* Before the ceremony:
Before getting married, the bride at a Hindu wedding ceremony does everything to make sure her wedding day is a lucky one. A holy mam studies the horoscopes of the bride to choose the right day for the wedding, so that the marriage will be long and happy. Will the marriage be a happy one if the wedding takes place on Wednesday, or would it be better to wait until the full moon on Friday?
* On the wedding day itself
After checking all the signs very carefully, the wedding day is chosen. There are the weeks of preparation and excitement that are common to all cultures, and then finally, on the wedding day itself, before helping her with her dress, the bride's sisters and female friends paint her hands and feet with henna. Henna is a reddish-orange dyestuff prepared from the dried and ground leaves of the henna plant. When she is ready, she puts on a red sari, the colour which will bring her good luck for the marriage. A sari is an outer garment worn chiefly by women of India and Pakistan, consisting of a length of lightweight cloth with one end wrapped about the waist to form a skirt and the other draped over the shoulder or covering the head. Red is believed to be a lucky colour since it is supposed to provide protection against the evil eye.
* During the ceremony
During the ceremony, the groom's relatives place a small mark of red paste on her forehead to show she is a married woman. After decorating the bride with jewels, they cover both her face and and that of the groom with a veil. And then she is married. During the reception, the guests enjoy a feast of food and drink, while the bride and groom sit together and share their meal.
* Did you know?
When an Indian bride first steps into her new home, she has to undergo the ritual of her having to dip her feet in red water and walk bare feet on the floor of the house. That custom symbolizes the beginning of her new role as a married woman.