If you’re getting married in a traditional Christian wedding in Kerala, there are a couple of ceremonies that you need to plan for- the engagement, the wedding, the reception, and the post-wedding virinu or visits to the homes of relatives. Since the wedding ceremony in Kerala is appropriated from both western and Indian traditions, it gives the bride a chance to experiment and wear different styles of outfits for each of these ceremonies.
The journey starts with the engagement or ‘manasamadham’, where the bride and the groom exchange engagement rings, and their families formalise the union in a church. Sometimes, families opt for a less formal engagement, where the ceremony is solemnised at a secular venue in the presence of a priest. The bride and groom are dressed a little less formally for this occasion than they would for their wedding. This ceremony is more intimate than the actual wedding, as it is only attended by relatives and friends. The bride can chose from a wide range of outfits and hairstyles for this occasion, while the groom wears a classic tuxedo, a sherwani or the traditional mundu and white shirt. While selecting outfits for the engagement, you have luxury of putting beauty before comfort, as this ceremony is quite short. This might be the perfect time to wear that pair of stunning heels, or to wear your hair in a fancy hairdo. The bride is not expected to wear lot jewellery for this ceremony, so this should be a great time to wear that necklace you love, that your mother thinks isn’t fancy enough for your wedding day. If you plan to have your engagement at an auditorium or hall, then the décor and theme should ideally be a less formal or ornate than what you plan for the main wedding ceremony.
After the engagement is over, most brides have a couple of months before their wedding. It is a good idea to get your outfit and shoes ready early on, so that you have time to get the sari stitched well. Try the blouse on three weeks before the wedding, so that you have time to make alterations. Whether you’re having an arranged marriage or not, you won’t be buying the wedding sari or gown on your own. While your mother and aunts will have a lot of opinions to offer, you might want to consider what kind of material would suit your body type. As for shoes, given that bride is expected to stand for a considerable amount of time in church, it is not advisable to wear heels to the wedding. Settle for low-heeled or flat footwear, and your feet won’t be killing you on the most memorable day of your life. For your hair and make-up, pick a stylist a month before your wedding, and try out looks and hairstyles with her. You might want to make sure that the hairstyle you choose does not require your hair to be pulled back very tightly, since you might end up with a headache after a couple of hours. While you can experiment with heavier make-up for the engagement ceremony, it is generally better if you opt for lighter make-up on your wedding. Some foundation cream, and a delicate palette of natural shades of colours will compliment your look, since you’ll be dressed in a very ornate outfit and wearing lots of gold jewellery.
On the morning of the wedding, the bride and groom are dressed for their wedding by their close relatives. While you’ll have your mother or aunts or your stylist draping the sari for you, you could opt for a different style of draping your sari rather than the traditional style. There are different draping styles that suit different body types, so this could be a sure-fire way to look absolutely stunning as you walk down the aisle. Once you’re dressed for your wedding, it’s time to get into a car decorated with floral bouquets, and make a grand entrance. After travelling to the church, on the off-chance that you might need to make little adjustments to your outfit, make sure one of the women in your bridal party carries some quick fixes.
The wedding ceremony takes anywhere from one to three hours depending on your church and its particular customs, so make sure that you’re well rested and hydrated-you don’t want Kerala’s heat, and the bright lights in the church to make you faint. During the ceremony, the bride and groom exchange rings, and the groom ties the minnu or mangalsutra around the neck. He then drapes a red or maroon silk sari called the manthrakodi over her head. Make sure you take this part of the ritual into account, and plan your hairstyle around this.
The wedding reception usually takes place in a large hall or auditorium, and the bride is dressed in the manthrakodi. The groom does not have to change for the reception unless he’s planning on coordinating outfits with the bride. The bride and groom are received by their family and made to sit on a decorated stage, while their families, friends and relatives give them gifts and congratulate the happy couple. This is usually followed by a grand feast.
Chances are that as the bride or the groom in a traditional wedding scenario, you won’t get much say in the menu for the reception feast, as these details are decided by the families. However, if you have a wedding planner, then you could contribute ideas for the décor, place settings, and stage decoration for the reception. The food at traditional Christian weddings includes meat dishes like lamb curry, beef curry, and chicken or duck curry, that is eaten along with rice, appams or rotis.
After the reception, the bride is welcomed into the the groom’s house by his mother, and she gives the bride a traditional lamp called the ‘nilavilkakku’. The bride has to enter the groom’s house by stepping inside with her right foot, as this is considered auspicious. The official ceremony is concluded with the bride and groom drinking sweetened milk, which is supposed to be symbolic of joy and prosperity.
In the days after the wedding, the bride and the groom are expected to visit their relatives for dinner or lunch, called the ‘virunnu’. After which, the newly married couple take some time for themselves and set off on their honeymoon, and the beginning of their lives together.
Oct 11, 2012 0
Oct 11, 2012 0
Aug 08, 2013 0