Today, almost every travelling article for men tells how to travel with your girlfriend and not to screw up a vacation. Well, at some point a trip with your sweetheart is a challenge, no matter how much you love each other. Travel with a girlfriend is a very far cry from a journey with your best friends or on your own. Therefore, some guys need a serious preparation before they dare to do make this bold move. But today we and natasha dating site are going to focus only on benefits you can get after you travel with a girl. Believe us, there are more pros than cons.

You learn more about being responsible.   We all want to live for our own pleasure, that’s why we tend to focus only on our needs. Travelling is not an exception. Going on vacation alone for a long time may be interesting and enjoyable, but let’s be honest: it is a trait of a selfish and immature person (if you date with someone). When you travel with a girlfriend, you learn to consider needs and interests of another person. At her turn, she gets the same experience and you both begin to understand each other better.

You always have someone for support.   You never know what may happen to you the next minute. Trips to other cities and countries increase every possible risk. When you travel with a girl who is important to you, you always can rely on her help, especially if she has numerous of useful skills. Imagine you get a trauma or you lost your documents. You would definitely be more ensured if your significant other is next to you.

You improve your budgeting skills.   Some of the most problematic issues include a financial part. It is easy to spend money on your own but it is harder to think about someone’s other needs. Travel with a girl learns you how to manage your budget and not to argue. Of course, some quarrels can take place at the very beginning, but later you will understand how to do it right.

You have an additional source of information and experience.   Does your girlfriend know any other languages? Does she have basic survival skills? Have an international drivers license? These things can make your travel brighter and more versatile. Sometimes, when single person is helpless, a couple can do anything better together.

Camping is more fun with other people
Camping, for example, is much more fun with someone else

You always have someone to share your impressions with.   Imagine you watch an incredibly gorgeous sunset somewhere in Spain or Greece on a beach… alone. And then, imagine the same situation with a person you love. Way better, isn’t it? Travelling together brings you more romantic moments which strengthen a connection between you. Furthermore, you both can easily share any thoughts or impressions about your journey any time.

You have a great opportunity to spice up your sex life.   The sweetest part we have left for a dessert. Some men and women who travel alone use their vacations to get new sexual experience. Casual sex and dating on vacation are quite common nowadays. However, your experience levels up in a trip with your regular sexual partner. Why? Firstly, the adventurous atmosphere can make you dare to try something new, for instance, an outdoor sex. Secondly, being a witness of some of the most romantic sites on Earth can boost your phantasy and turn you on. Finally, the idea of romance far away from home on the other side of the globe is extremely thrilling. Thousands of couples dream about sex in a hotel at least, not mentioning other places. So do not miss an opportunity to get one of the most memorable and piquant experience in your life, and nothing makes is more unforgettable than sharing this moment with a beloved girlfriend.

So, we hope we changed your mind about travelling with a girl. Plan your next vacation together and get the best out of it.

No girlfriend?   Here are some traveler tips to finding romance on the road.

How to find romance on the road when traveling

Published in Travel Inspiration

Whether taking a trip to London or just looking to find a romantic getaway without having to go to far, London has plenty of romantic hotels perfect for couples. Whether you crave elegant romance on the River Thames, an in-suite massage for two, or just a quiet, refreshing weekend for two, rest assured that these three spectacular hotels will be just what the two of you need to escape the stress of the work week.

Plaza on the River

With a name like Plaza on the River, you already know this hotel will be grandiose. And thankfully it does not disappoint. This five-star hotel and residence boasts immaculate suites, most with river views, and each individually furnished with a sleek and contemporary look. They even come with a kitchenette!

Nothing beats a massage in your hotel room

One of the biggest perks of staying at the Plaza on the River is the in-suite spa treatments and massage services they offer, perfect for pampering on a romantic weekend getaway. Wind down with a quiet evening at the hotel's cocktail bar or go out for a show. The hotel also sits within minutes of several prominent shopping areas and within a 15-minute walk of most everywhere else guests would like to visit, such as Big Ben and the London Eye.

The Arch London Hotel

Effortlessly blending classical design with contemporary style, the Arch London Hotel is one of the nicest hotels in the Hyde Park area. This hotel is actually composed of seven Georgian townhouses, as opposed to one modern highrise. Here the standard practice is "nights in" rather than nights out. This is in part thanks to the Arch's mouth-watering restaurant, elegant bar, sophisticated champagne salon and a martini lounge as well.

