Tamil Wedding Rituals – Elegant & Rich

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Tamil wedding rituals are known for their elegance. The ceremonies are detailed and unique in terms of traditional richness. Marriage rituals extensively display the heritage imbibed from Vedas and Puranas.

Besides acting in accordance with the customs laid in the religious texts, they also perform certain other rites known as the Loukika Custom. However, wedding rituals vary from the Brahmin (Iyer) and Non-Brahmin communities in several contexts.

If you happen to attend a Tamil Hindu wedding, you will be charmed by its time-honoured aspects. When a Tamil family plans a marriage for their son/daughter, many find a suitable match for their children through matchmaking, while others approve love marriages also.

In the event of an arranged marriage, the families match the horoscopes of the prospective bride and the groom. When these match, parents of both candidates exchange vows to symbolise the union of the two families.

Below, we have given the major pre-wedding, wedding day and post wedding rituals prevalent in the Tamil culture and the significance attached to them. Besides these, there are many small and typical rituals which might differ from one family to other.

PRE WEDDING RITUALS

The following rituals are common to both the Brahmin and Non-Brahmin communities.

Panda Kaal Muhurtham- Worshipping the ancestral deity

It is customary for every Indian family to worship their ancestral deity (kula devata) before embarking on any important occasion. Tamil marriages are also not different, Panda Kaal Muhurtham is an important pre-wedding ritual held on the eve of the wedding day.

The familial Lord is symbolically represented by a bamboo pole, which is a portrayal of fertility. It is a short programme where both the bride’s and groom’s parents along with their relatives offer prayers to the ancestral deity for a smooth marriage process.

The significance of Panda Kaal Muhurtham: It is a common belief that evil spells can harm the bride-to-be and groom-to-be. Thus, it is important to pray to the divine and seek his blessings for an undisturbed wedding process.

Sumangali Prarthanai – Prayer for married women ancestors ( Loukika Custom)

In Sanskrit, Sumangali refers to a married woman whose husband is still alive. The Sumangali Pooja is a pre-wedding ritual organised to offer prayers to the women ancestors of the family who have died before their husbands.

In this ritual, five or seven married women within the families are invited who are considered as the embodiment of the deceased Sumangalis. All invited Sumangalis are required to be present at the occasion wearing a nine-yard sari (Madisar). These invitees are then worshipped and are treated with a traditional feast on an authentic way.

The ritual of Sumangali poojai is different from one family to another. A lot of variation regarding the ritual is seen among the Brahmin and non-Brahmin Tamil families.

The significance attached to this ritual: In Hindu tradition, it is a common belief that only Sumangali ( a married woman who is not a widow) can perform auspicious ceremonial activities. A married woman is also considered a representation of the Goddess of prosperity, wealth and luck. It is a way of blessing the soon-to-be married couple for a prosperous married life through the personification of the deceased ancestors.

Pallikai Thellichal- Ritual of sprouting grains in earthen pot (Puranic)

Another significant pre-wedding ritual is Paalikali Thelippu / Karappu performed by the bride’s family and it signifies fertility. Paalikai mean earthen pots that are prepared a day before of the wedding and are spread at the base with mango leaves (mavilai) and sand.

In this custom, married women decorate 7 clay pots with sandalwood paste and Vermilion (kumkum) powder, and then fill them with curd and 9 types of pre-soaked grains including green gram, black gram, mustard and paddy seeds. They leave the grains to sprout, thereafter, unmarried girls (Kanya) immerse those pots into the nearby water body with a wish to feed the fish on the grains.

In this ritual, the sprouted grains are compared to the bride and the groom. When the grains are consumed by the fish, it is believed that the guardian angels present in all eight directions are invoked. It is expected that the celestial beings bless the couple for a happy and healthy life.

 Naandhi ShraaddhamReverence to ancestors

Naandi Shradham or Vriddhi shraaddham is yet another essential ritual for both the bride and the groom’s families. It is a custom to invoke the ancestors to seek blessings for the prosperity of both. Fathers of the bride and the groom take part in the worshipping ritual at their own homes. In earlier days, groom’s father carried out

In earlier days, groom’s father carried out nandii before the groom started for the bride’s home. But nowadays, this ritual is performed at the marriage venue itself on the day of the wedding and sometimes a day prior to it.

The ritual requires appeasing the presiding deities or the Nandi Devatas. A leaf-laden branch of the pipal tree is installed and is cleansed with milk. The ceremony finally gets completed after a dhoti and a saree is presented to the marrying couple.

Eight to ten Brahmins are invited to the respective homes of the bride/groom and a traditional feast is arranged. It is also customary to offer fruits, coconut, flowers, betel /betelnut, sweets and traditional clothes (veshti angavastram) to the Brahmins and ask for their blessing for the wedding alliance.

NichayatharthamThe Engagement (Loukika)

Nichayathartham is the formal engagement ceremony between the bride and groom that takes place in the presence of all elders of both the families. The function is held the day before the wedding which starts after paying homage to Lord Ganesh (pillaiyar), vanquisher of all obstacles. Then, both the bride/groom’s families announce their final agreement to the wedding.

The groom’s family gifts a traditional South Indian silk saree, and traditional jewellery to the bride as a gesture of acceptance. Similarly, bride’s parents also gift the groom with a new set of clothes as their acknowledgement of the marriage. The bride and the groom then change into the new dress gifted by each other’s family.

Groom’s sister and bride’s brother also play an active role in this ceremony. There is a custom of gifting two dolls by the groom’s sister to the bride for playing (Vilayadal). To show their recognition for their future brother/sister-in-law, groom’s sister and bride’s brother apply vermillion (kumkum) and sandalwood (Chandan) tilak on the bride’s/groom’s forehead respectively and offer a floral garland too. After this, the bride and the groom exchange rings in the presence of friends and relatives.

