The wedding ceremony –
some considerations you must make
All wedding ceremonies are about placing two people
together. The Hindu wedding is no different in this
way and Hindu ceremonies are conducted by way of emotion
and scenes/rituals. By saying rituals we are not demeaning
the ceremony at all; we are merely placing a past historical
“time” and act to the ceremony; acts which
our ancestors took part in through prayer. Whilst some
may feel this is outdated, others realise the value
in this and see the beauty in some ancient traditions
carried forwards in a “modernal” manner.
If it is peace, love, and respect that you are trying
to instil into your wedding ceremony then I ask you
to consider the points I raise here carefully. Historically
Indian weddings have always been full of a “hussle”
and “bussle” with parents wanting to invite
all family and friends to the big day. Most weddings
were carried out in school halls with guests numberings
Weddings were used as a means of socialising
with family and friends we had not seen for some time.
However, as times have changed and we have experienced
western values our childrens expectations have changed
also. Meeting, greeting, feeding guests and socialising
in numbers; this worked well in the past and can still
work if this is what you want. But prayer is difficult
where the Priest has to explain and filter through this
noise. Families themselves have to cope with the changing
times by understanding what they want and what their
children want may be two entirely different things;
all this caused by time, by age and generation gaps.
Now more and more young people expect a quieter environment
during their wedding. And it is here that we must consider
what is it that we really want?
If we invite 500+ guests to a ceremony
quiet environments are difficult to maintain for children
will play. One cannot expect pin drop silence with these
numbers, I would genuinely say lower your expectations
if you have agreed a guest list of 500+. Nowadays there
is a tremendous expectation upon the Preacher to "control"
the crowd. Guests, in my humble view, are not a crowd.
I will make this clear. They are guests. As a Human
Being I can only control my own attitude and behaviour;
I can perhaps influence the behaviour of others, but
I cannot control others fully. In planning a wedding
you must therefore consider your numbers, your venue,
and the quality of the acoustics and most importantly
the music played in the background.
Of course we should not forget our
culture and there are wonderful meanings within some
of our traditional wedding songs. There is something
quite beautiful in the traditions of Indian women singing
wedding folk songs if they can sing well. If they can't
sing well my advice is this; we need to try and encourage
them to understand, but we must try to not offend elders.
What music really gives serenity to a wedding? This
is something I am often asked. Put simply, it is music
that is magical and instrumental; it can be Indian as
well as Western music that achieves this goal. And of
course guests should consider the purpose of their attendance
at a wedding. We are there for the bride, the groom
and the parents; we are there to witness vows and celebrate
the coming together in marriage of two individuals.
There are many other ways to make a
wedding a serene experience. Sometimes only a small
number are invited to the ceremony. I call this list
1. And another group, some of whom are in list 1, attend
the evening reception. But in terms of guests, guests
perhaps can be clear on what is expected of them. So
how can we all achieve this? Simple things like ensuring
there are enough seats for everyone, and separating
the Dining area from the wedding area can all actually
make a difference. Planning is critical, especially
for an Indian wedding. Ushering guests who are standing
and directing them to Chairs is an equal consideration.
No standing at the back and no seats at the side of
the Mandap all help create a perfect atmosphere.
As we move forwards into a generation
that seeks questions, and that wants to attain some
spirituality for that time, on their wedding day, where
spirituality is important, then we as people attending
the wedding can do our part in making this journey a
spiritual one also. And sometimes we must look beyond
the preacher and ourselves why what happens happens.
To end with I with I wish to make a positive comment
on inter cultural marriages. At Darshan we support anti
racism and support all marriages and partnerships. Who
people marry is a personal choice. I hope this short
article gives people an idea as to some of the considerations
that impact on a wedding and our philosophy.