Each of their 82 rooms is tastefully decorated with artwork that perfectly complements the color and style of the room, and furnished with nothing but the best in furniture and linens. The luxurious bathrooms feature upscale, state-of-the-art fixtures, black granite countertops and even a flat screen TV within view of the bath!

London Bridge Hotel

Few hotels in London stand on such a historic plot of land. Imagine the people throughout history who have walked the same footsteps! Located right in central London just south of the River Thames, the London Bridge Hotel is in a building constructed in 1915, although it didn't become a hotel until 1998. Many archeological finds unearthed during the construction of this building are still on display in the Museum of London.

London Bridge Hotel

As romantic as that history is, we all know that the real romance happens in the bedroom. With the stylish suites at the London Bridge Hotel, as well as the even more stylish executive suites, combined with room service and all the amenities, there is no reason to even leave the hotel. But should you decide to, guests will find that they are located in one of the best areas of London, with a seemingly never-ending amount of nearby ways to pass the time.

  flickr   //   taraangkor   duncanh1

Published in England

If you've always wanted to have a destination wedding, nothing should stop you from getting married in style. Even if budget woes are worrying you, you can exchange your vows in a beautiful location without breaking the bank.

Don't worry; a budget destination wedding doesn't have to look cheap just because you're putting in less money. Just like cheap wedding suits can ooze style when perfectly tailored, a budget destination wedding can look sophisticated when planned well.

The first thing you need to decide on when planning your destination wedding is obviously the location. Pick a place that you can get to easily and that will be scenic enough so you can save on wedding décor. What's more, such a location can also double up as your honeymoon spot!

If you don't know where to look, here are some places to consider:

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic's stable government and thriving tourism industry have made this island a desirable destination wedding and honeymoon hot spot. Spanish colonial architecture lends the place an old world charm and is sure to make you fall in love with this Caribbean paradise instantly.

Here, you'll be able to find expansive and luxurious resorts and hotels that fit your budget. With flawless tropical scenery as the backdrop for your wedding images, you know you can't go wrong with this island.

With un-spoilt beaches, traditional merengue music playing all day long, and a host of activities like dolphin sightings, safari and dune adventures, zip lining, catamaran cruises, snorkeling, and more to indulge in, you don’t need think of other Caribbean destinations!

Belize

Situated on the eastern coast of Central America, Belize with its Caribbean shoreline and Mayan ruins is sure to entice you. The Belize Barrier Reef is the second longest in the world and is home to about 500 species of fish and over 100 types of corals.

The clear waters make snorkeling more enjoyable and if you're daring enough, you can also consider exploring underwater caves and the world-renowned Blue Hole. Those willing to remain above the surface of the water can indulge in kayaking, windsurfing, or sailing.

Belize has a vast network of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks that are home to several animals and birds. The country also has many archaeological sites and quite a few Mayan structures offer panoramic views of the jungles.

Belize is easy to get to from abroad and getting from one place to another within the country is just as easy. The people are friendly and you can be sure to feast on great food!

Romantic wedding travel destinations

South Africa

Though far-flung, South Africa is wildly interesting and if you manage to book cheap flights, you certainly won't exceed your budget.

South Africa has varied sights and experiences waiting for you -- crocodile-filled rivers, lush vineyards, splendid beaches dotted with penguins, safari tours, and much more. You can choose to sit and relax on the beaches, but with an endless to-do list, you'll certainly want to see all that South Africa has to offer.

Greece

You can have a budget wedding on any of the glorious Greek islands if having a luxury estate wedding is not going to be possible. All of the Greek islands have fabulous beaches and beautiful weather so you won't have to sacrifice on the view if you're on a low budget.

Greece is also a perfect place to spend your honeymoon. Lounge on the beaches, take in the architectural splendor of the country, or go wine sampling at local vineyards and you'll cherish each and every moment spent here for years to come.

Morocco

This North African country is only three hours away from the UK by flight. Morocco receives sun all through the year so you can travel here off-season for your wedding to save on costs. Whether you choose to have an intimate wedding or invite close family members and friends, a destination wedding here won't cost you a lot.

You can choose to have an English style wedding or a traditional Moroccan one. You'll also get to enjoy a completely different cultural experience while in Morocco.

