If you're planning an Indian wedding, you're probably already checking in with Shawna from Maharani Weddings several times a day; if you're not, head on over to her site for some serious eye candy - every wedding on her site is breath-taking and filled with details galore. We're absolutely thrilled she'll be guest blogging with us each month! (Be sure to keep reading after the photos - Shawna does a fantastic job of explaining all the different parts of a traditional Indian wedding!).

So, what does Maharani (pronounced Ma-ha-RAH-KNEE) mean anyhow?  Well, literally it is Hindi for princess, but that is really just the beginning.  Maharani is an attitude or aura that a woman carries about her. It is an air of confidence, coupled with a kind spirit and lots of distinctive style. Top that off with a touch of Bollywood flair, and the signature megawatt smile, and there you have it…a real life Maharani.

Every bride, Indian or not, can get inspiration from this next featured wedding.  Styled by the uber creative Smita Mohindra, of Ethnic Essence, and photographed by one of the most sought after Indian wedding photographers, Dina Douglass of Andrena Photography, this wedding will make you stand up and scream, “Jai Ho!”

02-indian-bride-red-dress-gorgeous
01-rings-layered-diamonds-red-background
03-indian-groom-turban-red
04-indian-wedding-details-laterns-pillows
05-indian-bride-groom-cheering
06-indian-wedding-details-bed-latern
07-indian-bride-chairs-covers-orange-pink
08-wedding-ceremony-indian-decor-set-up
09-indian-bride-groom-orange-roses
10-flowers-indian-bride-groom-gorgeous
11-bride-indian-lying-grass-turquoise
12-bride-groom-ceremony-champagne
13-bride-groom-holding-indian-trees

I love, love, love this bright, colorful ceremony.  It is just SO happy! For more of this wedding, check out Maharani Weddings today.

I am here to confirm the rumors, that yes, it’s true: Indian weddings are up to a week long and have a thousand guests.  So, what do we do for all that time?  Well, my dear, how else would we have enough excuses to wear all those beautiful saris!

Here is the breakdown of a typical Indian wedding in the US :

Day 1: Mehndi: Typically hosted at the bride’s parent’s home, this event is traditionally ladies only. Wedding songs are sung by all while the bride’s hands, arms, feet, and legs are decorated with Henna.

Day 2: Sangeet: This party takes place the night before the wedding ceremony and is filled with songs, dances, and food.  Friends & family close to the bride and groom prepare a dance number for them to popular Bollywood numbers as a blessing and gift to the couple.  The final performance – the anticipated dance by the bride and groom!

Day 3: Ceremony: Indian weddings can take place any time of day…morning, noon, or night, and in very religious families, the time and date are chosen by the priest. India is made up of 28 states, each having numerous subsets of religions and cultures, so most of the Indian wedding ceremonies that you experience in the US are combination of rituals.  That being said, almost every Indian wedding will have the following parts to it:

1.     Baraat: This is the part where there may be an elephant!  The groom arrives with his procession of barattees to pick up his bride.  It is a bright affair with tons of music and dancing.  The Groom can enter on anything from a horse to a helicopter!

2.     Jai mala: In this exchange of flower garlands, the bride and groom now belong to one another.

3.     Kanyadaan: Signifying the bride’s parents giving her to the groom, the bride’s hands are placed into the groom’s hands by her parents.

4.     Phere: The bride and groom walk around the fire and pray to God for food, physicial, mental, and spiritual health, and prosperity.

5.     7 Sacred Steps: the bride and groom will walk “7 Steps” together and make “7 holy promises” to each other, God, and their marriage.

6.     Exchange of rings: Historically, Indian brides received a toe ring on their wedding day. Modern Indian brides and groom exchange rings just like American brides and grooms, and some lucky Indian brides get their toe ring, too.

7.     First Kiss as Mr. & Mrs.: You will be surprised to come to know that 65% of Indian brides and grooms don’t kiss on their wedding day.  Modesty is a huge part of Indian culture, so the first kiss is often done behind closed doors!

Day 4: At an Indian reception you will find tons of two things: dancing and food.  They last until for hours and hours, so make sure you bring your moves and a pair of back up shoes!

For more Indian wedding yummy-ness come visit Maharani Weddings.