The Intricacies of South Asian Marriage: Traditions and Modern Adaptations

Arranged Marriage

Arranged marriage is a longstanding tradition in South Asian cultures and is still practiced today. In this type of marriage, the parents of the couple arrange their union with the help of a matchmaker. The family’s reputation, caste, and financial status are often taken into account during the selection process. Contrary to popular belief, arranged marriages do not necessarily mean forced marriages. In most cases, the potential bride and groom are given the power of consent before finalizing any arrangements.

Love Marriage

The concept of love marriage, where the couple chooses each other freely, is a newer concept in South Asian culture. However, it is becoming increasingly popular. This type of marriage doesn’t require matchmakers or guardians, but rather the couple chooses to enter into a union based on love. This trend is often propelled by Western culture.

The Wedding

The wedding is an extravaganza and can last for several days in South Asian culture. A lavish celebration is held, and hundreds of guests are invited. The bride’s parents are responsible for most of the wedding arrangements and expenses; the groom and his family just show up. The ceremony reflects the couple’s religious customs, with rituals such as the making of garlands and applying mehndi on the bride’s hands and feet as a way of blessing the union.


The wedding ensemble for the bride is usually a red lehenga or sari adorned with gold embroidery. The groom is similarly dressed and is often seen wearing a sherwani embroidered with gold and jewels. Nowadays, South Asian brides often tend to go for light makeup to match their outfits, while previously, most brides used to go for heavy bridal makeup.

Challenges & Adaptations

While traditional South Asian weddings are a sight to see, couples in South Asia and the diaspora find ways to adapt to modern times while also maintaining traditional customs. For example, choosing between an arranged or a love marriage is not as black and white as it may seem. Some couples opt for semi-arranged marriages, where family and friends introduce the couple, but ultimately, it is their decision to take things further. Moreover, to honor their roots while being in a different country, couples have adopted traditions like using a white wedding gown for the Nikah ceremony, which is typically held in a mosque.

Society and family pressure to maintain cultural traditions can also create chaos when considered alongside modern norms. For instance, Indian and Pakistani society are still seen as conservative, and it is frowned upon for couples to engage in public display of affection outside marriage. However, many young people tend to disregard that to an extent.

In conclusion, while South Asian marriages have the many intricacies that come with rich traditions, young couples are coming up with ways to adapt to modern times while still maintaining their roots. Whether it’s choosing between an arranged or a love marriage, the wedding ceremonies, or the cultural dress code, the dynamics of South Asian marriage continue to evolve. Interested in further exploring the topic discussed in this article? Click now, filled with additional and valuable information to supplement your reading.

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