The actual marriage ceremony begins with the Kanyadaan , or Mahasankalpa. The groom places his hand over the bride's heart and tells her, "You are my wife. A yellow cloth is then spread over the bride, groom, and whomever is performing the Kanyadaan. On the third time, the couple is officially considered married. Green borders are also traditional and add a pop of color. A musical band playing traditional tunes and Bollywood numbers proceeds the guests. Sometimes flower malas are given and may even be exchanged as early as the post-Janti aarti.
From here the bride and groom are ushered into another room, called the guptaghar. Nepali malas are made of grass. Limbu brides wear a crescent shaped maang tikka Many tribal groups, like the Magars, shirk the gold for simple beaded chains of green and red over plain red saris. Some brides opt out of this tradition, but it remains fairly common. Photo courtesy of Nika Photo In the Buddhist tradition, a wedding is less a sacred rite and more a social agreement between the bride and the groom. You'll act according to my wishes and obey my instructions. Confetti and rice aren't thrown, as per Buddhist tradition of formality. They also throw flower petals at the groom. Phew, Nepali weddings are no joke. Typically Buddhist couples will have a Civil Ceremony at a marriage registrar's office and then go to a Buddhist monastery for a blessing. With a henna night preceding the wedding, Nepali brides have intricate mehndi designs that snake up their arms and ankles. Gurung brides, for instance, from the Pokhara valley traditionally wear heavy gold chokers, head pieces, and nose rings. During this, the bride's brother places popped rice in the hands of the bride. Sometimes flower malas are given and may even be exchanged as early as the post-Janti aarti. She throws it in the air. CN Mehndi is a must. This gift is usually a cow or some money. Photo courtesy of Maritha Mae Photography The person who performs the Kanyadaan places the groom's right hand in the bride's right hand. The jewelry in Nepali weddings is fairly modest with only a few gold chains one from the swayamvara , possibly a small maang tikka, bangles, and earrings. Monks chant from Buddhist sacred texts. Photo courtesy of Maritha Mae Photography The bride then sits next to the groom. Both the bride and groom's feet are washed by the bride's relatives using a copper bowl. The formal giving away of the bride is done with a Kalash full of water, mango leaves, pipal, palash, gular, arka, camphor, areca nuts, betel nuts, sacred thread, durva grass, and whatever else the family considers important. Photo courtesy of Maritha Mae Photography An aarti is often said and tikaa is applied to the groom's forehead. This is called the godadhuwa ceremony.
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