Weddings are a huge deal in the Hindu culture and religion. Traditionally, Hindu marriages are arranged but now love marriages are acceptable as well. The first step to getting a couple married is to get the parents of the girl and boy to meet, and if the parents agree then the proposal goes further. The parents usually consult an astrologer to check if the horoscopes of the girl and boy match or not, and then the astrologer gives the date for the engagement and wedding.
For the engagement ceremony the bride's family arranges for clothes for the bride and groom and throws a party where the bride and groom exchange engagement rings. After the engagement there are a lot of rituals that follow like the turmeric applying ceremony and the henna ceremony.
A few days before the wedding, the relatives of the bride and groom will attend the turmeric applying ceremony, where the bride sits between the guests and the women apply turmeric paste to the bride so that her complexion glows on the day of the wedding. The same ritual is also done at the groom's house for the groom.
For the henna and "sangeet" ceremony, the bride and groom's family and friends visit the bride's home for a feast where they sing and dance and all the women get henna on their hands, including the bride. The trousseau and the dowry are shown to the parents of the groom on this day.
On the day of the wedding, the bride and groom will exchange garlands at the 'mandap' which is a stage, set up either at the bride's house or a marriage hall. The bride is dressed in a sari given by the groom's parents, and the bride and groom perform seven rounds around a small fire joined by a knotted cloth, with their friends and family as a witness of their wedding. After the rounds, the couple sit in front of the fire, and the groom applies vermilion or 'sindoor' on her forehead to signify she is married, he also puts a necklace with black beads around her neck signifying their bond.
All these rituals are performed with the help of the priest who chants auspicious verses and gives directions to the couple. After this ritual, the couples touch the feet of their parents and ask for blessings, and the parents of the bride serve lunch or dinner to the guests. The bride then leaves her parental home for her husband's home.