There are many pre-wedding functions in a Gujarati wedding. Among these, the most entertaining one that is kept is the Garba Raas, in which the couple and their family and friends gather to dance the night away. Garba consists of participants dancing in a circular direction, and Raas involves dancing with a partner using sticks (also known as dandiyas). Learn how to effectively plan a wedding Garba Raas function for your wedding.
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THEME: While a theme is not a requirement, it helps tie the whole event together and promotes consistency. Examples of themes include Radha Krishna, which are Hindu deities symbolising love, or a traditional Gujarati village setting. Also, consider a Moroccan theme in which lanterns, low seating arrangements, and rich hues of fuchsia, orange, and gold are used to highlight the decor elements.
LOCATION: Most Garba Raas functions are kept in function halls. However, another option is to keep it outdoors during the summer. This would require special permission due to the noise level, especially in a residential area. Ensure that the venue is spacious, so that guests have enough room to participate in Garba and Raas, as it can get frustrating if the event gets crowded.
DECORATIONS: Your decorations will depend mainly on your theme. For example, if you choose to have a Radha Krishna theme, you can have statues of the two deities at the centre of the dance floor. You can incorporate peacock feathers into the decorations since Lord Krishna wears a peacock feather in his crown. If you go with a traditional Gujarati village setting, decorate the venue with earthen pots and statues of village ladies or men playing dhol. Another option is to have a rangoli design at the centre of the dance floor, which is a form of sand art.
OUTFITS: The bride-to-be typically wears a Gujarati outfit called a chaniya choli, while the groom-to-be wears a traditional Indian outfit such as a sherwani, jodhpuri, or kurta pyjama.
FOOD: One option is to have various food carts serving fast food such as pani puri, bhel, pav bhaji, mini dosas and uttapamas. You can even have a drink stand offering Indian drinks such as sweet lassi, mango lassi, or sugarcane juice. You can also serve a traditional buffet Gujarati dinner. Some people choose to have non-Indian food on this day if they are having Indian food for the rest of the wedding events.
MUSIC: You will have to decide on whether you want a deejay to host the event or whether you want a live band. It all depends on your budget and location since a live band can be more expensive, and one specialising in Garba may not be available in your area. Bear in mind that hiring bands that are willing to travel to your area for the event also translates to more costs due to travelling expenses.
ENTERTAINMENT: Guests for the most part will be entertaining themselves by participating in Garba and Raas. In recent years, other forms of entertainment such as Sanedo, Hitch, and Rail Gaddi have also emerged, which are always a hit at these types of events. Other types of entertainment include family and friends performing dance routines or skits for guests. Some couples will even perform for guests.
FAVOURS: To add a personal touch to your event, you could have your names engraved on one dandiya stick and the event and date on the other. Tie the sticks together with a ribbon matching your colour scheme. Alternatively, you can give a box of sweets, small idol of a god, or other items that are placed in shrines in homes. You can also give out assortments of chudis, bindis, jewellery, jewellery box, and sari bags to ladies.
How to Plan a Wedding Garba Raas Function
Tips and warnings
- Plan ahead and ensure that you reserve a venue for your Garba ahead of time since venues are booked well in advance during peak wedding seasons.
- Though Indian weddings are typically large and the Garba function is not as formal as the other wedding events such as the reception, try to get an accurate count of the number of guests that will be attending, so that factors such as the venue size, seating arrangements, food, and availability of dandiya sticks don't become an issue.