South Indian weddings are ripe with bright, bold, vibrant colours, as well as ornate designs and decor. South Indian style is reflected in everything from the setting where the couple recites their vows to the reception's floral arrangements and the bridal headpiece. Many South Indian wedding traditions are symbolic and are meant to wish good things on the married couple and their family.
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While flowers are a staple of just about any wedding, including South Indian celebrations, the type of flowers chosen and the way they are presented are unique to South Indian weddings. Flowers supply more than beauty and a sweet smell, they also symbolise health for both the bride and groom. Plantain trees are put at the doors of the wedding hall, and mango leaves line doorways, symbolising a long, strong marriage. Flower petals are thrown on the floor after the bride and groom exchange their vows as well as on the tables at the wedding reception.
Decorative clay pots known as pallikais decorate the wedding hall. In the base of each pot is hariali grass, grains and Bael leaves. After the wedding, the pallikais pots are placed in water, either in a pool or the river. Their symbolic meaning is to wish the bride, groom and their children a healthy life. The kalash pot, meant to symbolise luck, is made out of either silver or brass. Coconut and mango leaves are placed in the pot. On the outside, ethnic designs are painted.
The mandap canopy is put up at the front of the wedding hall, over the bride, groom and their wedding party, to stand under while vows are exchanged. The mandap may be ornately and colourfully decorated with flowers, light fixtures and jewels. Traditionally, the mandap has a colour theme of silver and red.
Tha Thali plate is often made of either brass or silver. Covering the plate are banana leaves. A clay lamp called a diya is placed in the centre of the Thali. Colorful flowers surround the diya lamp. The Thali plate can be used as a centrepiece. It is a symbol of luck, referred to as shagun in South Indian culture.
During a South Indian wedding, a special car is used to transport the bride and groom after they've been married. The car is decorated with fresh flowers on the hood. Garlands made from faux flowers are draped over the car. The car can also be adorned with bows, dyed cotton, silk and mirrors.
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