Romantic wedding travel destinations

Conclusion

Having a destination wedding on a budget is neither impossible nor tough; you only need to plan it right. Be sure to make your reservations early. Book flight tickets early so you can get maximum discounts. And remember, traveling in the off-season can help you save a lot!

A wedding is an important event for those involved, and you shouldn’t let the stress of a limited budget come in the way of your dreams. Now that you know of these wonderful budget destinations, you don’t have to give up on your dream of getting hitched abroad. Just finalize your budget and get started on planning where you’ll be going!

Do note that all countries have different legal requirements for couples planning to get married. So research well and be prepared in advance for everything. Happy planning!

  Image Sources: 1 | 2 | 3

Published in Travel Inspiration

Few Caribbean destinations are as spectacular as Punta Cana, the furthermost eastern point of the Dominican Republic. The name means "Tip of the White Cane Palms" and from the minute visitors arrive it is easy to see why: Punta Cana is where the palm trees and beautiful blue of the Caribbean Sea converge together in the most pristine white sand beaches you will find anywhere. Hundreds of resorts are located here and choosing the right one can be difficult, so I've put together a guide on all the best Punta Cana hotels no matter what type of vacation you are looking for:

Romantic Getaway

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

When it's time to whisk the love of your life away for a romantic Caribbean vacation, The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana is arguably the best destination in all the Dominican Repbulic. Their spacious and luxurious suites are second to none. However what truly makes them the ideal place for a romantic rendezvous is the private in-suite whirlpools.

Family-Friendly Retreat

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

When taking your family to a tropical paradise like Punta Cana, it's important to stay at a hotel that is the epitome of "tropical paradise." The Majestic Colonial is one of the most pristine and impressive hotel resorts that I have ever seen. Immaculate grounds, breathtaking views, helpful staff, and of course plenty of children's activities to keep the little ones amused all come standard. However my personal favorite is the overwhelming choice of food; nearly every type of cuisine imaginable can be found in the restaurant!

All-Inclusive Fun

The only thing that makes paradise better is not having to deal with any bothersome restaurant or bar bills. Plus there is nothing quite like the thrill of an open bar or never-ending buffet, two things that quickly become clear to those staying at Barceló Bávaro Beach, one of the top-rated all-inclusive luxury resorts in Punta Cana.

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Beyond their obligatory beaches and pools lies everything that guests could ever need: fitness center, casino, multiple bars and restaurants, golf course, even babysitting services. Wrap it all up with a bit of Punta Cana sun and a warm, friendly staff and it's no wonder that the worst part about Barcelo Bavaro is actually leaving.

Nothing But The Best

When only the finest all-inclusive five star luxury will do, look no further than Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel. This award-winning hotel resort is consistently ranked as one of the best resorts in all the Domican Republic. A sprawling complex of buildings, beaches, pools and palm trees, Iberostar Grand Bavaro is large enough that even when fully booked the property never feels crowded.

Majestic Colonial resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Budget-Friendly Options

Although Punta Cana is not what one would describe as a budget travel destination, there are several budget-friendly options available that will allow visitors to enjoy paradise without breaking the bank. Backpackers will feel right at home in the Punta Cana Hostel, which has a community kitchen, restaurant, bar and pool. among other amenities. Another great option is the Hotel Cortecito Inn Bavaro with beach-side views and complimentary breakfast.

  flickr //   sackerman519   ianbruce   dbrekke   drewott

Published in Dominican Republic

The air soft as that of Seville in April, and so fragrant that it was delicious to breathe it.

―Christopher Columbus

A great collection of breathtaking landscapes dotted with wonderful beaches, a cup of sweet Latin vibe melted in the most sensual language, dramatic pueblos reminding of long gone periods, beautiful cities designed by famous artists seems to be the perfect recipe for romance and Spain is the consequence of their combination which gives it the status of one of the most romantic countries alongside France and Italy.

Seville Plaza de España Square

Seville is the capital of Andalucía, the city of Carmen, the birthplace of Don Juan and the recollect of many artists ― Rossini (The Barber of Seville), Verdi (La fotza del destino), Beethoven (Fidelio), Mozart (Don Giovani and The Marriage of Figaro).

