Weddings in India

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Weddings in India vary according to the region, the religion, the community and the personal preferences of the bride and groom. They are festive occasions in India, and in most cases celebrated with extensive decorations, colour, dresses, music, dance, costumes and rituals that depend on the community, region and religion of the bride and the groom, as well as their preferences.[1] India celebrates about 10 million weddings per year,[2] of which about 80% are Hindu weddings.

Hindu marriage ceremony
A fancy Indian wedding taking place in Puducherry
Bengali Hindu wedding in Kolkata

Ceremonies in Hinduism[edit]

While there are many festival-related rituals in Hinduism, vivaah (wedding) is the most extensive personal ritual an adult Hindu undertakes in his or her life.[3][4] Typical Hindu families spend significant effort and financial resources to prepare and celebrate weddings. The rituals and process of a Hindu wedding vary depending on region of India, local adaptations, resources of the family and preferences of the bride and the groom. Nevertheless, there are a few key rituals common in Hindu weddingsKanyadaan, Panigrahana, and Saptapadi; these are respectively, gifting away of daughter by the father, voluntarily holding hand near the fire to signify impending union, and taking seven steps before fire with each step including a set of mutual vows. After the seventh step and vows of Saptapadi, the couple is legally husband and wife.[4][5][6] Jain and Buddhist weddings in India, share many themes, but are centered around their respective religious ideas and texts.[7][8]

Other religions[edit]

Indian Sikhs get married through a ceremony called Anand Karaj, a ritual started by the third leader of Sikhism, Guru Amar Das. The couple walk around the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib four times.

Indian Muslims celebrate a traditional Islamic wedding, with rituals include Nikah, payment of financial dower called Mahr by the groom to the bride, signing of marriage contract, and a reception.[9]

Indian Christian weddings followings traditional Christian marriage customs. Among Protestants in India, the betrothal rite celebrates the engagement of a couple, with prayers being offered for a couple and engagement rings being blessed by a pastor. A day before the wedding, the Haldi/Ubtan/Mayun ceremony (as it is known in northern India) or the Roce ceremony (as it is known in the Goa area of India) is held, in which "haldi or turmeric paste is applied on North Indian Christians and coconut paste is applied on South Indian Christians." After some time, Indian Christians are married in a church wedding, during which, the couple meet in the presence of a minister, often in a church or place of worship. Readings from the Bible take place. The bride and groom take their marriage vows. The bride and groom often exchange rings as a sign of their endless love.[10]

Interfaith marriages in India, especially between Hindus and Muslims, have been the subject of legal constraints in some states, vigilante harassment, and fears of violence.

Marriage age[edit]

In the past, the age of marriage was young.[11] The average age of marriage for women in India has increased to 21 years, according to the 2011 Census of India.[12] In 2009, about 7% of women got married before the age of 18.[13] Arranged marriages have long been the norm in Indian society. Even today, the majority of Indians have their marriages planned by their parents and other respected family members. Recent studies suggest that Indian culture is trending away from traditional arranged marriages.[14] Fewer marriages are purely arranged without consent and that the majority of surveyed Indian marriages are arranged with consent. The percentage of self-arranged marriages (called love marriages in India) have also increased vastly, particularly in the urban areas of India such as Mumbai and Delhi.[15]

Wedding industry[edit]

Weddings are a major business in India. According to a report by KPMG in 2017, the Indian wedding industry is estimated to be around $40–50 billion in size.[16] It is the second largest wedding market after USA, which is at $70 billion.[17] While the industry is very unorganised with small and medium scale businesses, there are also corporates who are trying to tap this industry. The prime factors for growth in the industry are the rise of middle class in India, an overall booming economy and use of social media.[18] It is estimated that the cost of an Indian wedding ranges between ₹500,000 to ₹50 Million (from US$6,747.14 to US$674,743.50, respectively). An Indian is likely to spend one fifth of his total life time wealth on a wedding.[19]

Destination weddings[edit]

Many Indian celebrities choose destination weddings,[20] and Indians take inspiration from them. Both domestic and international destinations are popular for weddings in India. The destination wedding industry in India is estimated to cross ₹450 Billion in 2020.[21]

Wedding photography[edit]

Pre-wedding shoots along with wedding photography are also having a big stake in Indian weddings. Average Wedding shoots can cost ranging from ₹15,000 to ₹100,000 per day.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sari nights and henna parties, Amy Yee, The Financial Times, May 17, 2008
  2. ^ India's love affair with gold, CBS News, February 12, 2012
  3. ^ Hindu Saṁskāras: Socio-religious Study of the Hindu Sacraments, Rajbali Pandey (1969), see Chapter VIII, ISBN 978-81-208-0396-1, pages 153–233
  4. ^ a b The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M, James G. Lochtefeld (2001), ISBN 978-0-8239-3179-8, Page 427
  5. ^ History of Dharmasastra, Vaman Kane (1962)
  6. ^ P.H. Prabhu (2011), Hindu Social Organization, ISBN 978-81-7154-206-2, see pages 164–165
  7. ^ Natubhai Shah (1998). Jainism: the world of conquerors. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 203, 263. ISBN 978-1-898723-30-1.
  8. ^ Axel Michaels (2015). Homo Ritualis: Hindu Ritual and Its Significance for Ritual Theory. Oxford University Press. pp. 102–104, 266–268. ISBN 978-0-19-026264-8.
  9. ^ Three Days of a Traditional Indian Muslim Wedding,
  10. ^ Das, Debomitra (21 June 2021). "Meanings of rituals in Christian weddings". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  11. ^ Heitzman, James. "India: A Country Study". US Library of Congress. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  12. ^ Women and men in India 2012 CSO/Census of India 2011, Government of India, pp xxi
  13. ^ K. Sinha Nearly 50% fall in brides married below 18 The Times of India (February 10, 2012)
  14. ^ Manjistha Banerji; Steven Martin; Sonalde Desai (2008). "Is Education Associated with a Transition towards Autonomy in Partner Choice? A Case Study of India" (PDF). University of Maryland & NCAER.
  15. ^ David Pilling (June 6, 2014) Review – 'India in Love', by Ira Trivedi; 'Leftover Women', by Leta Hong The Financial Times
  16. ^ "The recession-proof Big Fast Indian Wedding just got more corporatised". Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  17. ^ Pandit, Virendra. "Big fat Indian wedding market has foreign 'suitor' Zankyou lining up". @businessline. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  18. ^ Urs, Anil. "Destination wedding industry to reach market size of Rs 45,000 crore by 2020". @businessline. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  19. ^ "The Big Fat Wedding Industry in India: Recap of 2015 and outlook for 2016". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  20. ^ "Indian celebs who married outside India".
  21. ^ Behrawala, Krutika (2019-08-02). "Interactive rituals, GIF corners and VR: the story of 2019's small Indian weddings". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  22. ^ "A 34-year-old Indian photographer's income has grown over 42 times in 15 years — thanks to big, fat Indian weddings". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  23. ^ "One wedding photo shoot..Make it viral please! - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-08-27.

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