Looking for a wedding photographer for your Gujarati Indian Wedding? Gujarati Weddings have certain rituals which are different from Hindu weddings. As an expert Indian wedding photographer, we have learned over years these 5 things you need to know before photographing Gujarati Weddings.
It is important to know and understand the meaning of these rituals as this helps us photograph these rituals better. Indian weddings are generally filled with different ceremonies and these small details helped us deliver our clients their precious moments.
If you need to hire a photographer who has never photographed a Gujarati wedding before then here are 5 things you need to know before photographing Gujarati Weddings which are unique to Gujarati wedding vs other Indian Hindu weddings.
These tips can help your photographer be better prepared to capture these special moments. These rituals are very important for parents to see in your full wedding product and they might be upset if your photographer was not able to capture these moments.
Here are some rituals which are unique to Gujarati Wedding Ceremonies.
1. Vidhi or Pre-Wedding Ceremonies
Vidhi is essentially the four poojas or prayers performed one or two days before the wedding. The Mandva Mahurat & Griha Shanti, Pithi, Mameru or Mosaalu, and Santak are all part of the pre-wedding ceremonies, the Vidhi, which are distinctively done at Gujarati Hindu weddings.
– Mandva Mahurat & Griha Shanti
Mandva Mahurat is a special puja performed seeking the blessing of Lord Ganesh before the setting of the Mandva (i.e. the mandap). Traditionally, parents of both the bride and the groom seek the blessings of the Earth and dig the soil where they would build the wedding mandap. Today, this could be done more symbolically.
Immediately after designating the mandap location, the Grah Shanti puja is performed. This prayer is asking for the blessing from the universe for the auspicious union of the two families. The Grah Shanti is performed at both the bride and groom’s homes to ask for peace, protection and removal of any obstacles for this union.
Santak is a puja performed by the bride’s parents the day before the wedding where the bride is given away by her parents before the wedding. This is only for close related family and friends. The prayer is usually in support for the bride.
Pithi ceremony is also known as the haldi ceremony. During this ceremony, the bride or groom sits on a low stool and it is the prerogative of the kaaki (paternal uncle’s wife) to mix the pithi (a paste of sandalwood powder, herbs, rosewater and mogra / attar (a type of perfume)). She then arranges the pithi on a decorated platter which is blessed by the priest. Then the mixture is applied on the bride or groom. The pithi is said to enhance the flow and radiance of the skin.
– Mameru or Mosaalu
Mameru means maternal uncles. This is the ceremony where the bride receives gifts from her maternal uncles which consist of traditional clothes, jewellery and other gifts items including the traditional sarees and choodo (ivory bangle).
2. Garba and Dandiya Nights
Garba is a form of dance which originated in Gujarat and Dandiya are sticks. This is probably the more cultural part of the Gujarati weddings. A folk dance which is a quintessential part of every Gujarati wedding. People wear colorful traditional Gujarati dresses and dance on the beats of Garba and Dandiya. Garba/Sangeet and Mendhi are combined these days in Modern US/Canadian Gujarati Weddings.
3. Ponkvu/Grabbing the Nose & Breaking the Pot
Gujarati mother-of-the-bride’s welcomes the groom to the Gujarati wedding ceremony in a fun-filled and interesting way. In a ceremony called Ponkvu or Ponkhana, the bride’s mother first performs an aarti and then playfully pulls the groom’s nose and takes him to the wedding venue. This denotes that the groom needs to be humble, grateful and respectful towards the bride and her family.
Following this, the groom steps on the clay pot breaking into pieces, demonstrating that he has the power to overcome all the obstacles the couple may face in their married life. He is then escorted to the mandap where the marriage ceremony is going to be held.
After the jai malaa ceremony where the bride and groom exchange flower garlands, the couple takes their seats for their Gujarati weddinga at the mandap. Then, the Antarpaat, a cloth is placed between the bride and the groom like a curtain to prevent them from seeing each other. It signifies their individual lives and existence prior to the ceremony. Removing the antarpaat signifies two souls becoming one.
Some Gujarati families play a game at this point as well. Each side of the curtain is held by the brother of the bride and brother of the groom. Whoever pulls the antarpaat or the curtain to their side wins the game.
In traditional Gujarati wedding ceremonies, the vidaii is a bit more organised. All the men and women of the family will make a line and the bride will go meet everyone before the actual vidaii. Each family member will give her some token of money as a blessing for her new life. Some cultural rituals also break a coconut in front of the car’s wheel before the bride leaves.
Note – Our purpose is to educate our clients and if we are missing something please help us improve this material. Not all Gujarati weddings are the same and some rituals can even vary depending on the origin of your last name. After shooting so many Gujrati weddings we are still learning different rituals.
Check out our blog on Gujarati Wedding in Florida.