Malayalee wedding is a very short and crisp ceremony, which is held in the morning. The most preferred location to conduct a typical Malayalee wedding is the maternal house of the bride. However, with the passing time, people are opting for a more convenient venue for both the families of the bride and the groom, say, the auditorium of a nearby temple or the temple itself. Whether it is a very lavish wedding, with a long list of guests to witness, or a simple one, the rituals followed by the Malayalees are generally the same. Given below is complete information on the wedding customs followed in a typical Malayalee wedding.
Malayalee Wedding Customs
Seek The Blessings
Before entering the venue to tie the wedding knot, the bride and the groom seek blessings from their elder ones, at their respective homes. Thereafter, the bride and the groom get ready for the mandapam/venue. Friends of the bride help her in dressing her up, for the nuptial knot. Typically, the bride wears a two-piece sari (known as 'set saree') for the wedding. However, she can also opt for any other sari as well. She is accessorized with jewelry (typically gold) and her braided hair is embellished with flower (generally jasmine). On the other hand, the groom is dressed up in traditional dhoti (mundu) and white or off-white silk shirt. Gold chains, gold bracelets and rings add to the appeal of his attire.
Welcoming The Bridegroom
After seeking blessings from their elder ones, the bride and the groom leave for the venue (where the wedding ceremony is held), from their respective homes. Traditionally, the family and friends from the bride's side reach the venue first, in order to welcome the groom and his acquaintance. Traditional drum (thavil) and nadaswaram (non-brass acoustic instrument) are played to welcome the groom's procession, which heads towards the venue.
At the doorstep of the venue, the bride's brother (father in some parts of Kerala) welcomes the groom by washing his feet with water. In return, the brother receives small gifts (gold chain, bracelet or money) from the groom. Thereafter, the groom is accompanied by two of his relatives, to the mandapam. The bride revolves three times around the mandapam and sits next to the bride, who is already present there.
The Nuptial Ceremony
The nuptial ceremony is often called veli. The priest conducts the marriage ceremony. In some parts of Kerala, the priest is replaced by the elderly family member of the bride or the groom. After taking rounds of the mandapam, the bride and the groom sit next to each other. Preferably, the bride is seated on the left hand side of the groom. At the muhurtham time, the groom ties the mangalsutra, (known as 'thaali' in Malayalam), around the neck of the bride. The priest hands over the garlands and bouquets to the bride and the groom, in order to exchange.
After exchanging the garlands, the bride's father does the kanyaadaan, by placing the hand of the bride over the groom's hand. After the kanyaadaan, the newly wed couple takes rounds of the mandapam, for three times. Thereafter, the groom applies vermillion (sindooram) on the bride's her in exchange of which, she applies chandan on his forehead. Thereafter, the couple seeks blessings for their parents, by touching their feet. Soon after the wedding, a feast is organized by the bride's family, wherein traditional Kerala dishes are served to the guest.