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The Hindu Sacrament of Marriage – Vivāha Saṁskāra

The Hindu Sacrament of Marriage is one the biggest milestones in life, and I want to help make it the best it can possibly be. I have officiated at many weddings and am happy to also serve you in the same way. Across the world, I have brought together not just two people, but united two entire families. Every marriage is an act of commitment for the love that a couple share and one of the important religious sacraments, which I am extremely passionate about and honoured to make possible for many couples and their families. For the individuals who are marrying, it is a way of fulfilling their potential and responsibilities in which they owe to themselves, their family, their ancestors and to the wider society. I want to enable you to show the best version of yourself to your family and new family, as well as provide a greatly appealing ceremony for everyone involved. This is why I find it important to gain a strong understanding of how you would like me to carry out the ceremony so I complete my job, as Priest marrying you, in the best way I can.

Within any version of the Hindu Sacrament of Marriage there are five main steps in order for it to be considered complete; uniting two families together.

vagdānam ca pradānam ca varaṇam pāṇi-pīḍanam | sapta-padi iti pañcāṅgo vivāha prakīrtiḥ ||

  • Vāg-dānam – The engagement ceremony and the consenting of the parents.
  • Vara-varaṇam – Formal bestowal of the bride on the groom.
  • Kaṇya dānam – Ceremonial honouring of the groom by the bestower.
  • Pāṇi-pīḍanam – Taking of the bride’s hand by the groom.
  • Sapta-padi – The rite of the seven steps.

I offer both North Indian and South Indian Style Weddings, and am happy to adjust to your personal needs or for other traditions according to your cultural and family requirements.

North Indian Marriage

  • The Wedding commences with the reception of the Groom’s party (DVĀRA PŪJĀ) and official meeting of relatives (MILINI)
  • Introduction and formal welcome by the priest
  • Honouring of the Groom – LAGHU VARA PUJA (Reception of the Groom when Dārikā-dānam is being done)
  • The Garlanding where the bride is escorted to the canopy
  • Purification ceremony is performed, focusing the mind so they are ready for the presentation of garments and the giving away of the Bride.
  • The couple recite the praise of love together
  • The couple announce their vows (PRATIJÑA)
  • Benedictory Prayers / Havan
  • The taking of the hand (PĀṆI GRAHAṆAM)
  • Puffed rice is offered by the bride, known as Lāja Homa
  • The couple retire to the north of the fire AGNI-STHĀPANAM
  • Circumambulation
  • Groom’s Praise of Sarasvati
  • SAPTAPADI The extremely important Rite of Seven Steps
  • Touching the hearts (HṚDAYA SPARŚAM)
  • Sindūr dānam
  • The couple recite the prayer to the Sun
  • Blessings are made by the priests
  • Couple sign the register
  • Present their declaration of marriage
  • Honorarium (dakshina) is given to the priests and blessings are taken from the parents and elders to complete the ceremony.

South Indian Marriage

  • The Wedding commences on arrival of the groom at Reception
  • Preliminaries are carried out
  • The Bride arrives and before she is given away there is purification of the ceremony Pañca Maṅgalam
  • During the giving away of the Bride (DĀRIKĀ-DĀNAM) a statement of intent and the lineages of the couple are announced, meaning they are then joined in matrimony.
  • The couple’s Praise of Love is recited together
  • Presentation of garments
    Kalaśa Pūjanam
  • A honey and yoghurt drink known as Madhuparkam is offered by the Bride’s parents
  • Mangalya pujanam MĀṄGALYA DHĀRAṆAM
  • Tying of the Sacred Tali
  • Garlands are exchanged
  • Vows (PRATIJNÃÉA) are spoken
  • PĀṆIGRAHAṆAM The taking of the hand
  • SAPTAPADI The Rite of Seven Steps
  • Homam
  • Laja Homa
  • AŚMAROHAṆAM The standing upon the Mill-stone
  • HṚDAYA SPARŚANAM The couple touch each other’s hearts with their respective right hands
  • Blessings are carried out
  • The signing of the register and marriage certificate in the presence of two witnesses
  • The couple are presented
  • Declaration of marriage is made
  • Honorarium (dakshina) is given to the priest and blessings are taken from the parents and elders to complete the ceremony.