Mehendi is one element of the Hindu woman's "complete decoration", shringar, and is the symbol of satisfaction and happiness in marriage. Traditionally the bride has her groom's initials incorporated secretly into the design and the groom must locate them before he is allowed to share a bedroom with his new wife. Mehendi may also be applied to the groom's hands and feet.
the bride's decorated hands
the groom's hands
Another pre-wedding ceremony - sangeet, a music evening, where the bride and the women relatives from the both sides dance for the groom and the guests. Food and drinks are served.
the bride and groom are dancing for the guests
On the day of the ceremony the groom wearing a crown or a turban, necklaces and other ornaments sets out in procession from his house. As this procession usually takes place after dark it is accompanied by several men bearing portable arc lamps, with a brass band leading the way, followed by a throng of male relatives and wedding guests.
The marriage ceremony is performed within a special canopy, pandal, decorated with auspicious mango leaf and marigold flower garlands. The groom is brought under the pandal and seated, followed by the bride, who is seated to his left. Married women bring in the sacred fire and place it at the pandal centre. Fire represents Agni, the fire god, who witnesses the marriage ceremony.