THE Hindu engagement, Sangeet and mehndi ceremonies are all carried over to the Gujarati wedding. However, after the groom's bharaat, the Gujarati wedding takes on a more distinct flavour. The Wedding Ceremony
The groom is welcomed to the mandap by his future mother-in-law. As she welcomes him, the bride’s mother will try to grab the groom’s nose. This tradition reminds the groom that during his courtship, he came rubbing his nose at the family door asking for the bride’s hand. The groom’s feet are then ritually washed in a ceremony called madhuparka.
Seizing the opportunity, the bride’s sisters will likely steal the groom’s shoes, redeemable after the ceremony for a nominal fee. It is not known if Gujratis or Bengalis originated this tradition. Prior to entering the mandap, the groom may or may not see his bride. In some communities, when the couple are allowed to meet, they exchange garlands. The groom, in this garland ceremony (jaimala), is elevated above the bride. In antiquity, this elevation was meant to show the superiority of the groom. Nowadays, the practise has been kept for the sake of tradition.
The bride is carried or led into the mandap by her maternal uncle. The couple is seated, separated by an antarpat (curtain), as the pundit opens the ceremony with his blessings. The antarpat is then raised and the couple garlands each other.
A Gujarati wedding from this point follows closely to a standard Hindu wedding with several key additions and variations. Firstly, the elders of the respective houses will tie cords around the bride and groom’s necks, warding off evil spirits in a Varmala ceremony. Secondly, Gujarati weddings feature a variation to sapta padi. Instead of the seven northward steps that are associated with the seven promises, the groom helps the bride touch seven betel nuts with her right toe. Sapti Padi is followed by a variation of Ashirvachan called Saubhagyavati, in which married women pass by the couple whispering into the bride’s right ear. When the bride’s mother passes, the groom will tug at her sari. In the past this tradition called chero pakarvo, was a way for the groom to ask the bride's family for the gifts or dowry he was owed as part of the marriage.
A Gujarati wedding ends with Ashirwaad and the couple depart.After the Wedding
At the groom’s house the couple play a game of aeki-beki. A tray or pot of water is tinted with milk and vermilion. Inside the vessel, a ring and a few coins are placed. Both bride and groom get seven attempts to find the ring. The first one to find the ring four times is said to rule the household.