In addition to the above, Tamil Brahmins also perform Vang Nischay (Loukika) – a ceremony of exchanging Nalikera coconut and Thamboola, betel leaf/nut between both the families in the presence of elderly members to acknowledge the marriage alliance.

  • Lagna Patrika: a contract by both parents about the performance of the marriage and reading of the invitation card by the priest at the groom’s place.
  • Pongi Podal (Loukika): a feast organised at the aunt’s place for niece (bride) and nephew(groom) to wish them for their new life ahead.
  • Janu Vasam (Loukika): Janu means knee and Vasam mean cloth. In earlier days, a Brahmin boy after receiving his upanayanam (sacred thread ceremony) and entering into the life of Brahmacharin (celibacy) was expected to wear just a white cloth till his knees and lead a saintly life till he got married. Finally, on the eve of his wedding day, he was presented in front of the would-be bride’s relatives for people acceptance. But, nowadays, the ritual is limited to the procession and public approval only.
  • Vritham and Kappu Kettal (Vedic): It is an essential ritual for the boy for whom marriage has been fixed. Before he gets married, he needs to take permission from his father (Guru) to end his Brahma Charya Vritha (celibacy), to marry and lead a life of a Grihastha (family life).

Wedding Day Rituals

Mangala Snaanam – A Purifying Bath

Like any other Hindu marriage custom, Mangalasnanam or a purifying bath is an integral ritual of a Tamil Wedding. It is a practice of ceremonial bathing of both the bride and the groom with turmeric (Haldi), Vermillion (kumkum) and oil. Elders anoint the mixture on the soon-to-be couple at their respective homes before the purifying bath.

The ritual takes place at the break of the dawn on the wedding day. According to Indian tradition, the significance of this early morning bath is to refresh the couple’s bodies by lessening stress and initiating positive energy for an extensive wedding process.

Wedding Ceremonies

Wedding in Tamil Nadu is mostly organised during the early morning hours and the ceremonies last for about an hour or so. Close families and friends are invited to attend the marriage ceremony and bless the newly wed couples. The function is finally followed by a traditional feast.

Mappillai Varavetpu – Welcoming the Bridegroom

The wedding ceremony starts with the arrival of the groom accompanied by his relatives and friends. He is given a warm welcome by the bride’s younger brother. He also receives greetings “Aaraathi” from two married women from the bride’s family. Bride’s father treats him with due respect and thus the groom is escorted to the wedding stage.

Kaasi Yatra – Groom’s pilgrimage

Kashi yatra is a very intriguing ritual of a Tamil Wedding. The groom plays the part of abandoning all material desires and proceeds for the pilgrimage to Kashi. At this point of time, bride-to-be’s brother blocks the groom’s journey and woos the groom back to the marriage hall. In return for this service, the bride’s brother receives a gold ring as a gift from the groom’s family.

This ritual can differ from one family to the other. In some families, bride-to-be’s father requests the groom to accept the daughter as his life partner (when groom pretends to go to the pilgrimage) and persuades the groom to return to the family life.

Finally, the groom agrees to take responsibility of the bride and he is finally escorted to the wedding place.

Wedding Attire

The bride wears a traditional silk saree (Kanchipuram) in a red tone with thick golden borders and is decked in heavy gold jewellery. The groom wears a white dhoti, a shirt with a golden border or sometimes sherwarni. Traditionally, he also wears turbans (thalappas) on the wedding day.  The bride (manamahal) arrives at the wedding site with the Tholi (Bridesmaids), her relatives and her friends and she and the groom (maapillai) sit around a priest on the stage set for the wedding (mandap).

Kanyathanam & Kannika Thaanam – Arrival and giving away of the Bride

Similar to the ritual of Kanyadan ceremony of any Hindu culture, Kanyathanam is the ritual when bride’s father hands over all responsibility of his daughter to the groom and the groom, in turn, accept her and assures her parents to provide her with a life of fulfilment.

It is a very emotional ritual because after the bride arrives at the wedding site she is made to sit on her father’s lap. This ritual symbolises a father letting his small daughter who played in his lap to go away with someone whom he thinks perfect for taking responsibility of.

Sapthapathi – Sacred Seven Steps

Next in the ritual line is Sapthapathi, an essential element of any Hindu wedding. The bride and the groom take seven steps together encircling the Holy Fire as a harbinger of their new life. With each step, the priest recites hymns from the holy verses to unite both the souls thereafter.

The significance of the seven steps: the groom and the bride promise to carry on with their life together while following the four purposes of human existence: Dharma (religion and ethics), Artha (wealth and prosperity), Kama (love, fertility and family) and Moksha (spiritual liberation).

Thaali Kattu – Tying of the Gold Necklace

Sapthapathi is followed by Thaali Kattu ritual. The groom presents the Bride with Koorai (wedding saree) and the Thali (gold necklace). The Koorai and Thali are circulated amongst the family gathering so that they can each bless the items. The bride then leaves the Manavarai ( wedding stage) in order to change into the Koorai (Silk Saree). After she returns to the Manavarai wearing the

After she returns to the Manavarai wearing the Koorai, holding a garland for the groom, he ties the Thali (gold necklace) around the bride’s neck, signifying the change in her marital status amidst traditional wedding song kettimelan. The couple is thus pronounced as husband and wife.

Finally, they exchange garlands to the beat of the Thavils (drum) and music of Naathaswarams (classical pipe music).

Ammi Midhithal- Treading on the Grindstone

Another significant post-ceremony ritual is the Ammi Midhithal (Treading on the Grindstone).  It is a ritual where the bride is required to place her feet on a grindstone, after walking around the bridal platform thrice. The moment she walks on the grindstone, her new husband adorns her second toe with tiny ringlets (metti) and symbolically shows her the Arundhati (Alcor) star.

