Gujaratis, known for being mirthful, jovial and fun-loving, have a rich history of indigenous customs and rituals. Gujarati weddings are a reflection of all these and more. With a dose of simplicity and ingenuity, Gujarati wedding rituals are a true embodiment of their vibrant culture. Unique customs and amusing rituals make it a fun experience to reckon with. Let's take a sneak-peek into the same.

Chandlo maatli: The chandlo maatli ritual is an occasion where both the families of the bride and groom meet to fix the wedding date. The bride's father applies the chandlo (a vermillion mark) on the groom's forehead and accepts him as his son. The bride, on the other hand, carries the maatli (a pot) filled with goodies for the groom and his family symbolizing good luck. The couple then exchanges rings and are blessed by five married women from each side of the families.

Ganesha sthapan: Signaling the start of the festivities, the blessings from Lord Ganesha are invoked by both the families at their respective homes. The puja is presided over by the paternal aunts who are presented with lavish gifts.

Mandva mahurat: Bearing a deep religious significance, the parents of the bride seek the blessings of Mother Earth to start commencing the digging of the earth to set up the mandva (the platform where the wedding rites will take place).

Griha shanti: The griha shanti ceremony is conducted to seek blessings from the nine planets so as to remove all possible obstacles before the wedding. It is conducted at both the bride and groom's respective homes.

Mehendi: Though meant to be an intimate gathering of the female relatives and friends of the bride, nowadays, mehendi functions are occasions of revelry and merriment. While the mehendi is being put, relevant songs are sung by the ladies present.

Garba: Generally on the evening of the mehendi, the garba night is held where members of both families meet and mingle without the formality of the wedding. Dressed in traditional finery, it is a fun tradition before the wedding.

Pithi: Held a day before the wedding, the pithi (a mixture of sandalwood, turmeric, saffron and rose water) is made by the bride/groom's paternal aunt and blessed by a pandit. Henceforth, the female relatives apply the same on the bride/groom for a healthy glow and supple skin.

Mameru: The last of the pre-wedding rituals, the mameru ceremony is when the bride receives gifts from her maternal uncle that includes the traditional paanetar (the bridal silk sari with red border) and choodo (ivory bangles).

Varghodo: Dressed in finery and carrying a katar (a small dagger), the groom sets off on a decorated mare for the wedding venue with his friends and family. Before he embarks on his journey, the groom's sister wards off the evil eye with some coins blessed by the pandit.

Jaan/Ponkvu: When the groom arrives at the wedding venue, he seeks blessing from his mother-in-law by bowing down his head and clutching his nose. He is welcomed by his mother-in-law with an aarti and is pulled ahead by grabbing his nose. This playful ritual is meant to remind the groom that they are giving their precious daughter to him.

Varmala: Escorted by her maternal uncle to the mandva, the bride garlands the groom which is then reciprocated by the groom.

Madhuparka: The groom is then given a mixture of milk and honey, and welcomed into the mandap. Meanwhile, his shoes are stolen by the bride's relatives only to be returned in exchange of some money.

Antarpaat: The bride is now led to the mandap by her mama. The antarpaat (a curtain) separating the couple is lowered when they exchange garlands once again.

Kanyadaan: In front of the sacred fire, the wedding rituals begin with the kanyadaan where the parents of the bride give her away to her husband. The bride's father washes the groom's feet which symbolizes their giving away of Goddess Lakshmi to her consort Lord Vishnu.

Hasta milap: The bride's sari is tied to the scarf/stole of the groom symbolizing the merging of two souls. The couple is then showered with rose petals and grains of rice.

Pheras: The couple now goes around the sacred fire seven times, each circle representing a vow. Amidst chants and prayers, the couple is officially wed.

Saptapadi: The groom helps the bride touch seven betel nuts with her right toe while they recite the vows together.

Saubhagyavati bhava: In this ritual, seven married women from the bride's side whisper their blessings in her ear.

Chero pakaryo: This funny ritual entails the groom tugging at his mother-in-law's sari asking for more gifts. Her sari is then filled with gifts from other relatives and later given to the groom.

Aashirvaad: The wedding ceremony formally ends with the couple taking blessing from their elders.

Vidaai: The bride is bid a tearful adieu by her family, friends and relatives.

Ghar nu Lakshmi: This ritual marks the couple's entry at the groom's house where she is welcomed as Goddess Lakshmi. A pitcher filled with rice is to be spilled by the bride with her right foot, symbolizing wealth and prosperity for her new home.

Aeki beki: The newlyweds are finally made to engage in a fun activity to end the festivities. A ring and some coins are thrown in a tray filled with water, milk and sindoor. The one who finds the ring four out of seven times is believed to rule the household.