If you want to taste the authentic Spanish culture beautifully mixed with Muslim and Jewish art, the outstanding history and the famous tapas you should definitely visit Spain's fourth largest city, Seville. Laid in the valley of Guadalquivir River, this charming city seems to be a piece of heaven with its magical narrow streets and dozens of orange trees blossoming in an eternal spring.

There are many romantic sights in Seville, some of them famous and some hidden in this Spanish paradise, but the air you breathe here, the delightful design of every single minor construction, the bouncy spirit combined with the streets ‘serenity and the brightness of each day are maybe the most beautiful things Seville has to offer.

Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral or Cathedral de Santa Maria de la Sede is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the tomb of Christopher Columbus (research still continues), no wonder this beautiful imposing structure is the city's landmark and undeniably a must see while visiting Seville. The cathedral will offer you, besides its imposing beauty, a valuable history lesson, a lovely blend of architectural styles and a piece of Seville’s uniqueness. Can you believe that someone involved in planning the construction actually said: "We shall have a church of such a kind that those who see it built will think we were mad!"?

Seville Cathedral

And so was born the Seville Cathedral, a masterpiece designed to show the world the city's welfare and the Sevillanos' passion.

The Royal Alcazar

A fusion of fascinating styles- Mundejar, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, the Alcazar is a delightful attraction of Seville, maybe the most romantic one considering its unfamiliar and timeless allure, its presence in history, the wonderful gardens and its part in the passionate and destructive love story between Pedro I and his mistress, Dona Maria de Padilla.

The Royal Alcazar in Seville, Spain

Plaza de Espana

Plaza de Espana is an amazing 50,000 square meters semi-circular construction inside Maria Luisa Park, boasting a ground level porch and first-floor consisting in balconies from where visitors can admire the marvelous view. In the center of the square there is a great fountain surrounded by a canal -- perfect for boating.

Seville Plaza de España Square

There are many things you can do or admire in Plaza de Espana but the most enchanted one is probably the chance you have to see the entire Spain concentrated in 48 tiled alcoves along this beautiful square.

Being the point of intersection of several histories, religions and cultures, the city lies somewhere in time between two worlds, keeping the flavor of the oldest one inside, and blowing it out little by little through its cobblestone alleys while the new one still fights for its place.

Spain is known for its autonomous communities and this is not just about the battle between Madrid and Barcelona, it's about the passion that you can notice in people's voices when they talk about the region they belong. Seville's locals are maybe the most enthusiastic persons I've ever met when it comes to their town, leading this pride to the extreme. This might seem unusual to some but the paradox is that once you have lived for a while in Seville and you have learned enough about this beautiful paradise, you will begin to act and think like them.

I've always thought that Seville must be a flamboyant city, even before taking my first trip to Andalucía but I have never imagined that it could be so beautiful and charismatic. Maybe I hadn't read enough about it or maybe it's indeed an underrated destination, but I was irremediably captivated by the way Seville has perfectly identified with the image I've always had about Spain as a country and about everything Spanish- ruffled colored dresses, brunette ladies wearing red lipstick and flowers in their hair, sunny days, guitar music, good will and Latin flame in its purest form.

A city like Seville doesn't fit in an article, no matter how complex the item would be, it might not be entirely revealed in a thousand articles and photos but I still enjoy sharing my lovely memories about it and I will probably continue writing about more interesting things that I've seen and learned during my stay in the beautiful city of Seville.

  flickr // torreldones nigel321 ell-r-brown mal-b girlfromarock

Published in Spain

Taj Mahal, the beautiful palace that symbolises love and romance, is one of the monuments that every traveler to India should visit with their special someone. It has withstood the test of time as a magnet of love and when you walk in with your second half that feeling of romance comes alive even stronger. I believe it is Mumtaz and Shahjahan's soul that inculcates the feel of love and romance in this place and attracts thousands of visitors daily...although some do surely come for the grandeous architecture. Otherwise people like me would never ever turn up on what is technically a funeral site.

Breathtaking view the Taj Mahal UNESCO World Heritage Site in Agra, India

But its not just the two lovers who are buried here. The Taj is a great monument in and of itself. The sheer size, architecture, and fine craftsmanship of the marble make it a mandatory bucket list requirement for every traveler. It exudes a feeling that you cannot translate to text...and that is why people flock in such great numbers to visit the Taj Mahal everyday.

