Indian American Wedding Traditions

Indian American weddings are a beautiful blend of two cultures. While they typically incorporate many of the same traditions as an Indian wedding, they also add their special twist. From the engagement ceremony to the post-wedding functions, here are some of the most popular Indian American wedding traditions!

indian american wedding

Indian Wedding Traditions

There are a variety of traditions that are typically followed during Indian weddings. Many of these traditions are based on the belief that the wedding is not just a union between two people, but also between two families and even two communities. As such, several rituals and ceremonies take place before, during, and after the wedding itself.

Engagement Ceremony 

One of the most important pre-wedding rituals is the engagement ceremony or sagai. During this ceremony, the families of the bride and groom exchange gifts and formally agree to the marriage. The sagai usually takes place several months before the actual wedding day.

Mehndi Ceremony

The mehndi ceremony is another important pre-wedding ritual. During this ceremony, the bride has henna applied to her hands and feet. The mehndi is thought to be auspicious and is said to bring good luck to the marriage. This ceremony usually takes place a few days before the wedding.


The sangeet is another pre-wedding event, during which the families and friends of the couple perform songs and dances to celebrate the impending nuptials. This is often a very lively affair.

Wedding Day

The wedding day itself is filled with several rituals and ceremonies. One of the most important is the varmala, in which the bride and groom exchange garlands as a symbol of their love and commitment to each other. 

The Meaning Of The Seven Steps

In India, a bride and groom take seven steps around a sacred fire during their wedding ceremony. This ritual is called Saptapadi or the Seven Steps. Each step has a special meaning and represents a different promise that the couple makes to each other.

  • The first step represents the beginning of their journey together. 
  • The second step signifies their mutual love and respect for each other. 
  • The third step represents their commitment to each other. 
  • The fourth step signifies their promise to be faithful to each other. 
  • The fifth step represents their promise to care for each other in sickness and in health. 
  • The sixth step signifies their promise to always be there for each other. 
  • And the seventh and final step represents their lifelong commitment to each other.

These seven steps are an important part of Indian American weddings because they represent the foundation of a strong and lasting marriage.

Aspects Of An Indian American Wedding

One of the most important aspects of an Indian American wedding is the dowry. The dowry is a gift of money, property, or goods that the bride’s family gives to the groom’s family. It is meant to symbolize the bride’s worth and is often a very large and generous amount.

Exchange Of Garlands

Another key tradition is the exchange of garlands. During the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom will exchange garlands of flowers as a symbol of their love and commitment to each other.

After the exchange of garlands, the couple will take seven steps around a sacred fire. This is known as the Saptapadi, and it is a symbol of their journey together as husband and wife.

Differences Between an Indian Wedding and an American Wedding

When it comes to weddings, there are a lot of similarities between Indian and American celebrations. Both cultures value the institution of marriage and see weddings as a joyous occasion to be shared with family and friends. However, there are also some key differences between the two traditions that can make for a very unique and memorable event.

Indian Weddings Are Much Longer Than American Weddings

For starters, an Indian wedding is typically a much longer affair than its American counterpart. Whereas an American wedding might last for a day or even just a few hours, an Indian wedding can often go on for several days. 

Multiple Ceremonies

This is because Indian weddings usually involve multiple ceremonies, each with a special purpose. For example, many Indian weddings will begin with a ceremony called a Haldi, in which the bride and groom are applied with a paste made from turmeric. This is said to purify them and prepare them for the wedding ahead.

Guest Role

Another big difference between Indian and American weddings is the role that guests play in the festivities. 

  • In America, it is fairly common for guests to simply show up on the day of the wedding and watch as the couple exchange vows. 
  • In India, however, guests often play a much more active role in the proceedings. 

Traditional And Contemporary Elements

Indian American weddings are a beautiful way to celebrate both culture and love. If you are lucky enough to attend one, you are sure to be amazed by the beauty and pageantry on display.

Indian American Weddings Are Typically Very Elaborate Affairs

With many different traditions and rituals.

  • They often last for several days and include a wide variety of guests.
  • If you are invited to an Indian American wedding, it is important to dress conservatively and to respect the couple’s cultural traditions.
  • By doing so, you will be sure to have a truly memorable experience.

How To Have An Indian American Wedding

Indian American weddings are a fantastic fusion of two cultures. If you’re planning an Indian American wedding, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind to make sure your big day goes off without a hitch!

Here are a few tips for planning an Indian American wedding:

1. Make sure you have a good mix of both Indian and American guests. This will help ensure that everyone feels comfortable and that the wedding is truly a celebration of both cultures.

2. Incorporate both traditional and modern elements into the wedding. A great way to do this is to have a traditional Indian ceremony followed by a more modern reception. This will give everyone a chance to experience the best of both worlds.

3. Don’t forget to add your personal touches! An Indian American wedding is a perfect opportunity to infuse your unique style into the proceedings. After all, it’s your big day!

Following these tips will help you plan the perfect Indian American wedding that everyone will remember for years to come.


Indian American weddings are a beautiful blend of two cultures coming together as one. The traditions and customs of both the Indian and American cultures are honored and celebrated during these special events. From the food that is served to the music that is played, every aspect of an Indian American wedding is steeped in tradition and meaning. If you are planning on attending or even hosting an Indian American wedding, we hope that this article has given you a better understanding of some of the most important traditions.


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