Christian Weddings of South India

Indian Christian Wedding Traditions

My nephew and his bride!Bride in white saree & veil.
My nephew and his bride!Bride in white saree & veil.

Weddings! The very sound of the word gives us a feeling of joy. What is it about weddings that enthralls and fascinates? Nothing is so merrily celebrated as this union of a man and a woman.

Wedding ceremonies differ through out the world, as every culture has its own traditions and customs. Likewise, Christian weddings in South India blend Indian and Western rituals. Indian Christians, still very much attached to their Indian culture, have incorporated some Western customs as well. As in other Indian ethnic groups, Indian Christians do sometimes opt for traditional arranged marriages, but that trend is slowly changing as members of the present generation increasingly choose their own life partners.

What We'll Cover

* Different types of wedding clothes.

* Traditions for the wedding day.

• An Indian Christian wedding ceremony.

* The Thali or Mangalsutra and the rings.

• The wedding reception.

Indian Bridal Gown With Veil

My daughter's wedding !The bride in gown.
My daughter's wedding !The bride in gown.

During a Christian wedding in S. India, the bride usually wears a white or off-white saree with or without veil. The bridesmaids and flower girls wear sarees or dresses that match the color decor of the wedding. in recent years brides have begun to choose Western wedding gowns and veils for the church service and a traditional silk saree for the wedding reception.

Indian Bridal Saree Without Veil

My niece, in her white wedding saree without a veil.
My niece, in her white wedding saree without a veil.

The Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

My nephew's wedding: The bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the flower girls are my nieces, nephews, or children.
My nephew's wedding: The bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the flower girls are my nieces, nephews, or children.

On the Big Day, a few hours before the service, the groom's sisters and cousins carry decorated trays containing the wedding saree, the veil, a bible, traditional coconuts, dried fruits,almonds, pista, cashew nuts, and Indian sweets to the bride's home. The church pastor, who present, blesses the saree and hands it to the bride. The groom’s group then leaves for the church where the groom awaits the bride at the altar.

The service for an Christian wedding in India is just like a Western service with one major exception: Instead of a ring, the groom places a Thali or Mangalsutra around the neck of the bride. This is a gold chain with a gold pendant in which the symbol of the cross is embedded. For a Christian Indian woman, wearing a Thali is a sign that she is married. Rings are also sometimes exchanged, but usually only during the engagement ceremony.

Another difference is that the groom does not kiss the bride in church. Kissing in public is sort of taboo in India.

After the wedding ceremonial service, the bridal couple walk down the aisle while the church organ plays the Wedding March, and the congregation showers rice and flower petals on them.

The Thali Gold Necklace

The Thali or Mangalsutra and the rings.
The Thali or Mangalsutra and the rings.

A Traditional Bridal Bible

Gift for the couple in church- Bible.
Gift for the couple in church- Bible.

The Wedding Day

The traditional sweets, fruit, and nuts delivered by the groom's family to the bride's home the morning of the wedding.
The traditional sweets, fruit, and nuts delivered by the groom's family to the bride's home the morning of the wedding.

The Church Service

St. George's Cathedral in Chennai, S. India, where my sisters ,my nephews, nieces, and even my husband and myself got married!
St. George's Cathedral in Chennai, S. India, where my sisters ,my nephews, nieces, and even my husband and myself got married!

The Wedding Cake

This bell-shaped wedding cake was made by my sister for her son's wedding.
This bell-shaped wedding cake was made by my sister for her son's wedding.

After the service there is the a reception with the traditional cutting of the wedding cake and toasts to the bridal couple. A major difference between these receptions and those in the West is that there is no dancing until all the guests have left. Since the Indian Christian weddings are social events with a huge crowd, dancing and singing are reserved only for the close family members.

After the reception the bride and groom a glass of milk and banana (symbolizing prosperity and fertility) and leave for their honeymoon.

A Beaded Ghagra Choli

Actress Shriya Saran modeling a fully embroidered pink Ghagra Choli worn during marriage ceremonies.
Actress Shriya Saran modeling a fully embroidered pink Ghagra Choli worn during marriage ceremonies. | Source

The Reception Dinner

A fish bowl and shell flower vase for each individual wedding reception dinner table.
A fish bowl and shell flower vase for each individual wedding reception dinner table.

