Kanya Daana (Entrusting Bride to Groom)
The prayers describe the Groom represents Lord Vishnu (Purusha the protector) and the Bride represents Goddess Laxmi (Prakriti, wife of Lord Vishnu and Goddess of wealth & prosperity). Groom and Bride hold hands and the corner of Bride’s sari is tied to Groom’s scarf signifying the eternal unity of Purusha & Prakriti. Bride’s parents then entrust their daughter’s protection and happiness to Groom by pouring holy Ganga water on to their daughter’s handthat flows down into Groom’s hand.
Bride’s Ceremonial Saree
Groom’s parents gift Yana with the Ceremonial saree Michael and Nidhi goes along with the hall with the Mangulsutra seeking blessings and Nidhi offers ‘Akshathe’ to all guests. Yana now enters with the Ceremonial saree;
Mangala-Sutra Dharana (Wearing Sacred Chain)
The Mangala-Sutra is a chain with 2 pendants, which represent the hearts of Bride and Groom & their united-commitment to a life together. Groom places the Mangala-Sutra around Bride’s neck assisted by several family members, seeking Lord’s blessings for longevity and a happy life.
Bichiya(Toe rings) and Anklets Wearing
Groom presents pairs Bichiya and Anklets to Bride that she puts on to her toes and ankles and keeps wearing them as a sign of her attaining the honourable status of a married woman (Sumangali) in the society.
Pani-Grahana Homa (Sacred Fire Worship) and Mangala Phara (Holy Walk around the Sacred Fire)
The Bride and the Groom perform a Homa during which they place offerings into Agni (the Holy Fire) seeking blessings from the Gods. In an expression of their commitment to sacrifice their individual happiness bfor the sake of each other, they offer Laaja (perched-rice) and walk around the Homa four times.
Saptha-Padi (Seven Steps)
The couple takes seven steps forward together before God, each step representing a vow. May Lord bless us:
1. Noble and respectful life, nurtured by nourishing food
2. Physical and mental health to lead a healthy peaceful life.
3. Spiritual strength to fulfil spiritual obligations.
4. Happiness and harmony through mutual love and trust.
5. Healthy & noble children.
6. Joy and happiness together during all seasons
7. Life of unity, devotion, and companionship. Bride’s brother helps the couple in offering Laja into Hooma & he is appropriately rewarded with a gift.
Shila-Arohana (Expression of Determination)
As the couple walk around Holly Fire at the end of each round, Bride places her right foot over a stone expressing her determination to remain true to her husband and make their married life a happy one.
Agni-Sakshi-Deeksha (Sacred Vows)
Bride and Groom take the following vows in front of Agni (the Holly Fire): “Together we seek Dharma (virtue), Artha (worldly possessions) and Kama (worldly pleasures) following the path of truth and sincerity, which ultimately lead us to Moksha” (the Salvation).
Looking at the Star Arundhati
Arundhati (Alcor) is the wife of the sage Vasista (Mizar). These binary stars are the part of ‘SAPTHARISHI MANDALA’ (Big Dipper). They represent loyalty & devotion to each other as husband & wife. Bride & groom look at the northern sky seeking Arundhati’s blessings for mutual understanding in their lifelong journey as husband & wife.
Shanthi-Jal (Sprinkling of holy water)
The newly wedded couples are sprinkled with holy water by Purohith, wishing them Peace, Prosperity, Happiness, Long Life and Good Health in their married life.
Siksha (Word of Advice) and Aasheervad (Blessing)
The Purohith (or an elderly close family member of the Bride) advises Bride, Groom, their parents, family members and friends about their greater responsibility in keeping the newly wedded couple happy. Newly wedded couple seek blessings from their parents, friends and relatives who shower flower petals over them.
Two or three ladies perform Arathi to the newly wedded couple and their parents to celebrate the union of the families.