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Nepali Weddings - Himalayan Footsteps

Just like here a wedding in Nepal is a big celebration. The way it is celebrated, however, differs quite a bit from our traditions! Let us introduce you to a traditional Newari wedding:

 The First Meeting

In Nepal it is still quite common to have an arranged marriage. Once a man reaches a good age for getting married, which is around his mid 20s, his family will start to look out for a suitable bride. They will propose to the family of a girl who is in the right age and from a matching background. If her family agrees a meeting between both families is arranged, so the proposed couple have a chance to see each other. If they like each other their handmade birthcharts will be taken to a priest to ask his advice. The priest decides if the couple will make a good match or not. Only if he agrees to the wedding the couple will go ahead and start planning. A date for the wedding is fixed by the priest, only certain days are regarded as suitable for a lucky wedding.


The Ceremony

The actual wedding ceremony is either held at the bride’s home or at the temple. The bride is dressed in a beautiful red sari, wearing lots of jewellery and bangles. Her hands are painted with traditional patterns in henna. the groom either wears a traditional Nepali dress in colourful patterns or a Western suit. A big musical wedding band, with many different instruments and trumpets, will announce the couple’s arrival in a car decorated with flowers. After the ceremony they will again drive off in that car, very slowly and with the band playing on a car in front of them.

Main part of the ceremony is the couple’s exchange of flower garlands. The groom presents his bride with sets of jewellery and clothing, the bridge in exchange gives the groom a ring. These are seen as auspicious gifts for the wedding.

Only close family members are invited to the wedding ceremony, which takes a couple of hours including either snacks at the temple, or a meal at the bride’s home.


The Celebration

A traditional Newari wedding involves not just one, but two celebrations. Someday before the actual wedding ceremony the bride invites all her family and friends for a big reception and party. The groom is not allowed to take part in this celebration. all guests will bring gifts or money for the bride. On the day of the wedding ceremony or someday later the groom invites his family and friends, including his wife and her family for a reception at his. No gifts are brought at this occasion, but some guests will bring a kata (white prayer scarf) or a bouquet as blessings. Both receptions start with a meal in the early evening and later have a dancing programme until around midnight. Often several hundred guests attend these parties. The bride is dressed in her wedding sari at both occasions.