A traditional Indian wedding ceremony is incomplete without the chanting of the ancient Sanskrit Shlokas and verses by the Pandit. It is this chant that renders the occasion solemn and sacred. A wedding is considered one of the most important Sansakaras in Indian cultures and is said to be a very sacred and important step in most Hindu scriptures. The scriptures provide advice and enlightenment on a husband and wife relationship. However since these are traditionally chanted in Sanskrit, very often the couple themselves and other family members and guests do not follow the language. Also with an increasing number of multi-cultural marriages, the profile of guests is also become very universal. Many of these non Indian guests are then left wondering what the Indian wedding is all about!
This particular problem seems to have found a solution in the availability of multi lingual priests. Since the Indian wedding ceremony can be quite long, lasting for anywhere between 1 to 3 hours, an increasing number of couples have expressed a keen desire to become involved in the proceedings and understand what is happening instead of being mere spectators themselves and doing only what is being told to them. In recent Indian weddings we have worked on, the Pandit often accompanies every ritual performed with the Shlokas followed by a translation explaining the meaning and significance of the same.
Although the process of chanting and translating the Sanskrit words makes it easier for the couple as well as other attendees to understand the ceremony, this causes a lengthening of an otherwise long wedding ceremony. To avoid this, many couples also choose to provide their guests with a written explanation of the various stages of the wedding which the guests can read themselves as the ceremony takes place. These translations are usually designed along the lines of the wedding invitation and other stationery, keeping the theme of the wedding constant throughout. A booklet with the wedding colors and motifs, a fan shaped booklet for a beach themed or summer wedding, a scroll for a royal wedding or a postcard type ceremony booklet for a destination wedding are some fun ways of doing this.
Meeting the priest prior to the wedding is very important so that you can explain your requirements and put forward all your apprehensions. This is also a good time to understand what is going to happen and what is expected of you so you are prepared.