Chicago South Asian Wedding at the Palmer House Hilton

Chicago South Asian Wedding at the Palmer House Hilton: Farah & Chander

If you've been invited to your first Indian wedding, you may be curious about what's going to happen…well we are here to help! Let’s start with the basics…an Indian wedding typically lasts for three days. Yes, three days of celebrations!

On the first night, typically a priest will often perform the Ganesh Pooja, a ceremony that usually happens at home with just the couple, their bridal party and close relatives.

The second day begins with a Mehndi ceremony. For this ceremony, the bride and her female friends and family members will have intricate henna patterns drawn on their hands and feet.

That evening, the Sangeet takes place. Every wedding guest is usually invited, and it includes an introduction of the couple's families followed by some mingling, a meal and dances or other performances.

On the third and final day, the main ceremony, cocktail hour and reception will take place. Guests may be invited to the last day of the events, or to any part of the three-day celebration. Typically, the invitation will clearly state what you're being asked to attend.

One of the first things that might surprise guests is the Baraat, or the groom's procession. For this, the groom will arrive to the ceremony on a decorated white horse! And yes…you read right... a big and beautiful white horse! Guests and family members will dance around him to the beat of a an Indian drum.

This couple, however, wanted to do a “first look” prior to the Barrat and the images and emotions are just beautiful! Check out how sweet these two love birds are…smiles upon smiles.

After the Barrat, the bride and her family greet the groom, and the couple exchanges floral garlands to wear around their necks to symbolize their acceptance of each other.

Now onto the ceremony! The priest, groom, bride and bride's parents will sit beneath a Mandap, a canopy similar to a Jewish chuppah. The ceremony will starts off with the kanya daan, in which the bride's parents will give her away. Then the couple joins hands and circles around a small, enclosed fire (the agni) in a ritual called the mangal phera. 

Then the couple will take the saptapadi, or seven steps, as they vow to support each other and live happily together. Finally, the groom will apply a red powder to the center of the bride's forehead and tie a black beaded necklace around her neck, symbolizing she's now a married woman.

Now that the ceremony is over…it’s time to party! For South Asian weddings, If guests don't know bhangra, a Punjab folk dance, the moves are fairly easy and can be picked up by anyone who’s willing to learn! Now, let’s check out the awesome reception decor and more celebration images!

And there you have it! Next time you get invited to a South Asian wedding you will know just what to expect! For more weddings, please visit out wedding photography albums here!

Photography: Duron Studio Photography

Venue: Palmer House Hilton Chicago

Floral Decor: Yanni Design Studio

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