Every religion has its own rules, cultures and traditions that are followed carefully during auspicious ceremonies; a Christian shaadi is no stranger to the same. Christianity speaks about marriage as a union predestined by the Lord himself. The sanctity of a Christian marriage can be worked out by simply following the Lord’s message, a union which is so intimate where two souls eventually become one. And while different Christian sects have different rituals, the basis of a Christian shaadi remains entwined in centuries of holy tradition.
Christian matchmaking services are no different from the rest, and even though their wedding rituals are different, there are some intrinsic similarities. The ceremony usually starts off with pre-wedding rituals that primarily consist of the engagement ceremony. Rings are exchanged by the bride and groom and the ceremony is followed by a party that can either be an intimate gathering of close family and friends, or a large full-scale one. An important function before the wedding is the dress rehearsal and rehearsal dinner which is a play-by-play of the actual wedding, complete with seating arrangements, etc. This is more of a practice session than a ceremony, and everyone from the matchmaker, to the family members, brides-maids and grooms-men must be ready to play their vital roles during the wedding day itself.
A Christian shaadi is incomplete without the bridal shower (Hen party) where the bride’s female friends gather and rejoice with fun games, singing, dancing and some quirky partying, as a sort of seeing her off to a new life. At the same time, the groom’s male friends celebrate with the Bachelor party, both of which happen the day/night before the wedding. Matchmaking services talk about a ceremony usually known as ‘Ross’ in Goan Catholic communities, where the couple is blessed by an application of coconut paste.
The wedding ceremony usually takes place in the morning at a church for the more traditional families. While the groom waits at the altar with his grooms-men and the priest, the bride is led down the aisle by her father or father figure (Brother/Uncle). A flower girl and a ring-bearer usually precede the bride and wait at the altar as well. As the bride’s father then places her hand in that of the groom’s as a symbol of passing her over into his care officially, the ceremony proceeds as the priest reads psalms from the Holy Bible and sanctifies the wedding. The ceremony ends with the couple giving their consent to the marriage, exchanging rings and sealing the rituals with a kiss. There are legal documents to be signed as well, usually taken care of by the matchmaker or matchmaking services or some family member.
The wedding party leads to a huge feast after this and is followed by an official reception; a grand affair as the couple is blessed by a rice shower. The couple cuts the wedding cake, thrusting it into each other’s faces and that of their friends’ and families’ as the matchmaker fondly looks on. The reception flows late into the night and there is cheer and joy everywhere, with live bands, singing and dancing and merriment!