  More UNESCO Sites     India Archives

Published in India

The title of the most romantic city in the world without a doubt belongs to Paris. The atmosphere oozes love and passion as it is home to many wonderful and picturesque places as well as lots of wonderful bars and restaurants to enjoy with a loved one.

Many people visit Paris on mini breaks with their partner and quite often to pop the question. Where better to propose than in the romance capital of the world. Here are some of the best places to get down on one knee, all within easy reach of top quality Paris hotels.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame is one of the most romantic spots in Paris and the cathedral is simply stunning. The best time to propose here is on a clear night as the building is lit up beautifully and you can see stars in the sky.

The Louvre

For art lovers there is no more perfect proposal spot than the Louvre. Depending on your prospective spouse, choose from either inside one of the galleries, or outside by the glass pyramid made famous in recent years by the film The Da Vinci Code.

Eiffel Tower

There are very few people on Earth who would not recognise the Eiffel Tower and its position overlooking Paris makes it a great place to pop the question. Travel up to the top and ask when in up high for maximum effect.

Arc de Triomphe

Another monument you can go to the top of is the Arc de Triomphe. This is often the first thing you see that let’s you know you have arrived in Paris, and the view from the roof is spectacular.Proposals are something you both will remember for the rest of your lives. Make it spectacular by taking your loved one to Paris to say those four magic words. For added wow factor try visiting one of these places at sunset in the summer. Book a hotel now and start practicing delivering that all-important line.

Arc de Triomphe photo courtesy of thausj on Flickr.

Published in France

When I told my friend Josh that I had just gotten back from a cruise, he said,

A cruise! I have so many preconceptions of those. Was it filled with old people? Was the food the worst?

Many people I've talked to have the same preconceptions as Josh. And in my experience, these preconceptions of cruising may be based in reality. There were plenty of older adults on our cruise. And my husband described the food as "fancy food, done in a mediocre way." But we didn't take the trip to meet friends, and we found plenty of decent food on the ship, so I can't really complain. (Plus, we are kind of food snobs...there, I admit it.)

Here's why cruising can be a great vacation:

1.   It's easy to get there

Anywhere there's water, there are cruises, so it's relatively easy to get to a cruise ship. If you don't like to fly, you can usually drive to a port. And as a bonus, you can still visit foreign countries without stepping on a plane. Since my husband always flies internationally for work, we didn't want to spend 12 hours flying and then suffer through two days of jet lag. We wanted to spend our vacation relaxing, not getting somewhere.

2.   It's cheap

The price of your cruise includes your room, all food, and most entertainment on board the ship. For us, the cruise cost less than $100 per person per day. We ate steak or fish every night. We saw a comedian and three live dance shows. Someone cleaned our room not once, but twice, every day. Considering the included amenities, it was a steal of a deal. Just be aware that you can also spend a lot once you are on the ship. If you want to gamble, visit the salon, drink alcohol, eat at specialty restaurants or do excursions in port, you will pay extra.

3.   It's stress-free

We have never been on such a stress-free vacation. We didn't need to worry about finding parking, or making dinner reservations, or getting lost because we were on a ship. We could sit by the pool, read in the library, watch a movie in the lounge, exercise in the gym or nap in our room, all of which were extremely relaxing (except the gym part, but we only did that once). In each port, there were dozens of companies ready to ferry us around to go snorkeling, zip-lining, sightseeing, ect. Cruise ships -- and most of the ports they visit -- are financially dependent on your tourism dollars, so they will bend over backwards to make sure you have a wonderful time.

Taking a cruise is a great family vacation idea

  If you’re interested in booking a cruise, I would recommend searching the big travel websites like Expedia and Travelocity. You can search by cruise length, departure date, departure port, and cruise line. For great deals, consider booking in the shoulder season (the beginning or end of the tourist season for that region, when weather can be unpredictable and prices are lower). And for destination advice and activities be sure to check out TripAdvisor.

Have any cruising questions, suggestions or stories?

Published in Cruises

Rajasthan as known as a state in India where you can find deserts, lakes, mountains and valleys, as well as amazing arts, crafts, architecture and history. Rajasthani culture is symbolized by camels and desert, traditional costumes and mustaches, royal havelis and palaces, special spicy food with mouth watering desserts, enriched traditions, and great hospitality, especially towards foreign guests. That is why they have said for decades "padharo mare desh" -- "WELCOME TO OUR LAND".

