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How to Conduct A Punjabi Wedding…

In simple words, A Big Fat Indian Wedding described in four ‘D’s- Dance, Drama, DJ and Drinks. But if you are of the opinion that a wedding is just a bride and groom saying the vows, your perfect picture about a wedding is about to get shattered. You see, a Punjabi wedding is a five-day vigorous affair of festivities. It is the most horrible event for the ‘happiest’ day(s) of your life. It is the ultimate test to examine if the bride and groom will stay together forever. If they are together by the end of it then they will be together for rest of it! It tests the family’s event managing capacity. So this article is for those who wish to undertake this endeavour.
Start it on one fine day, a month prior to the beginning of the ‘marriage’ when the two families sit together to set the dates for different rituals. The closer they are the better; if consequently placed, the best! Pause a moment to absorb the enormity of the bonds you are going to make in the next few moments- bonds that will stay forever. After all, your child is going to live with theirs (and vice versa); it’s not like you have a choice. A piece of cost-effective advice: Get the best dance floor, DJ, Drinks and Photographers for EVERY get-together related to the wedding. Get Daler Mehndi in the music, paneer in the food and alcohol in the drinks; I won’t have to repeat these rules again.
Well, the engagement is a huge affair and an important part of your wedding process. Plan your wedding invites and invite everyone! Count your guests and add a hundred more for good measure. You can never have enough guests; in Punjabi weddings they are always more than enough. The event manager must be the costliest and quite renowned in the area; the entire event depends on how much money she makes out of you. After all, class and efficiency comes with its own cost. An early and vital lesson: Wedding is a time to show-off your; you won’t want to deal with Punjabi rumours.
The engagement must be followed by a DJ party. Compulsorily. And as a kind and considerate host that you are, you must have a fleet of drivers who will take your wasted, hyper and giddy guests home. It’s an obligation.
After everyone is rested well the next day, the evening must host a Jagratha; Drama is sure to follow, though with a blessed absence of alcoholic drinks. The DJ must be well-equipped with a range of bhajans in praise of Goddess Durga. You must also be ready for the rare occurrence- live singing of bhajans by the oldest generation of the family. There is always this one fanatic middle-aged fat Punjabi lady who is a great devotee of the Goddess, and will dance like a whirling dervish; keep a bit of space. It goes on the entire night and people keep eating; remember the paneer.
The next ritual depends on which side you are on. If you are on the bride-side, then you have Mehendi. The bride’s arms and feet are tattooed with intricate designs of Henna. Along with the bride, all the ladies and girls get Mehendi too, only in a less grand manner. You must provide the ladies with a platoon of especially-skilled Mehendi-appliers. There must be comfortable seats for everyone, and sufficient space. A music player and a good collection of peppy Bollywood songs are a must. If you are on the groom’s side, then you have Haldi. The groom is applied with a paste of turmeric, cream and milk. Make sure you provide ample amounts of this paste; it is the most important thing (apart from the groom himself). There must be a place provided that can be made dirty; there will be another (un-ritualistic) ritual that will include the groom’s clothes being torn into rags by the groom’s friends. While this is happening, the sisters and nieces must walk barefoot to a nearby well to retrieve water with which the yellow groom will bathe. You must make sure there is a thick cloth that covers the heads of the pot-bearers, or face hot-headed ladies. A person must accompany them with a tumbler of water and spare sandals. The groom, until then must be in a bathroom with hot water! That evening is a bachelor’s night and you must provide all the four D’s.
And now for the final lap of the ‘Wedding’- the reception and the marriage, in that order. Yes, I said that order. This is to solve a simple convenience issue- Punjabi wedding’s sacred timings are around midnight which would make the receptions at 5 in the morning. So, they just have the reception until midnight and then the wedding! Most of the people attend the reception, making it the grandest of all! Even the wedding is simple in comparison. Women spend hours getting ready in the salons and men spend hours choosing drinks. The entire place is ornamented with the costliest and most glitzy decors ever seen. The stage is set in warm and rich velvet with magnificent thrones on which the bride and groom sit. The bride is Beauty in her red, maroon and golden robes while the groom matches her splendour in a white and golden suit. Their smiles dazzle every guest who comes to wish them luck. You also have to arrange the cheesy and typical ‘Groom loves Bride’ cut-outs above their thrones on the stage.
You must have at least a seven course meal with seven different cuisines for every course. And there must be seven dishes for every cuisine. And there must be gifts for literally everyone at the reception. There must be lots of garlands for the ‘Milni’ ritual where the counterparts of both families formally meet each other. A team of photographers must be present everywhere. Be a kind host and hustle the crowd out by the time it is time for the wedding. The Pandit must be ready, the sacrificial fire ready to go, all the items needed to fulfil the obligations must be ready and of course, the bride and groom must be set to undergo marriage. Before this though, the sandals of the groom are stolen and hidden by the sisters of the bride; the groom must give them money for the sandals so that he can wed the bride. Make sure there are many places for the sandals to be! The seven ritualistic rounds are not the end; the after-marriage games are yet to be played. The groom must find his name written in the henna design in his wife’s hands. There must be a bowl of milk and rose petals in which a ring is cast; the bride and groom put their hands in the bowl and try to find the ring. All this is just to give time for the tears to come though. The ‘Bidai’ will happen soon and there will be a Drama overload (the photographers are a must!) which will be followed by the bride and groom leaving the venue. And then, the wedding comes to an end.

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