From colors, customs, traditions, music, and food, there is one sure way to make your trip to India an unforgettable experience; attend an Indian wedding. My husband and I went to our very first Indian wedding in Hyderabad, India where we witnessed firsthand some of the most amazing Hindu traditions and were humbled by the outpouring of heart-warming hospitality from people we had just met.
We received a wedding invite from the bride’s cousin, Preetham, a very good friend of Matt. Not only did we receive a wedding invite, but we were also invited to stay in Preetham’s family home in Hyderabad for ten days and were asked if we wanted to partake in the pre-wedding ceremonies leading up to the big wedding day. It was an opportunity we could not pass up.
Over the course of five days we had the privilege of partaking in the pre-wedding rituals and ceremonies at the bride’s family home; in addition to eating the most delicious home-cooked Indian cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From the bright colors of the Haldi (turmeric) ceremony, the mesmerizing sounds of the dholak drums during the Sangeet ceremony, the intricate henna designs at the Mehendi ceremony, and the peaceful Ganesh Puja (prayer) ceremony, each ritual was very different and elaborate and offered symbolic importance.
There were over 2,000 guests in attendance on the wedding day. Flowers and bright colors everywhere. I did not think it would be possible to top the past five days we had just been a part of, but sure enough, the wedding ceremony itself surpassed all five with its detailed decor and elaborate ceremony. Did I mention I was invited by the bride-to-be on stage alongside her bridesmaids and family to watch the ceremony front and center? I was even given my own sari to wear.
There was so much food (vegetarian biryani, samosas, fried rice, white rice, naan, roti, paneer, aloo gobi, chana masala, etc.) and different varieties of food (Indian and Chinese) that I felt like I was dining at the Bellagio buffet in Las Vegas, Nevada. There was even a dessert table with endless options.
Women and men alike were dressed in their most elegant attire wearing very colorful saris and sherwanis and adorned from head to toe in gold jewelry.
Travel Tip: In places like India, you will take a ton of photos! Don’t get caught with a dead battery! Bringing a backup portable charger is a great way to make sure you have the power you need to make it through the day. We prefer this portable charger. Find this and other tips on our Travel Tools page.
This Indian wedding experience was easily one of the most exciting weeks of my travels so far. After attending this Indian wedding it has taught me that the value of a shared experience is priceless. Matt and I were able to experience this wedding and this family’s traditional, cultural ceremonies together. We experienced new things together that we have never seen or heard of before.
We learned so much about India’s culture from the generous family that took us in and the new family and friends we met during our journey. This was my second time and Matt’s third time visiting India and each time we visit is different, every experience is unique. Travelling this vast, big, beautiful world together to learn about new cultures together is why we do what we do. It’s a bonus when you meet such lovely people who are so welcoming and hospitable like we did in India.
If you ever get a chance to attend an Indian wedding (and especially any of the pre-wedding rituals and ceremonies) do not hesitate, just go!
Traveled October 2017