Shaadi, otherwise known as ‘wedding’, is an Asian celebration which is very grand, large, and colourful, and tends to last for several days. A Shaadi is filled with ritual and celebration, and guests can range from 100 people to a whopping 10,000- some of whom could be unknown to both the bride and groom and their families. The Shaadi tradition can be structured into pre-wedding ceremonies, the wedding day itself, and the Vidaai- when the bride officially moves in with her groom. There are other traditions involved with a Shaadi, and all make for a truly spectacular occasion to remember.
Even though the majority of Asian weddings are arranged, there are some people who decide to marry each other purely for love and without celebrating with their friends and family. The traditional wedding is all about bringing the two families together but without much emphasis on the bride and groom themselves, and also to parade their wealth and health. As the times move on many Asian couples, especially those living in the UK or America, are mixing the Western traditions with their own ceremony, including cutting the cake, the first dance and the speeches.
If you are planning your Shaadi, then you will know that you are in for a real treat of lavish celebrations. The reason for such a long process is to ensure both bride and groom fully take the seven marriage vows in accordance with tradition. Usually, the pre-wedding ceremony is a musical evening organised by the bride’s family as a way of bringing the two families closer together, and is an excellent chance for everyone to let down their hair after many weeks of planning. Each celebration may differ from other Asian ceremonies if the families involved have their own family or local traditions to follow, depending on where the bride and groom come from.
The wedding ceremony itself is usually an elaborate affair, and again can last a lot longer than a Western wedding. The priests play a big part and they often recite the joining of the couple in their own language (if not English), and the bride and groom themselves take plenty of vows and promises to each other instead of the usual ‘I do’. The wedding day starts with the bride getting her henna tattoos done before getting ready, and the groom rides on either a decorated horse or elephant. He will wear a very colourful outfit and with it carry a ceremonial sword which he uses to knock on the door of the venue before entering. The door is answered by the bride’s mother who greets her new family.
There is always a lot of planning and organising before the Shaadi to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. The average cost of a Shaadi is estimated at around £30,000- this covers the many different ceremonies and provides for each of the very many guests as well as the beautiful and colourful decorations along the way. It also covers the honeymoon and can sometimes be provided to start the newlyweds off on a good financial note. It is usually the bride’s parents who pay the costs, but the groom’s parents are beginning to help with this too.
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