Rajasthan has all the ingredients to be a perfect Destination for Royal wedding.

Rajasthani man at the Pushkar Camel Fair
Traditional Rajasthani camel herder

If you want to find a destination that is royal, there are various palace hotels in Rajasthan in the city of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur. The option of choosing your destination goes far beyond these cities too but I have limited them to them because they have various travel interest either in the form of lakes, deserts, forts or palaces associated with them.

Jaisalmer Fort in India
Jaisalmer Fort

After picking the destination, next comes the party menu. Rajasthan is world famous for its food. Some of the best known dishes are dal baati, gatta masala, ker sangri, chakki (for vegans) and lal maas. For sweets you have options like ghevar, mawa mal pua, alwar ka mawa, and much more. The vast variety and rich food can always be added to your delighted dishes as Rajasthan has various cooks that can cook various delicacies / cuisine according to your requirement. They have been doing this through many decades. Kindly note that in Rajasthani culture serving food to guests is considered a great honor and they love to serve you with etiquette.

Rajasthani thali is delicious and never-ending!
Rajasthani Thali via Zac Davies

Of course no wedding is complete without shopping and that is where Rajasthan once again proves to be perfect for weddings. Rajasthan is world famous for its jewelery, semi-precious stones, arts and crafts, souvenirs, and costumes. The best shopping destination are within the old walled city sections of Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur. And don't forget to haggle haggle haggle!

Jaisalmer Fort in India

You can also add some entertainment to your wedding party by adding some folk dance and local music. They entertain for sure. Thus, Rajasthan becomes a perfect destination for a royal wedding that you will remember throughout your life!

Learn More About Preparing/Attending a Wedding in India  

Preparing for and attending Hindu weddings in India: a how-to guide

Published in India

So, you’ve been invited to a traditional Indian Hindu wedding. You are in for a treat, and also some work. What is rarely witnessed at these elaborate celebrations is all the effort, energy, and preparation that go into orchestrating the 3+ days of events, which marry colorful fabrics, robust, rich food flavors and pulsating rhythms. Then again, masters of any craft have the incredible ability of making the most difficult tasks look effortless.

>All that is required to breeze through and bask in the glow that is this stunning series of ceremonies is an open mind, the willingness to learn, and lots of (fun) practice. While it may be work, the fruit of your labor, getting an intimate glimpse into one of the richest cultures of the world, is well worth it.

Rule #1: During a first encounter with an elder (you can gauge age by comparing them to other folks around you, usually 70 yrs. + is elder status), greet him/her by saying “kem cho” (how are you in Gujarati) and reach down to touch their toes. This is done as a sign of respect.

  Event & Attire Shortlist

Don’t wear red (one of the bride's colors), or white (a color worn for Hindu funerals).

Mehndi (bride's family) (very casual)

women traditional-salwar kameez with sandals.
women western-maxi dress or comfortable pants/jeans and top.
men traditional/western-jeans or shorts and shirts and casual shoes.

Raas-Garba (bride and groom’s families and friends) (business casual)

women traditional- chaniya cholis and comfortable dancing shoes.
women western- nice/casual dress and shoes.
men traditional-kurta pyjama (also known jabho langho) and sandals or slippers.
men western-nice slacks and button down shirts and comfortable shoes for dancing.

Grah Shanti (bride’s family) (very casual)

women traditional-salwar kameez.
women western-casual pants and tops.
men traditional-kurta pyjama/jabho langho or pants and polo shirts. Shoes can be sandals or flats.

Wedding Ceremony (bride and groom’s families and friends) (formal attire)

women traditional-saree and sandals.
women western-elegant dress and heels
men traditional-sherwani and pointed slippers.
men western-suits and dress shoes.

Reception (bride and groom’s families and friends) (business casual)

women traditional- chaniya choli or saree whichever will be most comfortable.
women western-nice dresses and sandals, flats or heels.
men traditional-kurta pyjama/jabho langho or sherwani and dancing shoes.
men western-nice pants and button down shirts or suits.

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Mehndi party
Mehndi party

Mehndi (bride’s family) (very casual): This is a henna (tattoos made with special plant-based dye) party for the females, which happens the night before the Raas-Garba. The men usually hang out in a space next to where the women are getting henna-fied. They meet up with the women to help them eat (since they cannot use their hands for several hours) at the buffet-style dinner later in the evening.

