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Christian Wedding Ceremony

Mangni: Engagement
A priest officiates at the ceremony. The groom's family arrives at the bride's home with gifts for her, which include a sari, some jewellery and green glass bangles. The couple exchange rings, while the priest recites prayers.

Uptan: Beautification of bride
Powdered sandalwood and dried herbs are ground into a paste with jasmine oil and applied to bride's face, arms, legs and feet. The bride may not leave the house after this ceremony and must certainly not meet the groom again till the wedding day. To the catchy rhythm of a 'dholak' (small drum), ladies sing traditional wedding songs.

Shagan: The couple is blessed with gifts
The groom's family brings gifts in the form of clothes, jewellery and green glass bangles for the bride; and the bride's family in turn presents the groom with a gift of clothes and perhaps a watch or gold chain.

Sangeet: Celebration with music
Even though it is not a requirement, most families these days prefer to host a 'sangeet' party. It can be a simple gathering of family and close friends or as elaborate an affair as desired. The ladies sing traditional folk songs to the beat of the 'dholak' (small drum).

Holy Matrimony: Wedding ceremony
The nuptials take place in a church usually in the late afternoon. Ushers seat guests separating those from the bride's side from the groom's on either side of the aisle. The groom accompanied by the Best Man takes his place near the altar.

Her mother's brother receives the bride at the church entrance. He hands her over to her father who leads her inside the church, preceded by three priests, the flower girls and lastly the bridesmaids. The entire congregation stands up as the organ plays 'Here Comes the Bride'. The guests remain standing until the procession has passed to the front of the church and the bride is handed over to the groom.

The couple kneels before the altar. It is customary for two or three people close to the families to read sections of poetry meaningful to the couple. The priest begins the service with the recitation of The Intention (a reading of specially selected Psalms from the Holy Bible). The priest then asks the congregation if anyone has any objection to this marriage.

A reading from the Scriptures follows and then the priest reads out the 13th Corinthians - a passage from the Holy Bible on love and commitment, a popular choice at all Christian weddings.

The Best Man hands over the wedding rings to the priest for his blessings. The couple then exchanges marriage vows in English, Hindustani or Hindi as chosen by them. Wedding rings are exchanged and they are declared man and wife and the groom is allowed to kiss the bride - though some Indian families do not favour the kiss, thinking it to be against Indian culture.

Next, the couple proceeds to the vestry along with their parents and the priest to sign the church register.

The Reception: Post wedding celebrations
No Christian wedding is complete without the reception, hosted usually by the bride's parents and sometimes jointly with the groom's parents. It is often held immediately after the wedding. The bride may choose to change her attire for this celebration.

The couple cuts the rich plum cake, so common to Christian weddings. The wedding reception is replete with the services of a live band playing music and Western style dancing. The dinner menu rarely deviates from the traditional 'yakhni pulao' (cooked lamb served with rice), chicken curry and fish!

Vidaai: Bridal send off
If the groom and his family have come from another city, before they depart, the couple visits the bride's parents and bids farewell to all the bride's relatives. Prayers are offered and the couple receives blessings. The bride leaves with her trousseau and all her wedding gifts in a decorated car.


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