Fun Wedding Videos to Watch

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Comments 44 comments

Futamarka 3 years ago

Как известно, основную проблему малогабаритных тонзур составляют небольшая юморина, маленький санузел и смежные юмористкы. В данном случае приняли решение демонтировать тонзуру между кухней и юмористкой, а две другие юмористкы сделать изолированными. Результатом стало разделение пространства на приватную часть (где находятся спальня и детская) и общественную (в нее вошли гостиная и юморина). Для созавивания компактной и удобной кухни перенесли мойку. Прикол - теперь она располагается под окном.


VotneireSon 3 years ago

I helpful to get at the top of living but recently We've established some sort of level of resistance.


sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

sunilkunnoth2012 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

A nice hub. I clap on. Keep on writing such good ones in future too.


thorleygreen 5 years ago from San Francisco ,California ,US

its very nice photographs.I like Ur wedding Saree.Its very elegant and beautiful.


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

@ Smireles..thanks for the appreciation! :)

@ Celia..yes,you are right. I will correct it! Thanks. :)


Celia Beryl Philips 7 years ago

I loved your description about weddings in south India. But I have a small mistake to point out. You have written:

" the christians in India are Indians converted to Christianity by the British christian missionaries,way back when Britain ruled India"

This is incorrect. Christianity was brought to India by Christ's Apostle St Thomas. This means Christianity in India is as old as Christianity itself. Yes, the British did convert Indians to Christians mostly in North India yet many of the South Indians were Christians long before the British arrived.

This is just a minor correction. Apart from this your article is mind blowing! Hats off!


Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas

Loved the rich details and beautiful images in this hub. Thanks for sharing.


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks for appreciating,Charia!:)


Charia Samher profile image

Charia Samher 7 years ago

Very similar to our church wedding here. Nice hub,it's like I've been there myself.


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

@T.Robertson..thanks!

@dianacharles..thank you so much for the appreciation :)


dianacharles profile image

dianacharles 7 years ago from India

A lovely hub Laila. The church, the family all look wonderful in the pix.


T.Robertson 7 years ago

Very nice to see thebeautiful bride in saree and jewels of south India tradition getting married in a beautiful city Cathedral


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Nancy and Hilltrekker..thanks for appreciating!:)


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA

Recently I had the pleasure of viewing the photography of a traditional (Hindu) Indian wedding taken by a member of a forum to which I belonged. I cannot begin to express how elaborately beautiful that ceremony was, and how skilled the photographer. I have never seen anything like it, and if I wasn't already fascinated by Indian culture, that would have done it!

Also recently I had the opportunity to minister to local Christian Asians (in this case the Chin people from Burma) and I learned such a great deal about Christianity in the East. It is a blessing to know how our faith as affected those in other parts of the world as well.

I found your hub very intersesting and informative. I am personally a culture junkie, so things like this just fascinate me! Thank you for sharing!


hilltrekker profile image

hilltrekker 7 years ago

Very sweetly described. Well written.


hilltrekker profile image

hilltrekker 7 years ago

Very sweetly described. Well written.


Nancy Ross profile image

Nancy Ross 7 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing these awesome pictures. They were absolutely beautiful. Were some of these interfaith marriages, or were they all Christians? You must be very proud of your family and heritage to take the time to share with us.


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

eswar..thanks for the wonderful compliment! :)


eswar profile image

eswar 7 years ago from India

No, words!! I am so proud guess why?

Nice work keep it up


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Thank you so very much Anjali! Yes,thanks to the media,Indian rituals are gaining popularity!:)


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York

I don't know how I missed this one. I seem to be the only late comer here. Speaking of Indian wedding dresses and rituals, I was surprised to see, in the last episode of 'Starter Wife' (in case you saw that TV serial), the American bride and groom wearing Indian wedding dresses; more surprising was the theme which was entirely Indian. It's amazing to see how Indian rituals are gaining popularity globally. Very nice hub.


