How to Shorten A Hindu Wedding Ceremony

Traditionally, Indian wedding ceremonies could last from a few hours to a few days–not counting the pre- and post-wedding events! These days, however, many couples want to keep the ceremony shorter to keep their guests happy and maintain their own sanity during the hectic weekend.

Most couples today target a length of 1 to 1 ½ hours for their Indian wedding ceremony. How do they do it? We spoke to an experienced Hindu priestess who gave us some excellent tips:

  1. Choose an officiant who has performed shortened Indian wedding ceremonies in the past and who believes in the concept of a “contemporary” Indian wedding. In many cases, priests/priestesses will tell you they can do a short ceremony, but if they’ve never successful done one, they will have trouble pulling it off.
  2. Discuss the elements of the ceremony in detail with your chosen officiant. While many of the traditional elements have important religious meaning, some may be merely traditional or “customary,” and you might feel comfortable eliminating or modifying them.
  3. You have the last word! Try to avoid pressure from family and friends to include their favorite elements into your ceremony. As long as you aren’t violating any fundamental religious precepts, you should feel free to design your wedding ceremony as you see fit.
  4. Rehearsal is key! Make sure to do a complete dry run of the ceremony prior to the big day. This will help to minimize confusion and delay on wedding day.
  5. Consider a “split ceremony.” Some couples perform some of the longer or more intricate parts of the wedding ceremony privately so that the portion with guests present can be kept short and sweet.