The date of the actual wedding may be months away, but the fervor, especially among the concerned families’ womenfolk, begins to be felt far ahead in advance. More so if it’s a first-time wedding in the family. Then, it’s a no-holds-barred affair, meaning, the joyous parents are going to leave no paisa behind in the pocket to ensure that the occasion is a memorable one, something that’ll raise their status in others’ (especially relatives’) eyes. In this day and age, when marriages are taking place much later on in life than it used to before, it’s natural that there should be more ebullience on the bride’s side, but on the groom’s side, too, there’s a great big sigh of relief at having found a suitable bride.
Love marriages may be in vogue, but traditional marriages are still in the majority; however, no matter which kind, the rituals are the same for both. And, there are quite a few. Now, before delving into all that, it should be mentioned that in the case of the groom, there’s a custom away from the main celebrations that’s pretty demanding on the wallet. This is the tradition of presenting close women relatives (aunts, sisters, cousin sisters, etc.) with glitzy sarees weeks in advance. Each of these elaborately brocaded and sequined sarees cost good money. Understandably, it’s a big burden to those who are working on a tight budget, but for the more wealthy, it’s a something to be taken great pleasure in. Especially because this kind of goodwill gesture will certainly guarantee the beneficiaries’ deeper involvement in all aspects of the wedding—like they say, “The more the merrier!”
And, so, weeks head of the wedding, you’ll find plenty of ladies in the groom’s house, keeping themselves busy with various small tasks, not to mention, keeping themselves entertained with lots of chit chat and gossip. In the bride’s home, meanwhile, the parents are probably busy having the house repainted and refurnished, besides making plenty of trips to the market to buy the interminable list of essential items needed for the wedding. A major part of their trips will perhaps be to the goldsmith, or the jewelry shops, since gold is what’s most in view at any Nepali wedding. The ostentation part, for sure, and the most bank-breaking venture of the entire occasion. Like said before, it’s likely that if it’s a first-time wedding, even the piggy bank is not going to be spared, and the gold jewelry worn by the bride on the wedding day will be observed with keen eyes and calculating minds by most of the women present.
So, the bride’s gold jewelry is important, to make an understatement, and on a lesser financial scale, but as important on an aesthetic level, is what the bride wears on the different days of what is actually a quite long drawn out affair, probably over three or four days. And, just so you know, as everywhere, a wedding trousseau doesn’t come cheap. All in all, this is also quite a drain on the financial resources at hand. The day when the groom’s side sends the supari (a score and more trays containing all sorts of stuff: from vegetables, fruits, and sweets to clothes, ornaments, and makeup to sweets, fish and betel nuts, etc.) to the bride’s home, the bride needs to be decked out in a glamorous outfit. The sending of the supari signifies that the wedding is now confirmed beyond doubt, and so is a day of great joy. Only a few close relatives of the groom accompany the trays, but they are treated like royalty. Along with all the goods mentioned above, the supari also brings along with it a handwritten note by the priest concerned mentioning the subha sait (the auspicious hour) of the main wedding ritual. This day of supari is a minor part of the wedding, but there’s a feast involved, anyway, for close relatives present.
The next day, in most cases, the bride and her family host a grand party which is attended by hundreds. The bride is dressed in her best on this day: her throat, hands, and head glittering with gold jewelry. It’s a fact that the bride will not look better on any other day after this day so glowing and radiant will she be on this occasion, and so heavily decked out in a beautiful saree and blouse that probably cost a hefty packet. Photos are in high demand, with the bride posing with all and sundry. The feast is, of course, delicious, and the occasion is a sublime one for all. One thing to be mentioned in passing: nowadays, many invitation cards request guests not to bring any material gifts. Cash gifts are fine, thank you (of course, this is not mentioned, but, it’s understood!).