Mehndi Clothing: Dress is very casual. Women wear traditional salwar kameez (skinny cloth pants and long sleeveless, cap-sleeved or long sleeved tops, a dupatta or scarf is optional). Choose clothing that will be comfortable while you sit for several hours. Maxi dresses or comfortable jeans and tops are options. Sandals are the typical footwear, although these are always left at the entryway in Indian homes. Men wear jeans or shorts and shirts.

Raas-Garba (bride and groom’s families and friends) (business casual): This event is similar to a Western reception. The night before the wedding, guests eat; drink, unless they happen to be in a dry state (which we were in when attending a wedding in Gujarat, India) or prefer not to for religious reasons, and dance Raas (male folk dance) and Garba (traditional Gujarat state dance). Let’s Do Garba Instructional Video

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Candle lighting at Raas-Garba
Candle lighting at Raas-Garba

The Raas-Garba begins with a prayer and lighting of a candle by the bride and groom. Guests form different circles (the goal is to dance in the largest circle, as people congregate to the best dancer’s circle) throughout the night and dance to non-stop music. Waiters usually walk around with trays of water to keep everyone hydrated. There is a buffet-style dinner of traditional vegetarian Indian fare, including dal (lentils and spices).

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Chaniya choli for Raas-Garba
Chaniya choli for Raas-Garba

Raas-Garba Clothing: Women wear chaniya (also known as lehenga) cholis
(3-piece traditional Indian dance outfit, which includes a cap sleeved blouse, skirt and dupatta, long piece of fabric, wrapped diagonally around the front to cover the exposed midriff, it is shorter than the dupatta used for sarees). Dancing can be done barefoot, or with comfortable dancing shoes that won’t slip off throughout all the turns and jumps. Closed-toed flats are usually best. Men wear kurta pyjama (also known jabho langho) (skinny pants and a long shirt with a slit neck). On their feet they can choose sandals or slippers. For Western clothing, women can wear nice dresses and nice slacks and button down shirts are appropriate for the men. Again, shoes accompanying the outfits should be appropriate for dancing.

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Chaniya choli and bungdi slid onto and tied to the dupatta (in order to hold the pattern)
Chaniya choli and bungdi slid onto and tied to the dupatta (in order to hold the pattern)

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Men's kurta pyjama/jabho langho. Right: Chaniya choli and example of braided hair extension
Men's kurta pyjama/jabho langho. Right: Chaniya choli and example of braided hair extension

Raas-Garba Accessories: Women wear an abundance of bungdi (bangles). Ladies select about a dozen for each arm in colors that will complement their chaniya choli. The bangles are arranged into a pattern, which must be the same on both arms. This can take up to 30 minutes to do. A ‘set’ (earrings, usually elaborate dangly ones, ring and necklace) is also worn.

Raas-Garba Hair and Makeup: These are usually done at a salon, similar to the process for Western weddings. Guests ask for a variety of up-dos or down-dos. In India, they also supply hair extensions or braid extensions (as shown in photo). Colorful flowers or similar hair adornments are worn. Makeup is done with a lot of heavy eyeliner, to accentuate the eyes and a sparkly bindi (gem pressed between the eyebrows) is worn to protect the wearer from bad spirits.

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Grah Shanti offering ceremony
Grah Shanti offering ceremony

Grah Shanti (bride’s family) (very casual): This is a type of puja (prayer) ceremony done the morning of the wedding. The family of the bride and those closest to her gather to make different offerings to the Hindu Gods to ensure a blessed ceremony and union. A priest blesses the fruits, nuts and small item offerings, which the bride’s family will give to the groom’s family later in the day.

There is also a ‘grab the sweet’ game. To play, a small mound of what looks to be clay, but is actually a grey-colored sweet called kuler, is placed in the center of a circle. The eldest male protects the sweet clay-like substance from capture by the eldest aunt by swatting at the her with a large, knotted cloth as she lounges for the treat. There is drumming, impromptu Garba dancing and a buffet-style meal.

Modern Hindu wedding guide: examples of different salwar kameez at Grah Shanti
Examples of different salwar kameez at Grah Shanti

Grah Shanti Clothing: Women wear the salwar kameez or casual Western clothing and men wear kurta pyjama/jabho langho or pants and polo shirts. Shoes can be sandals or flats.

