What Is A Desi Wedding: What To Expect

If you don’t know what is a Desi wedding, you can read about the parts and traditions before the wedding and what happens at the Desi wedding ceremony. We will also talk about the expectations, such as how long the weddings can last and who pays for the Desi wedding. 

And since Desi can refer to a person from India, you may like to read about what to wear to an Indian wedding

what is a desi wedding


What Is A Desi Wedding: Traditions And More

By definition, Desi refers to a word describing a person from the Indian subcontinent. They include the countries India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. 

The couple who originated from these countries but migrated can still have a traditional Desi wedding. Therefore, you must be familiar with what to expect when attending Desi weddings. 


What happens at a Desi wedding?

A Desi wedding can have the ceremonies and traditions that we will discuss one by one below. But of course, religions and places can still vary with how they celebrate the specific wedding, depending on the couple. 


Before the Desi wedding

Before the Desi wedding, there are the Mendhi and Sangeet. The Mendhi is when the bride gets her henna. 

Henna is a brown paste applied to the bride’s fingertips to elbows and even from her toes to ankles in intricate and beautiful patterns. These will stain the skin and can last for a week, and it signifies wishing the bride good luck and prosperity. 

The bride will have the Mendhi with the women in her family and female friends, similar to a bachelorette party. But, then, there is also a Desi wedding custom called the Sangeet, which is a big dance party before the wedding. 

The families can give speeches, and you can expect choreographed dances. As for the food, you’ll find appetizers and cocktails if you attend a Sangeet. 


Day of the Desi wedding 

On the day of the Desi wedding ceremony, there is the groom’s wedding procession, and it’s called the Baraat. The Baraat is different from the traditional Western processional where the bride walks down the aisle. 

Instead, the Desi bride waits for the groom at the altar. The music is also livelier compared to the solemn or slow beat when the bride walks down the aisle in most weddings. 

This custom symbolizes the happiness of the groom’s family to gain a new family member because everyone dances towards the ceremony venue. The groom even sometimes rides on a horse. 

Then after the Baraat, you can expect the Milni at the Desi wedding. This happens before the actual ceremony, where the men of each family welcome each other. 

They can include the fathers and brothers of the couple to signify the union of two families. And as for the ceremony itself, the Desi wedding may differ in how they unite the couple, depending on the venue or religion.


How Long Do Desi Weddings Last?

Since Desi refers to people that may come from India, Pakistani, or Bangladesh, the duration of the wedding will vary. For example, an Indian wedding and a Bangladesh wedding can last for three days, while a Pakistani wedding can even last for weeks.

Make sure to check your invitation or ask the couple themselves to know what to expect. Some couples of Desi descent may not even have a very traditional Desi wedding. 


Who Pays For A Desi Wedding?

The couple and their parents usually split the expenses for Desi weddings. And like in most weddings nowadays, some couples may even pay for their wedding entirely. 

Of course, there might also be adjustments depending on the wedding. For example, the bride may have more guests than the groom, so she and her family will shoulder more costs.


How Many Events Are In A Desi Wedding?

You can expect three events in a Desi wedding. They are the events like the Sangeet and Mehendi before the ceremony, the ceremony itself, and the fun celebration at the reception. 

Here is also what to wear to a Pakistani wedding if you’re attending one to ensure proper etiquette. 


What Are Weddings Called In India?

Here are some of the ceremonies to expect in a Hindu wedding:

  • Engagement ceremony where the fathers of the couple will make a formal announcement to their guests and the couple exchange rings
  • Mehendi ceremony or the Henna ceremony for the bride 
  • Sangeet ceremony where the couples get to unwind and have fun with dancing and celebrating
  • Tilak or Sagan ceremony where the male members of the bride’s family visit the groom and apply vermilion on his forehead
  • Haldi ceremony where the Haldi paste is applied on the couple’s body before their wedding day to ward off evil 
  • Roka ceremony that acts as the official announcement of the couple’s consent to get married to each other as they exchange sweets
  • After the wedding, there is the Vidaai event where the bride throws rice over her head 
  • The reception is similar to a Western wedding reception with music and a feast



And that’s it! To recap what is a Desi wedding, it refers to a wedding held by people from the Indian subcontinent.

The Desi wedding can last for days to even weeks, and it typically starts with events like the Mehendi and Sangeet before the actual wedding day. Overall, we encourage you to research the couple’s culture to know more about the wedding you’re attending.

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