An Indian Wedding

An Indian Wedding

Orchards at Spring Vale Farm hosted its first Indian wedding earlier this year. Guests from as far afield as England, USA, Canada, India, Melbourne and interstate attended.

In Indian cultures a wedding is a series of celebrations.  The wedding at Orchards was no exception, the three-day event was a burst of colour, traditional Indian dress, dancing, music and a combination of Indian and western food which saw each stage of the three-day event being held at different locations around the estate.

Commencing with a combined Mehndi and Sangeet on the first afternoon, the celebrations going well into the night.  The front lawn, with the homestead as the backdrop was the perfect location for the celebration with fairy lights, rugs and colourful cushions adorning the area.

A Mehndi is a pre-wedding celebration which sees the bride’s palms, back of hands and feet being stained in a unique quite intricate pattern often with the groom’s name hidden in the design.  Guests were invited to have their hands painted during the celebration.

The Sangeet saw members of both sides of the families perform song and dance rituals, apparently practice on a weekly basis for months in the leadup to the wedding.

Even the young children, some as young as two, joined in and knew all the moves!!!

The second day of the celebrations, the ceremony, consisted of a number of elements, firstly a priest performed the ganesh pooja in the homestead atrium in the morning with only the couple, the bridal party and close relatives attending.

This was followed by the baraat or groom’s procession. For this, the groom normally arrives at the ceremony on a decorated white horse!!!  However, for our wedding we thought it would be safer to have him ‘arrive’ in a sports car!!

The groom’s family danced around him as he was driven up to the homestead to the beat of a dhol, an Indian drum. After that, the bride and her family greeted the groom, and the couple exchanged floral garlands to wear around their necks to symbolize their acceptance of each other.

The ceremony held in the secret garden saw the priest, bride and groom and the bride’s parents sit beneath a mandap (a canopy).  Commencing with the kanya daan where the bride’s parents gave the bride away, the couple then join hands in a ritual called the mangal phera and circle around the agni (a small enclosed fire).

They then took the saptapadi or seven steps where they vowed to support each other and live together happily.

Finally, the groom applied a red powder to the centre of the bride’s forehead and tied a black beaded necklace around her neck, symbolizing she’s now a married woman.

Traditional Indian food was served the north terrace with guests enjoying the late afternoon sun.

The last day saw a more traditional western style celebration with music and dancing in a marquee overlooking the dam.  Melbourne chef Ian Curley provided the culinary delights on the evening and celebrations went on well into the night.