The Significance of showing the Arundhati (Alcor) star and wearing metti: Hindu legends relate Arundhati, the wife of sage Vasishta as an extraordinary woman. She is remembered for remarkable loyalty and devotion to her husband. During marriage ceremonies, she is invoked by the groom by asking the “bride” to look at the Arundhati star and be like her throughout her life.

The metti is worn by both the bride and the groom. According to traditions, as wearing a gold necklace (mangalyam) by the bride indicates that she is married and any other men staring at her would instantly know that she is married, likewise wearing a toe-ring by the men would inform another woman that he is married to someone else.

Wedding Games

A collection of meaningful games are played in the post-ceremony phase but vary widely between families.

These games were played in olden days in the period when arranged marriages were strictly prevalent and the bride and the groom could never meet beforehand. These were tricks with an intention to introduce the newly-weds to each other so that they could overcome shyness and unfamiliarity they had. In modern times, these games are played only to keep the tradition alive.

All the games are quite interesting and relate to posterity and child care. In one trick the priest drops a tiny toy into a vessel of water, and the newly married couple push their hands hard into it, trying to be the first to retrieve the toy. This is to signify that the winner will have his/her say on the gender of the first-born child.

This trick becomes more entertaining when the priest (for the first few times) only pretend to drop the toy in while leaving the couple to search in vain. This process is mainly to provoke the couple playfully come in close contact with each other for the first time.

Another game proceeds when the groom’s Angavastram is fashioned into a makeshift cradle and a rock is placed inside it (symbolising the first born). He gently shakes the cradle to put the baby to sleep, while the bride hums a lullaby. It is essential that the priest splashes some turmeric-water on both the bride and the groom as if the kid has peed in sleep.

Wedding Ritual practised by Tamil Brahmins:

  • Maalai Maatral, Oonjal, Sambandhmale (swing ceremony and exchange of garlands): A Loukika custom, held before kanyadanam, it is a ritual wherein the bride and the groom exchange floral garlands three times to begin their holy union. Married ladies of the family offer milk and banana to the couple while they are seated on a swing.

POST WEDDING RITUALS

Sammandhi Maryathai- Exchange of gifts

After the marriage ceremonies are over and before the bride leaves for her new home, both the bride and the groom’s family gather together to exchange gifts to mark the beginning of a post-marriage relation. The gifts can range from jewellery, clothes or artefacts.

Then comes the most sentimental segment of any marriage, the time for parents and relatives to bid adieu to the bride from her parental home. Both she and her spouse receives blessings for a happy married life.

Grihapravesham- Welcoming of the bride

When the bride finally reaches her destination, the groom’s mother welcomes her with much love and adoration. Groom’s mother performs symbolic rituals similar to any Hindu Grihapravesh ceremony and invites her to join the family forever.

Groom’s family organises several post-wedding rituals which are helpful to make the bride feel at home. These occasions are meaningful and are also filled with fun and enjoyment.

Reception: Inviting guests for a feast

It is a modern inclusion to the post wedding rituals. Groom’s family hosts a reception party and invite friends and other relatives to bless the newly married couple. The guests are also treated to lunch or dinner according to convenience.

Tamil weddings are a great affair as they intricately follow customs and traditions laid in the Vedas and Puranas. Though many have been transformed with a modern touch, yet a classical feeling is still kept intact.

If you want to plan and manage a wedding in your family, WedPlan: The Online Wedding Planner Software takes the stress out and helps you to organise everything super-easy. Request a FREE demo and check it out yourself.

Credits

https://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120602082633AAkt5Dz
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/22/tamil-wedding_n_5373715.html
http://www.vadhyar.com/marrige.htm
http://uir.unisa.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10500/22075/dissertation_Kanni_b.pdf?sequence=1
http://heritagewiki.org/images/c/c4/Tamil_Wedding_Ceremony_details.pdf
http://tamilhinduweddings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Hand-Book-Print-version.pdf
http://www.futurescopes.com/wedding-customs/7720/tamil-wedding-customs-and-traditions

 

How Can Wedding Planners Get More Clients

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Wedding Planners - Get More ClientsWant to get more clients for your wedding planning business? Wondering how to do it?

Here are some ideas that should help:

The success of every business depends on effective marketing strategies. Impressive advertisements, PR and branding play a key role in attracting customers to your wedding planning business.

Networking

The initial step is to try and reach your prospects through Networking.  You can join associations and clubs where your prospective customers come often.

Get to know the other person rather than bluntly pitch your business. Of course, you should give a short introduction where you tell something that will arouse the curiosity of the other person so that he is tempted to ask for further details.

They may not need your service right now but will be happy to refer business to you.

Advertisements

Next step is to make your business known to general people. An advertisement is a great tool to create awareness but you should advertise only in places where you can hope to get in front of your ideal customer.

You should advertise in a magazine popular in a locality rather than the city’s most popular newspaper. This will allow you to manage with a lower budget. You can also hire stalls in a targeted exhibition like Vivaah.

Use B2C search portals like Justdial or Indiamart to enlist your business to reach out to the people who enquire about resources by calling or visiting their sites.

Online Promotion

In today’s world, a strong online presence is a must for any business. You, as a marriage planner should have a decent online presence to gain good visibility in your prospects’ mind.

If you serve a local geography, get registered with Google Maps through Google My Business program. This can refer some really targeted, local prospects to you.

You also need to have a website where you can list your services and showcase the events you have done earlier. Nothing beats the impression generated by real pictures of the decoration themes and satisfied, happy clients.

Applying even a few online marketing strategies to your website will put you ahead of scores of other me-too websites.

