At the Belle of Blue Bell and Normandy Farm, we notoriously host “Wedding Weekend Experiences” where couples celebrate all elements of their wedding in one place. While this concept might be new to some, Indian weddings have long embraced the multiple day celebration in a unique and exceptional way.
India is one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse lands. Marriage is not just the union of the bride and groom, but of entire families, communities, and cultures, which explains why it’s not unusual for guest lists to reach 500+. Traditional Indian weddings are typically comprised of three separate events: the Sangeet and Mehendi, the ceremony, and the reception. Multi-cultural “Fusion Weddings” are also becoming frequent and typically include the traditional elements from both cultures. No matter how you celebrate, The Belle invites you to incorporate every ritual of your union with us.
The Mehendi and Sangeet
Imagine the ultimate female bonding session. The bride and her closest female friends take part in the Mehendi ceremony which could also be referred to as a cosmetic adventure. Their hands and feet are painted with a dark henna paste by professional artists. The intricate designs are believed to ward off evil, promote fertility, and attract good energy for the couple.
The Sangeet, meaning “sung together” is exactly how it sounds. An energetic evening of singing and dancing commences and it’s custom to hear a few jokes about the in-laws and soon-to-be couple. Hosted by the bride’s siblings, it provides an opportunity for the new relatives to mingle and break the ice before the big day. The Belle’s sister property, Normandy Farm, offers intimate and grand spaces for guest counts from 10 to 360. The venue, including 141 hotel rooms, not only provides a change of scene from the wedding day events, but also a convenience for out of town guests.
The day begins with a Baraat, the groom’s grand entrance on a white horse, a fancy car, or even an elephant. His family and friends follow closely behind, shouting well wishes. The groom is then greeted by his bride and her family at the mandap. This dome-like covering can be built in The Belle’s beautiful outdoor area overlooking a fountain or inside the Grand Ballroom. Under the mandap, the couple exchanges floral garland called milni, symbolizing their acceptance of one another. The ceremony begins with the Kanya Daan translating to “giving away the bride”. The bride and groom then join hands and circle around an enclosed sacred fire. The ritual is called the Mangalaphera and symbolizes giving life to the marriage.
The groom applies red powder to the center of the bride’s forehead and ties a black and gold beaded necklace around her neck to show that she is now a married woman. Friends and family throw flowers at the couple for happiness and prosperity.
Have you ever seen a Bollywood movie? Now the real party gets started. Come one, come all to the grand finale of the Indian wedding experience - The Reception – and don’t forget your most colorful sari (or sequin dress) with bold embellishments and jewelry. Intricate ballroom décor include bright backdrops, elegant drapery, sizable floral arrangements, and romantic candles.
Oftentimes there are elevated theatrical aspects such as serenades, performative dancing, and bahangra (a popular type of dance). Come with an appetite as the menu is typically an elaborate buffet promptly replenished with never-ending authentic food and dessert, provided by our Indian caterer. The bride and groom sit at an elevated head table where they can fully appreciate each and every moment of the biggest celebration of their life…