The modern Indian wedding has warmed up to a lot of changes in the Indian wedding venues ,traditions and rituals. The rituals all remain but are customised. For example, many people don’t do kanyadaan anymore, to respect the bride as a person and not as a gift to be given away. However, the wedding garlands is a tradition that remains as it is. Or is that so?
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Fun Garlands Exchange
Exchanging of the Jaimala or Varmala as some call it, is a tradition that nobody has a problem with. But to be honest, it is quite a boring ritual. People don’t mind standing by and getting it done with, but nobody has fun.
Of course, it is a serious ritual, with a spiritual significance. But who cares about that as long as the pandit is saying all his chants right and the bride and groom are following him right? If you can make it fun, then why not?
The only fun garlands exchange game is the bride and the groom dodging the other one when they try to put the garland around their neck. In some traditions, the respective families hold up the bride and the groom as high as possible to make their own candidates taller than the other person.
But these are lame and clichéd little games. How about making the garlands fun instead? Some traditions need the wedding garlands exchanged thrice. Some, just once. We cannot make variations to these rules. They are rituals that should stay the way they are.
But we can make the garlands fun so that we do not have to think about anything else or risk disrupting a traditional ritual and offending the elders while trying to have some innocent fun.
Fun Varmala Ideas
Now, the fun ideas can range from anything between harmless fashionable varmala designs for wedding, to pranks with them. Here are all the ideas we can think of. You can add to the list with the help of your creatively mischievous mind, and your friends and cousins.
- Matching Garlands
Usually, wedding garlands are all orange, made of marigold, or all red, made of roses, depending upon the traditional practices of the family. They often have some white flowers in them with the orange and red. What if you ditched the cliché and got the garland made out of flowers of the colour that your partner is wearing?
Say the bride is wearing a mauve bridal suit as one of her latest bridal wedding dresses, get the groom’s garland made of liatris and tulips. If the groom is wearing white and maroon, get the bride’s garland made of white lilies and dark red roses. It is crucial that the garlands should match the partner’s outfit because it will get lost in the camouflage if it matches their own outfit.
- Designer Garlands
Modern Indian wedding garlands are made to look much better and bigger than mere common flower garlands. Fake flowers are used. Velvet and silk are used. You will find these garlands at any big shop. You might need to do some searching. Sometimes garlands come in pairs, and sometimes in unique single pieces. Go pick two identical designer garlands or two very different ones. Whatever you choose, make sure they both have a fair amount of real flowers though.
- Heavy Garlands
It’s one thing to make a garland look big and poofy, and totally another thing to actually make it heavy. The first kind is a simple attempt at making the garland look unique. It is still fluffy and innocently made only of flowers, real and fake. But the second one is a sneaky prank that you need to pull off well.
Whoever you pull the prank on, needs to be conditioned to thinking that finding the wedding garland too heavy is a bad omen. The ritual of exchanging wedding garlands is done to see if the two people are ready for the burden of marriage. If they find it too heavy to carry or complain about it, they are not ready for marriage. Then comes the garland with some tiny little iron balls hidden in the flowers.
The person putting the garland on the partner to be pranked needs to pretend like it is not heavy to them. Once it lands on the target, their job is over. Watch your partner’s smiles turn fake and head starting to bend. He or she cannot even take it off or complain.’
Let them know they were being pranked before it stops being funny and plain painful instead. If the partner in question already has stiff neck issues, don’t do it. If you are from one of those cultures where the garland is exchanged multiple times, make sure the heavy one ends up around the right neck. Else you will just end up caught in your own trap.
Don’t worry about the elders finding out and getting all offended, you have already conditioned your partner to not complain about it. As long as nobody outside the prank circle handles the garland, nobody has to know.
- Bugged Garlands
One big scare is if the garland has bugs or bees in it. Put some fake bugs in it just for a natural decoration, maybe one or two fake butterflies here and there. If you want to prank, place one single realistic bee on it and point it out after it has landed around the victim’s neck. This one will be lame if the victim sees through it in a second. So do it only with people who are so scared of bugs and bees that they will do a little dance on stage before realising it is fake. You can use fake spiders too by the way.
- Xmas Tree Garlands
You might not care about the pranks. All you want is a unique pair of wedding garlands. You can decorate them with Xmas tree decorations. This idea can look stupid if you put too much of the decorations. Just a few is fine. This idea works best if you are having a mixed wedding between a Christian and a Hindu.
- Spray Painted Garlands
Get white garlands and spray paint them all over to join you in Holi matrimony. You see what I did there? Okay, you won’t appreciate it. But you will appreciate a dash of colours artistically placed. If you have no respect for puns, at least you will have respect for art.
- Bicoloured Garlands
Get double layered garlands with two colours running along parallel.
This will be a welcome change from the monochromatic or alternately bicoloured varmala designs for wedding.
- Pearl String Garlands
If you want to show off your wealth, add a string of pearls hanging from both the garlands. This will not only make the garlands look more beautiful and fun, but also add to your accessories! Make sure there is someone to take off the pearls from the garlands and putting them away safely when you’re done with the garlands.
- Missing Garlands
Coming back to pranks, how do you think losing one of the garlands at the end moment will work? It will make the bride or groom look irresponsible. Actually, it will make their families look careless. Everybody cuts the bride and groom some slack on their wedding day. Look everywhere for the garlands until someone starts panicking and then pull the garland out from a cover right near the stage, with a “I am here, stupid” note on it. Give the garland googly eyes to make it realistic.
Make sure you do the fake search for the missing garland only as long as it is still fun. The real fun is in the googly eyed garland sitting with sassy messages. You don’t want to waste time or actually make anybody panic.
- Garlands with Secret Messages
Talking about little notes, you can make it romantic and sweet, instead of playing pranks. Put posts on each of the garlands. These posts will be notes from the partner, and his or her family, for the new son or daughter to be. The messages can be anything from funny to real sweet. Keep them short and make sure people sign their names so that the bride and groom will know who it is. Get the posts ready the night before and just stick them all over, carefully when the garlands arrive.
This is how to make modern Indian wedding garlands fun. Add to these ideas, or customise them. But make sure, you pull it off with some maturity. Do not play too big pranks or push them for too long.
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