Blogging & Social Media

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you are well aware of the social media revolution sweeping the world. Create a blog and share good tips. Your potential clients will get to know about your skills and will get in touch when they have a need for your services in their family.

Share your knowledge about the latest trends in the wedding industry. Try to become a thought leader. Discuss the new trends in the wedding market. Run a survey, ask open questions to your readers about what they like and what they don’t in the marriages they attend.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram, Snapchat etc are very powerful media. Join these if you can set aside some time daily or weekly to interact with the people. These media have such a strong traction that you can generate a powerful word of mouth within a few days or weeks.

The Power of Testimonials

You must develop a process to get a testimonial from each of your clients once their event is over. It will be great to have at least a few video testimonials but you can also get a written testimonial with a photograph of the client.

Most of the people are at a loss about what to write in the testimonial. You can use this template to guide them:

  1. What were your expectations when you hired us?
  2. How well did we meet these expectations?
  3. What specific benefit did you get by hiring us (like cost savings while buying things, saved time to look after the business, managed to have unique decoration, the food was awesome).

Some people will ask you to write the testimonial on their behalf. Avoid this. Your self-written notes will sound similar. Also when they write good things about you, they get a sub-conscious signal to refer you to their acquaintances.

Client Referrals

As mentioned above, a reference from a friend or family member can convince a potential client much more than your best Powerpoint presentation can. Feel free to ask your satisfied clients to refer you to their associates.

If they are happy, they will feel good about helping their friends organise a great event with your help. To keep this desire alive, you should consider staying in touch with your clients by sending them periodic cards. A small, tasteful gift can work wonders with the well-connected clients.

Every time I receive an anniversary card and a bouquet from my event organiser, I feel a strong urge to refer him to someone to return the gesture. Leverage this principle of reciprocity.

Vendor Partnerships

You must be having a good relationship with several vendors whose services you use when doing different events. If you develop a good mutual understanding with them and refer regular business to them, you can definitely expect them to refer you to people who ask them for good resources.

Wedding professional circle is close-knit; wedding vendors see one other at various weddings they are hired for. They know each other’s strength and thus can endorse you for any upcoming wedding event.

Use Modern Tools

Your clients want their events to look the best. This is a social status thing.  If you use the modern tools and concepts in the events you organise, you create the impression of a well organised, contemporary company with a good grip on the new trends. This helps you garner more business as well as charge a decent fee for your services. You don’t have to fight for the change.

A very useful tool in this context is WedPlan: The Online Wedding Planner Software. When you use this, you make your team very efficient and therefore, you can spend much more time thinking up smart new ideas for the events.

Check out a free demo here! You will be happy you did.

 

Client Service Tips for Wedding Planners

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Client Service Tips - get an A+Customers are your prized possessions and as a wedding planner, you should continuously strive for various ways to satisfy them.

Here are some client service tips which will enable you to organise an eventful nuptial.

Brides/grooms-to-be hire you to plan and coordinate their marriage because they are short on time and/or ideas and need a helping hand. Either they are busy with their professional life or they want to spend more time with family and friends. Thus, ensuring a smooth execution of the event becomes your responsibility.

While others are working on delivering the expected, you should plan something extraordinary that your clients did not even expect.

Continue to read below and discover ways to enthrall your clients.

Exclusive offers – Be extraordinary

* In India, it is quite common for a bride and her family to face typical emotional stress before and after marriage. She will be leaving her parental home and start a new journey with a new family. In this state of mind, a would-be bride will appreciate if you go beyond your specific role as a Wedding Planner and arrange for exclusive meditation and yoga classes to ease her stress.

* Your client might be one who is going to settle abroad after the marriage. Ask her if you could enroll her in a relevant foreign language class at a nominal fee.

Pre-Marriage events – Add special touch to the wedding

Bengali culture has a ritual of hosting the last feast (aiburobhaat) especially for the bride or the groom by their families, before the marriage:

* You can provide them with food vouchers or a generous discount from their favourite local restaurants where they can have a great time.

* Introduce this ritual among clients of other cultures (while sustaining their own custom) and impress them with authentic Bengali traditional cuisine experience.

Mehendi is a popular pre-wedding function of all north Indian marriages. It is an all-women ceremony organised at the bride’s home where dholki is played and a traditional folk song (suhaag) is sung. Although it is quite different nowadays with choreographers and DJs, yet make it more unique.

* Introduce colour themes in the occasion. Ask relatives to wear a similar coloured dress and have fun.

* Organise singing competitions among the bride’s/groom’s families and acknowledge the winners with hand-made prizes.

Venue Decoration – Experiment with themes

* Make special lighting arrangements to create a dramatic effect during important rituals such as exchange of garlands or sindoor dan.

* Decorate the wedding venue with pictures and decor from some exotic destination wedding location and provide a destination wedding experience locally.

Hospitality arrangements for children and senior guests

* Keep a children corner in the wedding venue where children of all ages can have fun while their parents get busy with the marriage rituals and socialising.

* Provide comfortable seating for senior citizens with a special large screen TV so that they can enjoy watching the rituals. Employ one or two volunteers from your end to take special care of the elderly.

* You can also arrange for a wheel-chair to take an elderly guest from the date to the mandap.

Innovation – Important client service tips

* Bride/groom’s transportation: Ditch the idea of using only cars. You can get the groom to ride a mare (ghori) or an elephant. Introduce vintage ideas such as horse-drawn chariots and make the procession more enjoyable. Similarly, use traditional palanquin (doli) for the bride when she finally leaves her parental home.

* Your gift: A romantic gift for the newly-weds on their first night will really tug at their heart strings.

Whether you are an established wedding planner or new to the industry, you need to understand your clients well before laying out plans for them. There are no hard and fast rules for a great client service. Having an empathy for them and a willingness to walk an extra mile is all you need. They depend on you – don’t let them down at any stage.

