Bengali weddings in India are marked by blowing of the conch shells and ululation by the women dressed in red and white Bengali style sarees. They celebrate weddings with traditional rituals which are not adorned in any kind of flamboyancy and are very simple and beautiful affair. Live musicians also known as Shehnai are played over a music system which symbolizes the social declaration from bride and groom’s family to the rest of the society about the wedding occasion.
On the wedding day, a Bengali bride represents the true feminine beauty in women and looks spectacular. Dressing up a bride is a task and an occasion in itself where she is draped in a red or crimson Banarasi saree which is the most traditional attire for a Bengali bride. Some women give it a modern touch by choosing different colors such as pink, maroon and white but, the color red is given the highest preference which adds charm and glow to the beauty of every single bride and is considered to be very auspicious. The saree has rich and intensive golden embroidery work which looks stunning on a banarasi saree as it is a weakness of every Bengali woman and their wardrobes can state it all. In Bengali marriage, many brides wear chunni separately on their heads which is made of silk only.
After the saree is draped properly, bride’s hair is tied neatly into a bun or braid adorned with flowers and tiaras. This is followed by putting traditional gold jewelry on her different body parts. Heavy jewelry is worn by the Bengali bride that signals to the continuation of wealth even after marriage and is treated like a Goddess Lakshmi. She wears heavy necklace along with earrings. On her forehead she wears tikka or a head band which covers her entire forehead with jewelry. Beautiful peacock designs and floral designed jewelry is worn by the bride. In some marriages in India ancestral jewelry of mother or grandmother is gifted to the bride where in some families the bride has to wear it on her wedding day. On the ankle gold anklets are worn along with toe rings. Traditional red and white bangles made of ivory and lac is worn on her hands where one or two gold bangles are also essential.
To beautify the Bengali bride even more red and white dot design patterns are made above bride’s eyebrows, on her cheeks and chin. A big red bindi is put at the centre of the forehead making bride look majestic. On her hands and feet red color liquid known as alta is applied which is considered as a good Oman. The alta makes hand and feet desirable and wonderful.
To complete the look, a head gear is put on the bride’s head known as mukut which is mandatory for every Bengali bride and is made of paper.
Bengali groom is not far behind in looking his best. He wears silk dhoti and kurta generally of-white in color. He wears ‘Topor’ over his head which is made of paper and shoal conical hat. Every groom has to wear it because it is a symbol of their culture and hence, is considered auspicious. During the marriage ritual, groom drapes a silk cloth around his body known as the ‘jor’. The end of the cloth is tied with the palla of the bride’s saree after which the couple takes seven rounds around the holy fire.
Today’s youngsters discuss their wedding dresses with their future life partners and wear same color tone dresses which make them even more attractive.
Thus, for a bride and the groom the most important aspect about self is to look their best and leave rest of the wedding arrangements on their family members.