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Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Culture:



BY Shivangi sahni

May 1, 2022

Have you attended festivals like Splore or AUM NYE, or EarthBeat? If you answered yes to any of these, then you know how large scale these festivals are; and they are just like a stereotypical Big Fat Indian Wedding.

However, as the times have evolved, so has our culture and our rituals. I’m not saying that the fancy large 3-day destination weddings don’t happen anymore, but Indian culture has taken the one day wedding affair as a big hit. You ask why? Well, for one, the couples have realised EXACTLY WHAT they want from their wedding day and how much they ACTUALLY want it. 


Indian parents have evolved too. Well, most of them at least. The financial control has shifted from the parents to the bride and groom; so they get to decide how much they want to or can afford to spend on their wedding day. I mean don’t get me wrong; Indian weddings are still huge and full of sparkle - but the sparkle level is controlled by the bride & groom, not the society. Not anymore.

A typical big fat Indian wedding is still expected to have at least three big functions to solemnise an Indian wedding; according to the Indian traditions. There should be a Turmeric applying ceremony, a DJ/cocktail night full of laughter and dancing; where both the groom and brides celebrate separately before the wedding day. Then there is also the henna night on the bride’s side. A big wedding followed by an even larger reception party is a thing of the past. 


We have now started to see how the best of both worlds can be achieved, according to your ideal wedding dream; without having to worry about the Indian societal norms around Indian weddings & how they should be. For example, with Bollywood celebrities like Farhan Akhtar and his now wife Shibani Dandekar; to Priyanka Chopra marrying Hollywood popstar Nick Jonas; and with people like myself. 

Lilly Singh

Photograph courtesy of Lilly Singh, via Instagram

Let’s begin by talking about Bollywood’s superstar Priyanka Chopra’s wedding looks. She married Nick Jonas in 2018. They had both Christian and Indian wedding ceremonies. For the Christian wedding, Priyanka wore a custom Ralph Lauren gown, whereas Nick rocked a classic black suit also custom designed by Ralph Lauren. For the reception party, Priyanka wore a flowing red Dior gown (red is considered as a bridal colour in India). A stunner! With the gown, she chose to wear the Indian newly-wedded bangles also known as Chooda in Hindi.

jose villa

Photograph by Jose Villa, courtesy of Priyanka Chopra, via Instagram

For the Indian wedding ceremony, both Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas chose the world-renowned wedding garment designer; Sabyasachi for their unique pieces. Priyanka wore a beautiful deep red two piece lehenga, whilst Nick wore a custom golden Indian attire; sherwani. According to People magazine, it took 110 embroiderers, and a total of 3720 hours to create her detailed garment.

Wedding DSC04127.webp
Wedding DSC09648.webp

Photographs by Varun Aditya

Her official statement was, “I love that our wedding [was] a religious mash-up," she added “we [took] beautiful traditions that we both grew up with and we [personalised] them in a way that makes sense for us... It's been incredible to find the commonalities between our beliefs and figuring out how to blend them in a respectful and meaningful way." They even called their whole wedding extravaganza a Mashup. Rightly said!


Actors & lovers Shibani Dandekar and Farhan Akhtar, who were married last month, took a completely different approach to their wedding ceremony. They chose a Christian wedding at their private farmhouse in Mumbai, followed by a civil union in Mumbai. 


The couple’s farmhouse wedding ceremony was a dreamy fairytale celebration with red & gold floral decorations everywhere. The dashing groom; Farhan, wore a classic black tuxedo designed by Govind Mehta. Shibani, who was raised in Australia, went for a more contemporary outfit. She picked designers JADE by Monica and Karishma for her wedding ceremony—opting for a strapless lehenga gown with a bustier. The skirt featured one of the most loved silhouettes from the 90s—the mermaid flare. She paired the gown with a scalloped dupatta that she wore as a veil. In addition to their own line, JADE helms The Chanakya School of Craft—a non-profit organisation that helps educate women in the rich craftsmanship and embroideries of India. The school has worked extensively with designer Maria Grazia Chiuri for her collections for the house of Dior. Her choice of the colour red also seemed like an ode to quintessential Indian wedding rituals.


Photographs by Sam and Ekta Photography - Courtesy of Shibani Dandekar Ahktar

They exchanged vows, celebrated with their loved ones, and all-in-all had a fabulous time in an intimate ceremony. The way THEY wanted it to be!

Farhan and Shibani's civil marriage took place on February 21, 2022 in Mumbai. Farhan Akhtar wore a golden sherwani from designer Sabyasachi Mukerji for the civil wedding and Shibani Dandekar opted for a pastel saree from designer Anamika Khanna.


Photographs courtesy of Shibani Dandekar Ahktar & Farhan Ahktar


Lastly, this one wedding I attended last year was also a beautiful fusion of Indo-western culture. The wedding was mine. Me and my now husband Skip; we both are from very different cultures and decided to pick & choose what we both wanted our wedding to have. Rather than exchanging our rings at the ceremony, Skip put Mangalsutra; a necklace put by the Indian groom onto his bride. We even sang our vows and the venue was decorated with many of Skips’ art pieces and my mom’s sarees that I had collected over a year. I knew they wouldn’t be able to attend our wedding because of the pandemic, and hence decided to have a part of her in every corner of the venue.

In conclusion, I feel as though the times are changing. We have more freedom to choose how we want our wedding day to be. 

We made our own rituals while respecting our separate cultures, and thanks to evolving, we had the luxury to have our wedding, OUR WAY


Photographs by One Scene Photography - Courtesy of Shivangi Sahni

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