Ideas & Inspiration for Indian Weddings
The wedding business is huge in India with over 10 million weddings being held each year. Renowned for being grand, lavish and overtly extravagant it will come as no surprise that the Indian wedding industry is worth an estimated $25bn – growing 30% each year – and that a whopping 900 tons of gold is purchased during the wedding season. Multiple elaborate jewel adorned outfits, stunning vibrantly coloured decorations and a menagerie of exciting entertainment is all to be expected.
In Indian culture a couple’s wedding involves the ENTIRE family. From siblings and parents to the most distantly related cousins and aunts, everyone helps out with the organisation and it is not uncommon for up to 10,000 people to be in attendance on the big day – that is a lot of people to keep entertained!
But extravagant Indian weddings aren’t just held in India, in fact the Indian wedding industry is booming in America and has grown enormously within the past few years almost outpacing India’s own market. Fusion weddings between America and India are becoming increasingly popular and couples are increasingly looking for unique ways to combine mixtures of the two different cultures. The average Indian wedding in America costs on average $200,000 with events spanning four days and incorporating up to 20 different vendors.
There are four main components to an Indian wedding: The Sangeet, the Baraat, the sacred fire and the reception.
The Sangeet takes place two or three days before the wedding and is a time for celebrating, singing and dancing and it presents the perfect opportunity for wedding guests to get to know each other and the two families to join together and enjoy themselves. The bridal and groom’s party each learn songs and dances that they then perform at the ceremony. A vibrant high-energy affair with musicians galore a Bollywood brass band as entertainment would fit right in. One of the most colourful, joyful and exhilarating acts around, they perform classics from the Golden Age of Bollywood, current hits and their stage show can feature Bollywood film clips and dancers! They provide fun entertainment perfect for the Sangeet! Alternatively, our Bollywood dancers are extremely popular with Sangeet nights as they not only give stunning performances but can also teach exciting dance workshops. Couple’s and their families’ can have fun learning from the professionals and create their own amazing production to perform later!
On the wedding day the proceedings begin with the historically extravagant entrance of the groom – the Baraat. Traditionally arriving on a horse or elephant accompanied by a procession of singing and dancing family friends, grooms of today are now finding exciting new ways to arrive whether it be helicopter, parachute or jet ski. There are a whole host of unique entertainment options when it comes to the groom’s procession! Our Asian Parade acts offer a menagerie of up to 30 performers including acrobats, jugglers, stilt-walkers, musicians and dancers. Dressed in stunning imperial costumes with authentic make-up they create an impressive visual impact that caters to both the traditional and non-traditional Indian wedding!
The ceremony begins in earnest once the bride and groom meet under the Mandap. In a traditional Indian wedding the bride is escorted down the isle by her whole family, which is followed by an elaborated ‘giving away’ ritual. The bride’s father would pour sacred water into his daughter’s hand and place her cupped hand into the hand of her groom. The groom’s sister or cousin would then tie the end of the groom’s scarf to the bride’s sari and adorn with copper coins and rice. In many fusion weddings this long ritual has been shortened or adapted to adopt the bride being walked down the isle by her father and the exchanging of rings. The lighting of the sacred fire is still an important part of Indian weddings as it symbolises a divine presence and coincides with the Magnal Phere and the seven sacred steps. With each step the couple take a vow:
Together we will live with respect for one another. Together we will develop mental, physical and spiritual balance. Together we will prosper, acquire wealth and share our accomplishments. Together we will acquire happiness, harmony and knowledge through mutual love. Together we will raise strong, virtuous children. Together we will be faithful to one another and exercise self-restraint and longevity. Together we will remain lifelong partners and achieve salvation.
Again many couples combining both Indian and Western influences in their ceremony may choose to adapt these vows, incorporate new vows or substitute them completely. In keeping with the both the Sangeet and the reception that follows the ceremony, the ceremony itself is an opportunity for elaborate entertainment. Imagine entering and leaving the venue, or walking down the isle, to the impressive sound of a full orchestra.
Perfect for both traditional and fusion weddings, this utterly compelling orchestra has provided scores for feature films and plays a unique blend of classical western influences and distinctively Indian sounds. Alternatively, our talented grade seven Bollywood pianist provides stunning background music that will create a magical atmosphere for your ceremony. Specialising in Bollywood and romantic songs he can also perform piano versions of contemporary songs. Classical Indian dancers are also an elegant yet eye-catching addition to Indian wedding ceremonies. Once the bride and groom have completed the seven steps this is the point where traditionally rings and sweets would be exchanged before the couple leave for the reception to a shower of rice and flowers!
What follows at the wedding reception is an extravagant and elaborate celebration complete with vibrant music and performances, multitudes of delicious catering and the odd outfit change or two – especially if you’re having a fusion wedding with two different styled dresses! Bollywood actors are a favourite for some of the biggest Indian wedding receptions as well as shows and dancers. Surprise singing waiters and waitresses are incredibly popular with up-scale weddings, surprising the guests and sometimes even the bride and groom they provide an unforgettable, exciting entertainment experience that cannot be matched. Our Bollywood themed flash mob waitresses bring to life the vibrancy, colour and infectious rhythms of the Bollywood genre. The girls will serve drinks and food, keeping their true identity under wraps until they unveil their colourful costumes and burst into a fully choreographed Bollywood dance, blowing guests away in the process! If you’re having a fusion wedding and choosing to take a more western approach to entertainment for the reception then we have a range of alternative surprise acts on offer.
Our aerial silk performers from Delhi will add a stunning spectacle to any wedding reception as they twirl, fall and spiral their bodies through sheaths of silken fabric suspended from the ceiling. All classically trained they have performed all over the world and worked with top fashion designers such as Tarun Tahiliani and Malini Ramani and provide an elegant touch midst the kaleidoscope of vibrant dancers and musicians.
Every big Indian wedding needs a wow factor performance for the finale. Ticket to Bollywood gives a spellbinding performance in three parts full of dizzying colours, fabulous visuals and high-energy music. The show incorporates traditional Indian folk and festival dances as well as the great Indian wedding dance scenario! A medley of classical Indian music with lots of cross-cultural influences this high-end show will certainly wow guests. Alternatively – or why not have both! – you could top off your big day with an exciting firework performance complete with fire dancers! Mesmerising and beautiful, fire works will add a magical touch to your Indian wedding as sparks of light burst into the darkened sky and shower to the ground creating a spectacular and memorable show.