Marwari weddings are known for their opulence. In fact, a budget of over Rs. 100 crore among the rich, or even upper middle class families (on the daughter’s side) is not rare. This trend of massive budgets has become so prominent that villages in some Rajasthani districts have seen a code of conduct established regarding expenditure!
While a massive variety of food is normal even across Indian weddings of different cultures, a Marwari wedding can even have 20 different types of sweets! At most of the ceremonies, including the actual wedding, one can expect impressive decor, massive feasts, glittering jewels and men and women in their finest clothes. Rarely will you be invited to a simple court marriage as it goes against the cultural identity of Marwaris.
While the various rituals regarding the wedding ceremony are expensive, there is a lot of culture heritage to witness. The wedding rituals begin with the Tika (Engagement) ceremony, held at the groom’s house, and involves only the father, brother and other close relatives of the bride. During this ceremony, the groom is presented with a ceremonial sword and other gifts (which includes clothes, fruits, and sweets).
The ‘Pithi Dastoor’ is another ceremony in which you can clearly see a substantial amount of expenditure. The bride is escorted to a silken canopy, which is held up using four swords. These swords are held by four ladies of the same clan as the bride. During this ceremony, Dholans (women singers) sing traditional pre-wedding songs, and are are accompanied by Shehnai players.
During the many ‘Mehfils’ (gatherings) held, women wear stunning dresses with ornamental patterns and semi-precious stones, and a great variety of food is served. Many cultural performances are also held during this time.
During the Mahira Dastoor, a ceremony which involves both the bride’s and groom’s family, the maternal uncle and his family give lavish gifts to the entire family, including clothes, and jewellery.
A day before the wedding, a ‘Palla Dastoor’ with gifts and jewelry is gifted from the groom’s side to the bride. Another ceremony in which you can see a demonstration of great spending is the ‘Aanjhala Bharaai’, during which a bag of money is gifted to the bride by the father-in-law. Some of this money is then distributed to her to her sister-in-law and her husband. The groom also receives money and gifts during ‘paharavani’.
Of course, the ‘baraat’ going to the wedding, an all male procession, is an expensive affair that sees the groom in satins and clothes and accessories embedded with precious stones and gold. His fellow men are also dressed in expensive suits, and wearing fine gold ornamental accessories.
A Marwari wedding is a Big Fat Indian Wedding in the true sense!