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The Simple Guide to Hindu Wedding Traditions

Hindu weddings are some of the most vibrant, colourful and interesting weddings around. There are a host of events, each filled with sacred tradition and meaning where not just two souls are joined together, but it is also the union of two families. For the uninitiated, it is easy to get lost in the rituals but since our team has experienced quite a few Hindu weddings, we’re here to help you find your way around if you’re ever invited to one!

There are a few important stages, which are the key elements of the Hindu wedding ceremony. The whole thing usually takes place under a canopy called a mandap. It is always beautifully decorated.

To have a smooth wedding ceremony, Ganesh Poojan is performed a few days before the wedding or even the night before. This is when the priest offers a prayer to Lord Ganesha (the elephant headed god) to remove any obstacles so the ceremony can proceed without hindrances.

The groom is welcomed as he makes his entrance during the Jayamaala or Vara Yatra ceremony, amidst much singing and dancing. In fact, music is a key component throughout the Hindu wedding! The bride’s parents, family and friends greet the groom and his party while blessing the groom with rice, applying tilak on his forehead and placing a garland over his head. He is then led to the mandap to await his bride-to-be.

The bride is then offered in marriage to the groom in a solemn ritual called Kanyadan, which means “gift of a maiden”. It is often accompanied by the giving of a dowry. In this ritual, the father places his daughter’s hands into the groom’s, signifying that she is separated from her family and incorporated into the family of her husband’s. Speaking of hands, the bride’s hands are usually decorated with intricate henna designs.

The groom takes his bride’s hands in his to signify his acceptance of the bride as his lawfully wedded wife and ties the first knot of the mangalsutra around the bride’s neck. His sister ties the other two knots symbolizing acceptance into the family. The mangalsutra is a holy thread with gold pendant, a symbol of marriage and the sacred bond between a husband and his wife. This is considered one of the most important rituals of a Hindu wedding.

The Saptapadi is the main and legal part of the ceremony. A marriage knot is symbolized by tying the end of the groom’s scarf to the bride’s dress. The couple then takes seven steps around the fire, representing the seven vows exchanged between them – for nourishment, strength, prosperity, health, happiness, progeny and harmony – sealing their marriage forever. No ceremony is complete without this.

The wedding ceremony ends with a benediction by the elders and priests in the Ashirvada. The couple is blessed for a prosperous married life ahead of them.

When the rituals are over, then comes the food and more dancing and singing! Everyone really gets into the groove, whether young or old. That’s one of the reasons why it’s simply so fun! Of course, there are a few variations to the customs and some additional ceremonies. Each one is timeless. Each one presents a wonderful photo opportunity and we love being a part of it!

If you’d like to see the ceremony in action, have a look at Jason and Seetha’s wedding ceremony here:

Contact us if you would love to have our team photograph your Hindu wedding ceremony.

Ceylonese Wedding: Kogulan & Rathinee

There is just an unexplainable feeling that you get that makes you KNOW that he’s the one. I thought that all these kinda things happens in the movies but it was only then that I believed it…


Kog and I first met in 2010 at a party and got introduced by a mutual friend. It wasn’t love or hate at first or anything like that. We consecutively met and got to know each other. The more conversations we had, we more attracted we got. Naturally, we just wanted more.

Finally, in Feb 2011, he asked me out on our first date. We were just so comfortable with each other from the beginning. We went out on more dates, and just after 2 weeks he asked me to be his girlfriend. I really did like him, but thought it was going too fast, and all he had to say for that was; what is there to wait for when I already feel that this is so right! And I felt exactly the same!

The closeness we felt towards each other and the sense of ease that we have with each other just makes us grow as a couple. There was no fuss about impressing each other, no sweet talks, just us being us.

Kog is the only guy who has actually made me feel so excited even thinking bout him, made me feel butterflies in my stomach and has actually made me speechless! (that’s a first). All the things that i did not go through in my teens, i went through then.

We just fell head over heels for each other!

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Ponnurukku: An Eelam Tamil Gold Melting Ceremony

Photographer: Grace
Dinner Reception: Subak Restaurant

In every Indian wedding, the most important element is the thali – the bridal pendant that must be worn at all times after a Hindu wedding ceremony. In Western culture, this would be equivalent to the wedding ring. The thali is made from gold and is fastened around the bride’s neck on the wedding day. But before the main wedding ceremony, there is a tradition of Ponnurukku which is a gold melting ceremony. This was my first Ponnurukku shoot, and I was fascinated by this entire ceremony.

Firstly, I found out that the ceremony is conducted by the groom’s family, in this case, Ganesh’s family. Veena, the bride was not even present during the ceremony. The event was witnessed by family and friends at home. Here’s Ganesh getting ready for the ceremony.

Love the colour and details!

All ready…

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Sri Lankan style wedding: Ganendra & Malini

Photographers: Grace & Andrew C
Ceremony: Kalamandapan Hall, Brickfields
Dinner Reception: Kelab Golf Negara Subang

When I first met Ganendra & Malini for the very first time in my home, they told me that they wanted to hire a photographer who was different – someone who would be able to capture moments and come up with creative shots. They said that they didn’t want a ‘traditional’ photographer for their wedding day. Of course, the difficult part was convincing their slightly more ‘traditional’ families that they are making the right decision. Fast forward to their wedding day and after the slideshow montage had been shown to the family and guests… I was so pleased when Malini’s mum came up to me to say, “Grace, thank you for the wonderful photographs! You managed to capture emotions, not just the event.”

I beamed. :)

Who wouldn’t?

After the event is over, the cake has been eaten, the decorations taken down, all you have are memories and photographs. I am so glad that our photos were able to record the emotions felt by Ganendra & Malini, family and friends on that special day in August.

Introducing… Malini.

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