Wedding Ceremony (bride and groom’s families and friends) (formal attire): The traditional wedding colors are green, red and white. Don’t wear red, or white (a color worn for Hindu funerals).

The three-hour ceremony takes place on a circular stage adorned with flowers and crystals.

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Wedding ceremony stage
Wedding ceremony stage

The groom arrives at the venue with a group of dancers and small parade. In India, he will ride into the venue parking lot on a horse. He and his family are the first to take the stage. Once there, the bride’s family comes to them to present the offerings, which were blessed earlier in the day at the Grah Shanti. Guests mill around, chat, and eat at the International buffet-style dinner, which serves dishes like Waldorf salad, pastas, and even Mexican fare. The bride and groom’s immediate families do not eat until the end of the ceremony.

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Groom's arrival at wedding, accompanied by dancers and drummers
Groom's arrival at wedding, accompanied by dancers and drummers

A cloth is placed in front of the groom to block his view as the male members of the bride’s family carry her to the stage. On the stage, the females in her family shake small, decorated cans filled with metal to ward off bad spirits. A bit of black eyeliner has also been marked behind her ear to keep the evil spirits at a distance.

Modern Hindu wedding guide: The sapta padi
The sapta padi

Everyone pays attention to the sapta padi (walking of seven steps/vows) around a sacred fire:

  1. Plentitude of food.
  2. Mental and physical strength and a healthy life free from ailments.
  3. For the successful performance of their spiritual duties.
  4. Happiness in all walks of life.
  5. Prayer for the welfare of all living beings.
  6. Bountiful seasons all over the world.
  7. Prayer and sacrifice for universal peace.

As in other ceremonies, there are small games to keep guests entertained. One of which is the groom’s shoe hide-and-seek. The groom’s shoe is hidden at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. Whoever finds it, presents it to him and asks for money as a reward. The groom, if he wishes that his marriage goes well, is obligated to give the cash reward.

The marriage is confirmed after the tying of the manga sutra (sacred thread) or with the sapta padi. After that, a receiving line forms and the guests congratulate the couple and gift them envelopes filled with cash (the standard Hindu wedding gift). At the end of the night there is an emotional farewell between the bride and her family, accompanied by sad, traditional songs. The luggage she has packed to take to her new family's home (the groom's family) is blessed and she is pulled away from her parents' embraces and whisked off to her in-laws.

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Examples of men's sherwani and women's saree
Examples of men's sherwani and women's saree

Wedding Ceremony Clothing (Accessories, Hair and Makeup similar to Raas-Garba): Men wear sherwani (a long coat, which can be paired with a sleeveless under-vest and pants). Pointed slippers are the shoes of choice. The groom wears this, in addition to a safo (also known as a turban) (head wrap). Ladies wear saree (petticoat in same color as the dupatta scarf, with the dupatta wrapped around the waist, tucked into the petticoat and pinned and pleated across the chest and midriff, a capped sleeve half blouse is also worn). Women wear sandals for footwear. If opting for Western clothes, men may wear suits and dress shoes. Ladies should put on elegant dresses and heels. How to Wrap a Saree Instructional Video

Modern Hindu wedding guide: Examples of sarees
Examples of sarees

Reception (bride and groom’s families and friends) (business casual): This is the last of the events and is hosted by the groom’s family. In India, the reception is literally just a receiving line. The bride and groom, along with the groom’s family, spend several hours on a stage greeting congratulatory guests armed with envelopes of cash. All of this is filmed and broadcast on a giant screen near the buffet tables. Again, International fare is served for dinner.

In the United States, Hindu wedding receptions tend to be more Western-esque, consisting of eating, drinking and dancing. In India, they are obviously much more of a cultural affair, and can vary greatly depending upon ethnicity and local traditions.

Reception Clothing (Accessories, Hair and Makeup similar to Raas-Garba): Women can wear either chaniya choli or saree whichever will be most comfortable. For a western style, a nice dress and shoes will suffice. Men too can decide between kurta pyjama/jabho langho and sherwani. And for a western look, nice pants and button downs or a suit are appropriate. Shoes, especially for receptions in the U.S., should be made for dancing.

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Published in India

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