Plan and manage the logistics with WedPlan online wedding planner software and focus on the creative aspects where you can carve a special niche.

Crazy offer for Wedding Planners – Call for Details

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Are you still planning client weddings with the good old Excel?

Your business is to provide a great experience to your clients, not struggling with Excel. Doing it the hard way only gets you more frustrated and leaves a scope for damning errors.

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Software for Wedding PlannersWedPlan helps you to plan and manage the complete wedding through a modern, efficient software that your entire team can use together – 24×7 from anywhere in the world. This frees you to focus on serving your clients (what makes you money).

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Customer Testimonial: Adhiraj Didwania

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The best reward for a software publisher is a good customer testimonial. I am happy to share the one received from Adhiraj Didwania.

“I subscribed for the WedPlan service in August 2015 for my wedding which was coming up in January 2016. WedPlan made my wedding planning very structured, and its well-planned and meticulous features never gave me an opportunity to miss out on any detail whether it is ceremonies, gifts, events, vendors, card distribution etc.

Foreseeing my marriage in early 2015, I had already started preparing a detailed guest list on Microsoft Excel with my parents but the comprehensiveness which WedPlan allows in its own data of guest list is simply amazing. It allows one to go into great details such as providing individual preferences and facilities for guests, setting reminders about serving them on certain dates and occasions etc.

WedPlan’s interface is pleasing to the eye, easy-to-use, comprehensive and easily accessible across mobile devices. Further, on incurring any difficulty, the WedPlan team, especially the founder, Arun-ji is just a call away from fixing one’s issues. The team indeed is very proactive and understanding and it is a pleasure to work with them. The WedPlan team is kind enough to follow-up on its services regularly and this made me appreciate their services very, very much.

I would highly recommend WedPlan to all, especially non-tech-savvy individuals because they will be really surprised as to how easy this software will be to use practically and allay the tension and feverish nervousness in the midst of executing a big, fat Indian wedding.”

Thanks Adhiraj. We will continuously strive to make clients like you happier 🙂

The free, no-obligation demo can be requested here.

Common Mistakes in Planning Indian Weddings

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Indian weddings are elaborate and require extensive planning. Small slip-ups can come in the way of flawless fun and guest satisfaction. Most mistakes happen because you are getting too much stressed looking after everything yourself. Careful planning and timely execution can help in a big way.

Let’s look at some of the common goof-ups and bloopers which have the potential to undo your hard work, leave you embarrassed or your guests disappointed.

Budget considerations: You must draw up a carefully thought-out budget with broad and detailed views. But we Indians are so often found guilty of it. The moment you let emotion take precedence over your rationale, know that you are in for trouble. You need to deliberate and match your expectations with available resources at every point and plan accordingly. Plan a budget effectively and save yourself from over-blowing it.

Consult all stakeholders: Consult all stakeholders like the bride (or the groom), your own family and close friends for new ideas and get a draft budget. Some areas will need you to loosen the purse strings to get the wow factor while you can sit tight in other areas. If you have hired a wedding planner, he/she can give you an idea of the expenses involved in the different aspects.

Don’t miss out on an important guest: Ah! This is such a real threat to so many Indian weddings. We tend to miss out on some important family members or business associates. Start building your guest list early and refine often. Approach the list group wise like own family, maternal side, paternal side, in-laws, business associates, clients, vendors etc. Keep in mind that you will end up adding at least 25 guests to the list at the last moment.

Create separate guest lists for various events: Every guest is not invited to every event. You need to mark guests event wise. So you may be inviting 300 guests in one event and 800 in another.

Invite your guests as early as possible: It is only natural that you would want your closest friends and relatives to be available for your nuptials. They should be informed about the wedding schedule as early as possible. Cards are sent much later but you should send “block your date” notices early so that they can make their plans. Outstation guests have to book tickets which become costlier if not booked early.

Request R.S.V.P: This is still not very popular in India but the concept has many advantages. You can get a fair idea of how much accommodation you need for outstation guests. You can request RSVPs in email invites. Call and confirm with those who have not responded to the emails.

Steer clear of busy vendors: Popular vendors are busy. They will have multiple assignments on the day of your events. However, you must ensure that they personally supervise your functions or appoint a senior level guy who can take quick, on the spot decisions when needed.

Don’t feel shy to negotiate rates with your vendors: We are often too shy to ask for discounts or negotiate rates with our vendors. Most vendors keep some margins to reduce rates on request. However don’t squeeze them so much that they are forced to cut corners.

Constantly follow up with your vendors: You need to be regularly updated on the progress of the different activities status and take note of any impediments that the vendor may be facing.

Work closely with your makeup artist: The bride and the groom need to discuss the planned make-up in sync with the wedding dress. This will result in a harmonious look. If you are not well-rested, no makeup in the world can make you look gorgeous.

Give enough time to your photographer: The photographer needs to meet your family people a few times so that he can identify all the members fairly well. This will ensure he can take good shots and cover them well during the different ceremonies.

Discuss beforehand the songs your DJ would play: It is very common for us to appoint a DJ for the wedding. You should review and / or guide him about the mood you want to build up and he should be guided as to which songs to play and not to play. You don’t want him playing a popular raunchy number during a wedding function.

Try to avoid inaccessible venues: The venues get booked quickly and identifying and booking venues should be done at a very early stage. Some great venues may become a misfit during different seasons. A lovely outdoor venue will be useless in the hot summer season while a low-lying venue will be inaccessible during rains. Transport connectivity & parking facility are also important considerations.

Ensure that your venue has the basic amenities: A lot of venues don’t have proper basic amenities. It would be prudent to check whether it has standard washrooms and lavatories, first aid kits and proper security arrangements in place. If your venue lacks these amenities and the management cannot help, you should make those arrangements from your end or have some backup options.

