There are a lot of steps and symbolism in Gujarati weddings. Guests who have never attended a Hindu wedding ceremony usually find ceremony guides helpful for them to understand what is happening. Feel free to use the wording below to help you while you’re creating your Gujarati wedding program. Just change out Sanjay and Meera with your names.
At the bottom of this page, I’ve linked our DIY instant wedding program designs you can use with this wording. Congratulations and good luck with the rest of your wedding planning!
SO YOU’RE GOING TO SIT THROUGH AN INDIAN WEDDING
BARAAT (SANJAY’S PROCESSION)
Sanjay, his family, and his friends get their balle balle on while making their way to the wedding venue. A potential dance off may ensue.After sizing up their dance moves, Meera’s family welcomes Sanjay’s family to the wedding venue.
POKHAN (SANJAY’S ENTRANCE)
Meera’s mother checks out Sanjay to make sure he is fit for Meera. She will measure his height with a string and test his physical strength by having him crush a sapatia (small clay pot) with his foot.
GANESH PUJA (PRAYER TO LORD GANESH)
After proving himself, Sanjay is escorted to the mandap (wedding altar) by Meera’s mother. There Meera’s parents ask Lord Ganesh to remove any obstacles that may arise.
ANTARPAT & KANYA AGAMAN (MEERA’S ENTRANCE)
To make sure Sanjay doesn’t catch a sneak peek, an antarpat (white cloth) is held in front of him prior to Meera’s entrance. Meera enters the mandap with her mamas (maternal uncles) by her side.
HASTA MELAP (ENTRUSTING THE DAUGHTER)
Meera & Sanjay literally tie the knot. A cotton cord is placed around them, Meera’s hand is placed in Sanjay’s, and a knot is tied using Sanjay’s scarf and Meera’s saree. The antarpat can now be removed.
VARMALA (EXCHANGING GARLANDS)
Meera & Sanjay show they formally accept each other (if you didn’t believe it before) as husband and wife by exchanging flower garlands.
MANGAL PHERA (CIRCLING THE HOLY FIRE)
The agni (holy fire) is lit to invite God, the ultimate witness to the marriage (you’re pretty great too). Instead of marshmellows, with the help of Meera’s brothers, Meera & Sanjay offer jav-tal (wild grain & sesame seeds) before each walk around the fire. Each revolution around the fire represents four basic goals of humanity:
Dharma (moral obligation to lead a good life),
Artha (prosperity & sustenance),
Karma (the concept of “action” to shape past, present, and future), and
Moksha (liberation and contentment).
SAPTAPADI (SEVEN STEPS)
Meera & Sanjay take 7 steps over soparis (beetle nuts) to mark the start of their married life. Each step represents:
Today, an 8th and 9th step are added representing Sanjay’s promise to do the dishes and Meera’s promise to limit her monthly shoe purchases.
MANGAL SUTRA, SINDOOR & RINGS (THE BLING)
And now for the bling! Symbols of marriage are given to Meera & Sanjay: a mangal sutra (sacred necklace with black beads) is tied around Meera’s neck. Sanjay applies sindoor (vermillion powder) on the parting of Meera’s hair, and wedding rings are exchanged.
KANSAR & AASHIRWAAD (SWEETS & BLESSINGS)
Meera & Sanjay say goodbye to their diets and hello to sugary goodness, symbolizing future sweet moments of happiness.Meera & Sanjay are blessed by the Brahman (priest) and their families for a wonderful future.
VARAVA VANU (MEERA’S FAREWELL)
Meera bids an emotional farewell to her parents, family, and friends as she begins her new life. Sanjay bids a touching farewell to his bachelordom.