A Traditional Indian Wedding in Rockleigh, NJ by CLY Creation

What really gets me about Shital and Darshan‘s wedding, is how incredibly important their heritage and wedding customs are to them (and how beautifully they pulled them off). From the sangeet and mehndi night filled with music and henna to the  traditional hindu ceremony and the westernized reception (with one of the most gorgeous cakes I have ever seen!), this three-day wedding is a total must-see! There were literally so many incredible photos that I decided to split up this post into three days. Also, you have to watch their video at the bottom — it’s incredible.

Day 1 — The Sangeet & Mehndi (Music and Henna Night)

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They kicked off their three-day wedding weekend at The Imperia in Somerset, New Jersey. Shital had gorgeous mehndi designs (henna) painted onto her feet and hands. Afterward, family and friends performed a special Bollywood-style dance (how cool is that?). Fun fact: According to tradition, the darker and deeper the henna stain, the greater the love between husband and wife and the more a bride’s mother-in-law loves her!

Day 2 — The Manglik Prasang (The At-Home Hindu Religious Ceremony)

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On day two, close friends and family attended the Mandva Mahurat where the women of the household worshiped Lord Ganesha. The bride and groom had separate Haldi ceremonies where relatives and friends applied yellow turmeric paste all over their faces, arms and legs. The bride and groom also took part in the Griha Shanti, an important religious ceremony in which the bride presents a coconut, or shriphal, to her parents and they then present it to the priest as a sacrifice, or ahuti. The groom does the same. This ceremony is said to invoke harmony between the planets. To conclude the day, the brother’s wives and unmarried girls received pots from neighbors filled with water and flowers and carried them back to the bride’s house dancing along with the pots on their head– this is known as the Varadh which signifies a strong tie between families.

Day 3 — Traditional Hindu Ceremony

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The day began with a groom’s processional, or Baraat, where the groom and his family and friends danced their way to the wedding venue. Traditional drummers, or dhol players, got the party started with energetic drumming. The bride was then carried in by her uncles, brother and close male cousins. The couple exchanged jai-malas, or floral garlands, and performed the Agni Pooja, or lighting of the fire, during which prayers were offered to invite God to witness the couple’s marriage. The bride and groom then circled the fire four times signifying four basic goals of human life: Dharma (righteous duties of life), Artha (prosperity), Karma (positive actions of love and family), and Moksha (salvation).

The bride’s parents washed the couple’s feet with water and a holy mixture to show them respect. Then the bride was given away by her father who placed a loop of raw cotton around the couple to signify their union. The bride’s sari and the groom’s scarf were tied together with a betel nut, coins, rice, grass, and flowers which signify fertility, prosperity, longevity, and happiness. To close, there was the traditional exchange of vows and rings.

Day 3  — Shital and Darshan’s Wedding Reception

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Shital and Darshan’s reception took place at The Rockleigh Country Club in NJ. The decor was very sophisticated and romantic with a color palette of light pinks and succulent greens. The reception was similar to any other culture’s reception, with food, music and dancing. Check out the eye-catching lotus cake by Palermo Bakery!

All photography by CLY Creation

Want more? (Of course you do.) You have to see their video!

Shital & Darshan Wedding Celebration from AMISH THAKKAR on Vimeo.

> See more photos from the couple’s wedding
> Learn more about wedding customs around the world