My groom and I - wearing our flower necklaces
I would like to share the story of my wedding ceremony - a Keralite ceremony which forms a part of Indian marriage culture.
I am from a Hindu family and my marriage party was celebrated in a grand way. Like other castes, the day before my marriage there was a grand reception in my home which began at about 5pm. Beauticians came to my home and put on my makeup, including some traditional henna painting. I wore a saree and some specially selected jewels and my hair was decorated with jasmine flowers.
During the wedding reception in my home, the groom and his family members came to my home and my new sister-in-law-to-be gave me the wedding box. This box consists of a wedding saree, footwear, jasmine flowers, bindhi etc for me to wear during the marriage ceremony. After she handed the box over to me, I gave her a bangle/bracelet in exchange.
We entertained them with food which they all gladly ate and then they left.
The following morning I went to the temple and officially departed from home my according to rahukalam.
Our marriage ceremony was held in an auditorium which was decorated with many flowers and other materials. Prior to all this however, the beautician came once again and put on my makeup once more. Our marriage was in the kalyana mandapam. All the elderly members of the family were seated near the mandapam while all other relatives were seated as audience to see the marriage.
About half an hour before marriage ceremony began, the groom and his relatives arrived. He came and sat at the mandapam then I joined him there as well. I gave money which is called "dakshina" to my parents and elders and they gave me their blessings as a reward. Me and my parents stood in front of a photo of our god and poojari sang prayer.
After this part of the ceremony, I returned to sit on the kalyana mandapam next to my groom. Then we both stood up and my father-in-law gave money to poojari and we gave thali-mala to my father-in-law who then handed it to my husband (the groom) and he tied it on my neck. I in turn tied a flower necklace on his neck. Then we both returned to the mandapam and sat back down.
To make it official in the eyes of the law, we all signed the marriage register. During the signing of the marriage register, our close relatives came and presented us with gifts.
Finally, we had our wedding lunch which is called as sadhya. After this I went to the groom's house. When I reached the courtyard his mom invited me in with a lightened lamp which she handed to me. I entered the home and kept that lamp in the front room. She then gave me a glass of milk and a banana, which she and I both shared.
And from that moment our new married life began!