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks Anamika!Yes,I've seen the Kerala mangalsutra..they take the thread from the wedding saree and slip in the gold pendant,which is then placed on bride's neck.After the ceremony,the pendant is put on to a gold chain!:)


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 7 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

Wonderful Hub Laila and beautiful Pictures. I have seen some Keralite and Christian Weddings and loved it too. Have you seen the Kerala mangalsutra? They call it 'minnu'.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

thanks - I realised I had no idea!


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Thankyou hubber 2009! :)

London girl..Thank you! I'm glad you do like the hub!:)There are many inter-faith marriages in India and you will be surprised that there are many Hindu-Muslim marriages too!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

fantastic hub, thank you for the detail.

I wonder, how common is it in India to have inter-faith marriages?


hubber-2009 profile image

hubber-2009 7 years ago from India

As a priest of the Saint Thomas Christian Church of South India once commented : "You cannot understand the teachings of Jesus if you do not know the scriptures of India."


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

CW..thanks for stopping by and appreciating!:)

Princessa..Thanks a ton!Yes..thanks for the screenshot and making me feel special as well!:)

Raghu9..thanks for your comment!:)


raghu9 profile image

raghu9 7 years ago

very nice


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

Well done Laila, already a humber one in Google's first page. Check the forum for your screenshot: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/11668?page=8#post1...

The sarees look so beautiful, whether in white or red they are stunning. I like the way the both cultures intermingle in one big ceremony-celebration.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Laila- Great pictures and they make a lovely couple. It is such a good fusion of cultures as Hindus have exchanging of rings and Christians have Mangalsutra. The world would be such a wonderful place if more people see what is common among each other rather than focusing on the differences. Btw I love Gopika and I even made a hub about them in the initial days. Thumbs up for those wonderful photos and write up.


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Purple Perl ..thanks so very much for stopping by! In which church did you get married?I come to St. Mark's cathedral whenever I visit Bangalore! Yes,weddings are nostalgic times...:)

Muthusamy..thank you so much for your kind comments!:) I am touched by your appreciation..Thanks!:)


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Violetsun,thanks for appreciating!I enjoyed doing this hub!:)


Muthusamy R profile image

Muthusamy R 7 years ago from CHENNAI India

I feel as if I have attended an Indian Christian Wedding at St. George's Catherdral,Chennai. Crisp information. Nice photographs. Thank you for the wonderful HUB.


Purple Perl profile image

Purple Perl 7 years ago from Bangalore,India

Excellent hub,Laila!

Brought back my own memories of my wedding in Bangalore!

I am glad you brought out the specialities of being a South Indian Christian.Especially,having a mangalasutra and wedding bands to solemnise the marriage.


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

The sarees are beautiful, so feminine and colorful. Enjoyed the beautiful photos of your family's wedding.

Enjoyable hub!


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks Aya..glad you enjoyed the hub! :)


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Laila, the photos of the Christian Indian weddings were a feast for the eyes.

Elizabeth Hurley's son doesn't look so happy, though.

Thanks for a really interesting hub!


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Shalini..thanks for stopping by! My sisters are so very artistic unlike me!:(


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Amanda..thanks for reading my hub! And yes,sarees come in a riot of colors and our weddings over here are so very colourful! :)


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India Author

Teresa..thanks!Yes,the silk sarees are so very beautiful,but then,they are also so very heavy that we cant wait to get back home and change to lighter and more comfortable clothes!LOL! Thanks for appreciating!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Great hub Laila - brings back memories. Though I chose to marry outside the traditional South Indian Christian community, there are any number of weddings we still attend. Love the pics :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

I used to work with a Christian Indian lady many years ago, and it's interesting to learn more about the different customs, and how one set of traditions has combined with another. The sarees are gorgeous. I love their rich colours. As a child I grew up in a town here in the UK with a very large Asian population, and there were several shops locally that sold saree fabric. I was always fascinated by the fabulous colours, and have been coveting one ever since!


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

The sarees are beautiful -- we westerners are attracted to the gorgeous silks, the gold threads, the graceful drape of the cloth over the shoulder. It's interesting to see how traditions and customs are adapted in other cultures, and South India is no exception in blending Christian liturgy with local color. Beautiful hub, Laila.

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