Hands are Important

Hands have a part in western weddings. They get to wear rings, after all. There may be other traditions, such as the binding of bride & groom's hands together with ribbons. But I've never seen hands as involved in weddings as in an Indian wedding. They are constantly involved. From the very start, the groom is holding an egg shaped ornament, and he continues to hold it, as he is greeted by the bride's family and the whole dancing, cheering procession (a boisterous, colorful party consisting of groom friends and family, a large red decorative umbrella and boom box) makes their way to the ceremony site.

The ceremony is very active. Unlike western weddings, in which the bride and groom pretty much face each other and stand still, Indian brides and grooms drape garlands of flowers over each other, sprinkle various things into an open flame, hold symbolic objects, walk around the ceremonial fire... the list goes on. A traditional ceremony might take 3-4 hours. This abbreviated ceremony lasted about an hour.

The nice thing about Indian wedding ceremonies is that you're not expected to stay in your seat. If you feel like getting up close to the ceremony, walking around the side or back for a different angle, you can. For the most part, I sat in the aisle, directly in front of the B&G. Imagine me doing that at a western wedding.