Like in all cultures, the start of the wedding preparation is with the official engagement of the future groom and the future bride.According to Hindu traditions, the initial match making was primarily done by the parents or the elders in the immediate family, taking into considerations compatibility and practical aspects for a successful married life. These would include family backgrounds, financial, educational and physical compatibility, and yes, horoscope matching too! It is important to understand that the Hindu marriage is not just between a bride and the groom but the two respective families as well. As such, the parents tend to drive the engagement ceremony, a few months before the marriage. This ceremony is a formal announcement of the impending marriage to all friends and relatives and the start of the planning for the big event.
Hindu Engagement Ceremony Procedure:
This should be a fun filled event at either bride’s or groom’s place.In India, this is the formal verification of all the background work that the parents did before this formal announcement. In the US, both families probably know each other for quiet some time; so it is an announcement to the friends and relatives.
According to Indian customs, the father of the groom requests the father of the bride for the bride’s hand in marriage with his son. The bride’s father wants to make sure that the groom has no skeletons in his closet! Having confirmed that, the bride’s father also tells the groom’s father to make sure that his daughter is also as good, if not better than the groom! Thus after mutual satisfaction and “Wagdaan”, and a promise for the marriage, the bride’s father tells all that he will plan the ceremony at an appropriate date in the future. The couple exchanges the engagement rings and the ceremony ends with best wishes and blessings from all the attendees. In some customs, they prepare a “Lagna Patrika”, a written promise to each other to perform the ceremony at a future date.
The engaged couple will be referred here as bride and groom, although they do not become so until the pre wedding rituals a day or two before the actual ceremony.
Hindu Engagement Ceremony Steps:
1) Sankalpa and Poonyahvachanam
2) Request by the Groom’s father for the bride’s hand for his son. Bride’s father’s approval ·
3) Bride’s father and his daughter propose the marriage at the appropriate Muhurtam. ·
4) Groom’s father and his son reconfirm the proposal.
5) Bride worships Shachi for the success of the future marriage ·
6) Mangal Aarati of the bride by 5 women
7) Bride and the Groom exchange the rings.
8) Formal engagement Announcement, Ashirvad, Congratulations.
The Engagement ceremony last for about 45 minutes.
Hindu Engagement Ceremony Benefits:
1) Engagement ceremony helps bride and groom to understand each other’s family well. As this would be the first ceremony before marriage, it gives chance to everyone to discuss about the nearing marriage.
2) It strengthens the relationship between two families.
3) The engagement rituals have intense significance in forming a special bond between the would-be couple.
4) By doing this they actually promise each other to perform their responsibility and shower affection during every thick and thin of life.
Hindu Engagement Ceremony Puja Materials:
7 Chairs , Coffee table for the Pooja, Shri Ganesh Idol, Kalash, Beetle leaves(10), Halad/Kunku, Gandha or Chandan, Bell, Candles, Neeranjan, Aarati( oil lamp), Flowers, Udbatti, Supaari (10), Coconuts(2), Naivaidhya,
Whole Haladi ( Halkunda)