenario looks gorgeous and is a treat to watch. The whole ambience filled with joy, prosperity and blessings. The most common venue for a Christian wedding is the Church which is decorated with beautiful flowers.

As our country was ruled by British colonels, Christian-dominated societies have always prevailed in different parts of India. Indian Christianweddings have successfully amalgamated the western as well as Indian customs of wedding. This makes the wedding ceremony more exciting and unique. Also there is an interesting aspect here-the involvement of people other than the bride, groom or the priest. There are more than one people who get the privilege to hold the bride’s robe. Mostly they are small cute girls dressed up beautifully. Also there is a Best man to escort the lady in white to the church. These aspects add to the elegance of this wedding ceremony. The main rituals and traditions of an Indian Christian wedding are as follows:-

Pre-wedding Rituals

The Engagement Ceremony- this is the opening ceremony for the wedding. Engagement ceremony is done at the bride’s house where only close relatives and friends are invited. This day, the couple exchange rings and are showered with best wishes from everyone present there. A special toast is raised on their behalf and the local nearby churches are informed about this occasion.

Bachelor Parties- This party is essentially celebrated by the groom’s friends and brothers as the last days of the groom as bachelor. They drink and enjoy the day to the fullest. Generally this party is been organized 2 days before the marriage. In India also this kind of party is getting popular nowadays.

Bridal Shower or the Bachelorette Parties-These parties are a parallel to the Bachelor parties. Here, the female friends and the sisters of the bride organize a party to celebrate the last bachelorette days of the bride. They raise a toast to the new couple and wish them a very happy life.

The Roce Ceremony- This ceremony is mostly celebrated amongst the North-Indian Christians. They call it Haldaat which refers to a ceremony where the bride and the groom are both applied turmeric and sandalwood paste but this ceremony is carried out a bit differently in the western and southern Christian families such as people in Goa. They smear the couple with coconut paste. The Haldaat ceremony in North India is known as the Roce ceremony.

Wedding Dress

As per the tradition, the bride wears a white gorgeous gown with a tiara on her head. She holds a beautiful bouquet of flowers in her hand. Also in certain cases of Indian Christian marriage, the bride may wear a sari with a petite veil covering the face. The groom can also dress in white as well.

Wedding Rituals

Welcoming the Bride- On the day of wedding, the groom sends a car to pick the bride. The bride is received by the best man and the car waits outside the church till she along with her husband comes out. The best man greets the bride with a kiss on her cheek and hands her a bouquet of flowers. The bride’s father accompanies her through the aisle till she reaches the waiting groom with the priest ready to chant the selected verses of the Holy Bible. The bride’s father hands her daughter to the groom and offers his blessings.

Exchange of Vows- The vows are the messages of love, respect and care which the new couple have for each other. In this occasion, the bride and the groom write their own vow and read out to each other as well as the guests at the time of their marriage.

The I Do- Once the couple is done with the exchanging of vows, the priest asks them whether they agree to love and cherish each other in sickness as well as in health as long as they live. In reply to which they utter these two humble words- I Do. The priest then declares the two people as married and allows them to kiss each other. This ceremony or rather the two words make them a married couple with the priest’s blessings. After this the newly-wed couple sign the registration form and walk down the aisle with arm in arm.

Amongst the Indian Christians who reside in South India, there is a ritual of placing a Thali or the Mangalsutra (holy necklace) around the bride’s neck. Here, the mangalsutra is tied in place of putting the ring. But the ring ceremony has also gained popularity among the Indian Christiansfrom the last few years.

The throwing of Wedding Bouquet- When the marriage ceremony is over, the bride throws the Wedding Bouquet in the air and all the female guests try to catch it at once. It is believed that whoever catches the bouquet first, will get married next.

Post-wedding Reception

The reception is the most joyous and ecstatic occasion organized by the Christians. All the relatives and friends are invited on this day. There is music, dance and a grand dinner. The couple performs a ball-dance which they probably rehearse before the reception night. There is a wedding cake which is cut by the couple and a toast is raised for them by the guests. Nowadays there are live band performances or the disc jockey hired to entertain the guests and make the night a memorable one for everyone.

The Indian Christian wedding is always a special occasion which is cherished and memorized by all the guests. The wedding dress of the bride, the decorations, the reception dinner is splendid. The Indian touch enhances the grace of this occasion. A Christian bride wearing a sari on her wedding day is a treat to watch.

Raja Kumar

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