Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monsoon Wedding - I

First of all, this is not a bird related post. I'm taking a small sabbatical from birding to concentrate on a personal project - My Wedding. This is the first of a short series of posts that will detail all you ever wanted to know about an Indian Hindu Wedding. I hope this will prove useful to anyone planning a wedding.

Pls Note: I belong to the GSB - (Goud Saraswat Brahmin) community.

The Horror Scope!

Finding the Groom/Bride, usually is a tedious process which involves horoscope matching. While a lot of the older Indians swear by it, most have little or no clue of what exactly is getting matched.

The matching process involves calculating a Score using 2 birth-charts or horoscopes. The Max Score possible is 36. Cut-off marks are high. The couple need to score greater than 18. We scored 24.
The Mangal Dosh (made famous by the Aishwarya Rai wedding) is cancelled out if both the boy and girl have it in their horoscopes.

Birth-charts : Are documents created when a child is born into a hindu family, noting the date and time of birth, location (latitude and longitude) among other things. The positions of important stars and planets at the time of birth are noted in the form of a chart.

Note: South Indian and North Indian horoscopes contain the same info but are organised differently. Usually the date, time and location are used to construct a fresh birth-chart of a similar style for matching.

The system supposedly checks for 8 different regions of compatibily. For details, check out this article on Vedic Horoscope Matching

Traditionally horoscopes are matched by family priests. The priest will usually take his own time and provide a verdict. Details are usually not explained.
Several sites offer online Horoscope matching. Its free, detailed and the report is mailed to your email address.

We used Planetary Positions
Our horoscopes (one north, one south) were also matched by 3 different priests - 2 north indian and 1 south indian and all gave the same results as provided by PlanetaryPositions.

The Engagement

Once the formalities are out of the way, an Engagement date is chosen by the priest. Time is as important as the date. Usually no auspicious activity should be done at Rahu kala. The panchang( hindu religious calendar) is consulted to find a good time.

For Tamil Muhurtham dates:
For North Indian Muhurath dates:
Free Software to calculate a date:
Disclaimer: I havent tried this one myself.

Many communities dont have a ring exchange at the Engagement, although now a days the western practice of rings is increasingly followed among many ( After all - Who wants to say no to Diamonds? )

A Simple GSB style Engagement will usually be done at the girl's house. Ideally there should be elder relatives from the maternal and paternal side to bless the boy and girl. The girl and boy are expected to exchange gifts ( usually a gift of clothing ). A small prayer is said and the couple can seek blessings of all elders present by touching their feet. The families will exchange sweet boxes.

In the north indian custom, the exchange of gifts is far more elaborate. A complete set of clothing, foot wear, handbag, jewellery, cosmetics is given in addition to baskets of fruit and dry fruits.

The girls in the south will usually wear Saris though many are now opting for Ghagra Cholis. Note: Unless you have occasions to wear it again sometime, this is a dead investment. In south india, the girl will be expected to wear some amount of gold. Parlours offer makeup services for Engagements - Rs. 3000 from Lakme

The guys will usually settle for Kurtas. Suits are a big NO, unless you want to look like you're attending a seminar in Europe.

Gift options:
For Her : Sari, Gold/Diamond Ring, Gold Chain/ Ear studs, Shoes, Perfume, Watch, Handbag, Salwar suit
For Him : Shirt and Trouser set, Kurta set, Gold Ring, Watch, Sun glasses, Cologne

Buy Gold from Big Brands that will offer buy back ( in case you need to exchange ) and will also provide free Service. My engagement ring was from Gili and they replaced it at no charge when a diamond in it fell off.

Try to shop at a Mall that has a loyalty program.

Use a credit card for all purchases atleast till the wedding is over. The huge bills in the coming months will generate a lot of reward points that can be converted to vouchers or Air Miles. (Remember to pay credit card bills on time.)


Unknown said...


Congratulations !!!

Good post. I am a Sindhi married to a GSB so in my case everything turned out to be all the more interesting.

Hope you have a great time :)


Unknown said...

Thanks Neelu!

I'm marrying a North Indian. Keshav is from Patna.

Any helpful tips you can provide are most welcome. D-day is in 2 months.

Unknown said...

Hey thats great.. Congrats to both you and Keshav.

Lets meet up sometime (of course when you are free)

Keshav said...

Quite an interesting post!

I think I should write a post about "The frsutrations of bachelor setting up a decent home for his bride."

And I need to protest: why is it that only girls are eligible for shoes as gifts?

Keshav said...

Frustrations *

Unknown said...

Thats a good point actually. Guys too should be eligible to get shoe gifts.
It might be easier to buy you a shoe rather than a Ring. [:D]

With this Shoe I thee wed?

Converting a house to a home is no easy task and i think you definately need to put down all that you're going through.

Unknown said...


Would love to meet up with you guys!

Aditya B said...

Mes A GSB in the process of an inter.. all the best.

Unknown said...

Thanks for visiting, and glad that you found this post useful. Should let you know that my wedding went off without a hitch, by the grace of god. Im sure yours will too.

Bhagyashree said...

Hey thanks again for this post!! I so badly needed this..I am getting engaged sometime in nov-dec this year..We have shortlisted a couple of dates with the help of a priest ( who further looked at the panchang calender)however I was told that Muhurat for engagement isn't all that important..Can you tell me if muhurat hold any significance( When I say muhurat I mean the time and NOT the date) at all for engagement (Konkani style) ??

Unknown said...

You're most welcome. The muhurat is not too significant for an engagement, we only have to ensure that the time of the function does not overlap with Rahu-Kal.

Rahu kal time varies based on day of Week as below (time in 24hr format) :

Mon : 0730 - 0900 hrs
Tue : 1500 - 1630 hrs
Wed : 1200 - 1330 hrs
Thu : 1330 - 1500 hrs
Fri : 1030 - 1200 hrs
Sat : 0900 - 1030 hrs
Sun : 1630 - 1800 hrs


It is also said (by some) that if you choose a very auspicious day ( like a festival date ) then you can skip the checking of rahu kal.

Note: when I say time of function, thats the time that the exchange of sweet boxes/ gifts etc and a small prayer is said. It takes about 15 min. Also someone (an elder/priest/father of the bride) will announce verbally to the god that the two families have decided to enter their children into a matrimonial alliance.

Do note though, as in all matters, any function can be made as simple or complicated as one wants. :) The version here is what we followed for my engagement ( no priests ) just close family at my parent's place.
This was followed by tea and refreshments ( our time was after 1500hrs on Vijaya Dashami ).

Footwear said...

very informative blog really awesome

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