Hindu marriage ceremonies aren't recognised by British law and therefore must be accompanied by a civil marriage in a register office.
The wedding venue is the choice of the bride's family and is usually a town hall or hotel.
The multitude of rituals and traditions mean that the format and details of the marriage ceremony cannot be predicted, but some popular traidional practices are often observed.
Traditional Hindu weddings can last several days; they usually take place outside under a Mandap (canopy). More modern weddings last about an hour.
- The Sangeet Sandhya is an evening of musical entertainment when the groom's family entertain the bride and groom.
- Henna is applied to the bride's hands and feet (and to the groom's if he wishes); this is known as Mehendi Lagwana.
- The groom leaves for the wedding venue upon a decorated horse, as part of a very grand and very colourful procession known as Barat Nikasi.
- The actual marriage ceremony is called the Havan. The priest ties the end of the groom's kurta or dhoti to the end of the bride's sari, symbolising sacred wedlock.
- The bride and groom circle Agni, a sacred fire, seven times making seven promises to be fulfilled in married life. After this they are considered married.
- During Kanya Daan the father of the bride pours sacred water, symbolising the giving away of the bride, and demands of the groom a promise to make the new bride happy.
- Blessings in the temple follow the service.