Check whether your venue has a separate antechamber for the bride: This is a very important requirement which is often overlooked. A bride needs a small private chamber to freshen up, rest her back or just catch up in private with her mom or sister for a word or two before or after the wedding, away from the glare of the camera and the prying eyes.

Familiarize yourself with the venue beforehand: It is extremely important that you and close members of your family visit the venue multiple times before the wedding. You should know the venue like the back of your hands. You should know which stall has been put up where and which room is for what purpose. Don’t act like a ‘guest’ in front of your guests on the all important day.

Make proper seating arrangements: A lot of times we forget to make proper seating arrangements for our guests. Often, there are kids, expecting mothers, elderly as well as sick guests who may be inconvenienced by the lack of enough seats. Have enough number of chairs and importantly get them placed strategically so that they can be availed easily.

Try to have backup plans: The most important advice that I give to all my clients and friends is – don’t leave anything to chance. If you are hosting your wedding in an open space, make plans for unexpected weather. Don’t let it play spoilsport. If you are having a destination wedding, arrange for transport facilities to take your guests around. Don’t hope for things to fall in place on their own. It is always wise to be prepared for any kind of contingency.

Monitor your buffet spread: Start the buffet a little early so that the guests who are in a hurry can be served. Ensure that the food is hot and the containers are regularly refilled. The guests should not be kept waiting for food to arrive once a container in the counter has been emptied. If your guest list is primarily non-vegetarian with a few vegetarian invitees, there have been instances where not enough attention has been paid to the vegetarian stalls.

Delegate duties to responsible members of your family: You cannot manage it all alone. Assign responsibilities of different departments and functions to family members and friends. Review the progress regularly though.

Attend to all your guests. Some guests are super-special. However, you should personally attend to each of your guests. Ensure that they are comfortable and enjoying the rituals. Ask those close to you to be vigilant and see that no guest leaves unattended or dissatisfied.

Drink enough water and follow a proper diet: So often we stop eating properly before an important event in our life because we are so tensed. This is just the time when we should be eating a good diet and having enough water.

Feel happy and wear it on your face: Marriage is a happy union of two souls. Always wear a radiant smile on your face. Make your guests feel comfortable. Drown in the gaiety. Happiness is infectious. If you look happy, people around you will be happy too. Don’t sit with a stressed or grumpy look.

I wish you all the best for your wedding and hope that you don’t get anxious or nervous. I also recommend that you take help of a professional and reliable, end-to-end wedding management software, WedPlan. With this, managing the logistics become easier and you can focus on the creative aspects and most important – the occasion.

 

 

Punjabi Hindu Weddings – Fun-filled Rituals which Enthrall

Punjabi Hindu weddings are loud and extravagant.” Really? This is a common perception that the world has about them. But I have a different view. Are they a fun-loving race? Yes, but so are most of us. Only that they are probably a bit more expressive than some of the other Indian ethnic races. I will discuss their wedding rituals to establish my point.

You would never find the mood sombre even at such a solemn occasion. There is a dazzling array of colors on display, beautiful ladies decked up in designer lehenga-cholis and heavily embroidered sarees and handsome gentlemen in sherwanis and expensive branded suits. Continue reading

Gujarati Wedding rituals: Glittering Weddings in Vibrant Gujarat

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Gujarat is a land of different shades and hues. Gujarati wedding rituals, in tune with the soul of people of the land, are also very colourful. People of Gujarat, a proud ethnic race, have achieved modernity that is an inseparable part of affluence that they have attained through the sweat of their brows. But instead of turning iconoclastic, they are to this day dearly upholding their various customs and traditions.

Let’s embark on the journey that Gujaratis go through when they have a wedding in the family.

Pre-Wedding Rituals

Chandlo Matli

Gujarati Wedding Chandlo MatliChandlo marks the commencement of the marriage alliance. In this ceremony, the father of the bride along with four close male relatives of his family visits the home of the groom and marks his forehead with red vermilion. A circle is usually drawn at the center of the forehead which signifies the third eye or awakening of his spiritual conscience. The father of the bride also gives a gift or token money, also called

The father of the bride also gives a gift or token money, also called shagun to the groom. Traditionally, this is also the ceremony where the wedding dates are formally finalized, creating a strong, unbreakable bond between not just the engaged couple but also their families.

Sagaai or Gol Dhana

Gujarati Wedding SagaaiThis is the Gujarati engagement/ring ceremony. It is held at the house of the groom and the close family members from both sides are invited. The bride and her family arrive with savouries and other gifts for the groom and his family in a container called matli.

The would-be couple exchanges rings, formally accepting each other as their future partners. Often the Chandlo Matli and the Sagaai happen on the same day. The elders, especially married women bless the couple one by one, wishing them connubial harmony. The name Gol Dhana or Gor Dana comes from the fact that coriander seeds and jaggery are distributed during the sagaai.

Mehendi/ Sangeet Sandhya or Sanji/Garba

Gujarati Wedding mehendiThis is an informal ceremony which takes place two or three days before the day of the wedding. It is a ceremony of mirth and lighthearted banter. Mehendi, henna dye is applied on the hands and feet of the bride and other ladies of the house. Mehendi is considered auspicious and an inextricable part of any Indian wedding ritual.

This is followed by singing and dancing (the traditional Garba or Dandiya Raas), all through the evening till late night and ladies crack jokes and try to make the bride loosen up. A similar ceremony resembling a bachelor’ party also takes place at the residence of the groom.

Pithi

Gujarati Wedding PithiThis ritual is usually held a day or two before the wedding. Pithi is a mixture of crushed turmeric, sandalwood powder, herbs, rosewater, and perfumes. This mixture is primarily prepared by the paternal aunty of the bride/groom. It is put on a decorated platter and taken to the priest who blesses it.

The mixture is then applied to the body of the bride/groom a day or two prior to the wedding and also on the morning of the wedding. It is believed to enhance the glow or the radiance of the body of the bride or the groom.

Mameru or Mosaalu

Gujarati Wedding MameruThis is a ceremony in the Gujarati wedding rituals where the maternal uncle or the mama of the bride presents her gifts for her wedding. Usually, the saree or lehenga she would wear during the marriage ceremony, ivory bangles or chooda and other jewellery are bestowed on the bride. The bride touches the feet of her mama and

The bride touches the feet of her mama and mami and asks for their blessings. Mameru or Mosaalu, generally take place a day before the wedding.

Mandap Mahurat and Grah Shanti

Gujarati Wedding Mandap MahuratA puja seeking the benediction of Lord Ganesh and other Gods is performed before setting up the Mandap where the wedding rituals would take place. The designated spot is covered with a canopy.

Immediately following this ceremony, Grah Shanti puja is also performed. This is a Puja performed to invoke the blessings of the nine planets, asking for a favorable union of the two families, peace in the house and a trouble-free marriage. Grah Shanti puja is performed at the houses of bride as well as the groom.

Wedding Rituals

Baraat or Varghoda and Ponkhana

The groom leaves his home with his baraat or wedding procession. Before leaving the home, the groom’s sister would wave a bag full of coins over his head, partly to ward off any evil attack and partly to remind him of his duties to her as the brother even after his marriage.

The groom then sets off on a caparisoned mare towards the wedding venue with his friends and relatives in tow. They usually follow on a motorcade or walk, depending on the distance.

They dance and make merry. This is known as Baraat or Varghoda.

By the time the groom alights from his mare, the family of the bride is already waiting at the entrance to receive and greet him. The bride’s mother then does mangal aarti of the groom and puts a tilak on his forehead. The rest of the guests are also welcomed with aarti.

Ponkhana is the ritual where the mother of the bride holds the nose of the groom playfully to remind him that it is he who has come to their home to ask for the hand of her daughter and he must make every effort to keep her daughter in good humor and comfort always. The groom also bows before his would-be mother-in-law to express his gratitude and humility. He is then lead inside. His path is strewn with earthen pots which he has to crush with his feet signifying his ability to overcome obstacles.

Jaimala or Varmala

After entering the premise, the groom is greeted by the bride and they exchange garlands. This is known as Jaimala. To make the proceedings funny, the bride and the groom are lifted by their friends on their shoulders and they compete to lift them more than the other group and make it difficult for the bride/groom to exchange the garlands.

Kanya Agaman and Antarpat

After Jaimala, the bride retires to her private chamber while the groom is led to the mandap where he waits for the bride. A veil or curtain called Antarpat, is then raised around the mandap.

Meanwhile, the bride makes her way towards the mandap, escorted by her maternal uncle. As the wedding rituals proceed, the curtain separating the bride and the groom is slowly lowered. The ceremony is called kanya agaman.

Madhuparka

Gujarati Wedding MadhuparkaAs the groom is considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu or Narayana, the groom is invited to the mandap by his future mother-in-law and his feet are washed and dried by his future father-in-law.

After this, the groom is offered a special drink called Panchamrut which translates to the nectar of 5 ingredients. The ingredients are milk, sugar, ghee, yogurt, and honey. Following this ritual, the sisters and the female friends of the bride remove (steal) the shoes of the groom which he had taken off before entering the mandap.

To get back his shoes, the groom tries to negotiate the “ransom” amount and only when both sides agree on an amount, the shoe is returned. There is a lot of fun interaction and negotiation during this event.

Kanya Daan

This is a ritual where the parents of the bride hand her over to the groom. They put the left hand of the bride in the right hand of the groom. This signifies that from now on the groom makes a formal commitment to take care of all the needs of the bride, which were heretofore the concern of her parents.

The groom is considered a human form of Lord Vishnu and the bride, his earthly consort, an avatar of Goddess Lakshmi. The bride sits on the left of the groom and the wedding rituals are performed in front of the pious wedding fire that is ignited to solemnize the wedding.

Hasta Milap

After the Kanyadaan, the scarf or the end of the dhoti of the groom is tied to one end of the saree of the bride and the would-be couple also hold the hands of each other. This signifies the union of two souls, body and mind.

The priest chants mantras and shlokas and implores the blessings of Lord Vishnu and Devi Lakshmi and Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati and prays for an unbreakable conjugal bond between the couple. The assembled guests also come forward to bless the couple and sprinkle grains of rice, sometimes with their husks intact and flowers on them.

Mangal Pheras

In Gujarati weddings, the bride and the groom go around the sacred fire, completing four rounds with the pyre in the center. Each such round is called a mangal phera and with each round the groom chants mantras along with the priest to entreat his bride to give him her loving support throughout their married life. Hindus believe that our life is built on the four pillars of dharma, artha, kama and moksha and each phera represents one such pillar.

Saptapadi

This is a very important ritual. When you are talking about a Hindu wedding, the first thing that crosses your mind is probably saptapadi and this ritual has become the leitmotif of marriages depicted in Indian movies also. The groom is followed by the bride as they complete seven rounds around the sacred fire and take seven unbreakable marriage vows with each round.

The exclusivity of this ritual in a Gujarati wedding is that after completing each round, the couple stops and the bride touches seven betel nuts with her right toe before embarking on another round. Through these mantras, the groom seeks the support of his wife.

Saubhagyavati Bhava

This is a typical Gujarati wedding ritual in which seven married women from the bride’s side move around the couple and whisper blessings and good wishes in the right ear of the bride. This ritual is called saubhagyavati bhava, where they wish for the good luck, happiness and prosperity of the couple.

Aashirvad

After the completion of all the wedding rituals and the couple have been declared married, they touch the feet of their elders and ask for their blessings. The elders also oblige and pray for their overall happiness. This marks the end of the wedding ceremony.

Chero Pakaryo

This is also an amusing ritual in the Gujarati weddings. Following the completion of wedding rituals, when the mother-in-law of the groom passes by him, he tugs at the end of her saree motioning her to give him some gifts. He is then given some token gifts which he cherishes.

Post-Wedding Rituals

Vidaai

Gujarati Wedding VidaayiAfter the wedding, it is time for the wedded couple to leave. The groom returns back to his home with his newly-wed wife. It is a very emotional and tear-jerking moment when the bride bids farewell to her family and relatives who have brought her up and asks for their permission to leave. There are tears of joy and sadness, all at the same time. Usually, the brothers of the bride escort her out of the home and the couples leave in a bedecked car or a horse-drawn carriage.

Gharni Laxmi

Gujarati Wedding Gharni LakshmiA welcome ceremony is organized at the ‘new home’ of the newly-wed wife. Married ladies including the mother-in-law and sisters of the groom welcome her. The bride is treated as Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and it is believed that the bride would bring in good fortune and lots of wealth into her new family.

The mother-in-law places a vessel or a pot full of rice which the bride has to upturn by touching with her feet. Red lac dye is applied to her feet and the imprint is taken on a white cloth which is then bound in a frame. The bride accepts her responsibilities towards her new family.

Aeki Beki

Gujarati Wedding Aeki BekiAfter the welcome, the couple is sat and made to play a fun game. It is known as Aeki Beki. A vessel full of water is kept in front of them. Milk and vermillion is then dissolved into the water-filled vessel. Several coins and a ring are put into the vessel. Now the bride and the groom try to find the ring.

The game is repeated seven times and it is a common belief that of the two, whoever would find it four out of seven times, would reign over the house i.e. that person would be more authoritative.

The day comes to an end with a prayer to ask for the long and healthy life of the couple, marital bliss, everlasting love and prosperity. After this, the couple retires for the night to their private suite and consummates their marriage.

As I have mentioned at the beginning of this post, Gujarati weddings are full of colour, life, and endless gaiety. They are simple yet full of pomp and grandeur. This longstanding institution binds together many different generations of the same family. It is a joyous occasion which gives an opportunity to all the members of the extended family to meet, taking time off from their busy schedules.

A complex wedding required thorough planning. People used to plan with diaries and Excel sheets. But now there is a better option. WedPlan wedding planning software takes care of the logistics planning part which would give you enough time to deal with the creative aspects of the wedding as well as spend more time with your guests and family. Try out the no-obligation and FREE demo and experience the convenience of efficient end-to-end planning and management!

 

 

 

 

 

Marwari Wedding Rituals – Elaborate & Fun

A Marwari wedding, like all Indian weddings, is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and exuberance. These weddings are also very grand and colorful. Authentic Marwari weddings are a throwback to the ages of the Vedas and the great Indian sears who described the rituals in great details in the Vedas.

But you should not even for once think that these rituals have become antediluvian. Strangely, they are still very relevant to the Indian context because there is a deep philosophical and scientific logic behind each of them.

And frankly speaking, without these quaint rituals, a Marwari wedding would be incomplete!

So let us now turn our attention to some of the most important rituals which are indispensable to any Marwari wedding – be it in a family hailing from Eastern Rajasthan or Western Rajasthan or Haryana. Continue reading

WedPlan Software: Not Only for Indian Weddings

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“Is WedPlan useful for planning and managing only Indian weddings?” This is a question which is often asked by our foreign clients and prospective customers. The answer- “WedPlan can make planning any wedding much easier; not only the big, fat Indian weddings.”

Most of the complex planning and management issues of weddings across the world are similar. We developed this software with the belief that complex problems require simple solutions.

Let us see some common challenges of planning a wedding and how WedPlan solves them:

Guest Data Management

Probably the biggest challenge of them all. You will suddenly recall one more name just at the last moment and need to update all lists quickly. Including them in the invitee list, getting an updated count and like. Easy-peasy with WedPlan. And completely secure too.

E-invites Management

Sending e-invites in keeping with the current trends? WedPlan lets you send personalized e-invites to your guests with an optional RSVP option. Your guests can just click on the button in the email and update their RSVP status.

Scheduled Text messages

WedPlan lets you send text (SMS) messages on a pre-defined schedule with smart lists. All new guests added till the time of sending the text get included in the list automatically.

Integrated Task Manager

Wondering how to keep track of the 1000s of tasks related to the event plans? We have got you covered. WedPlan includes a fully integrated team-based task manager so that you can assign tasks to your friends and family members who are helping you with the arrangements.

Budget Planning

You need to plan the budget for your wedding, right? WedPlan will make the cost calculations and budgeting process much easier than using clumsy Excel sheets where you need to set formulae for everything.

Events Calendar

WedPlan includes an event calendar that shows all the events in a nice calendar view including the ceremonies, arrival and departure records for the outstation guests. Now you can have complete peace of mind and stay organized.

Vendor Management

WedPlan helps you to record venue and vendor details in a common location, easy to recall and look up whenever you need it.

Anywhere, Anytime Access

The software can be used from anywhere, at any time and you just need a browser and an Internet connection. Superb option for a multi-location situation where the different people helping in the planning are in diverse cities or even countries.

All these facilities make WedPlan a truly “global” product. 

There are so many more things you can do through this online wedding planning software. Check them out for yourself. Take this no-obligation, FREE DEMO and discover the pleasure of convenience and power.