Planning a Kerala Wedding in North India

Planning an authentic Kerala matrimonial ceremony in a North Indian state can be easier said than done. This is simply because everything from your traditional Kerala clothing, jewelry, décor and even food can be difficult to find in North India. Most of the couples’ shop for their traditional items from their hometown well in advance before the wedding takes place so that they don’t have to struggle last minute in their destination wedding location.


Plan the wedding dates for off season
The peak season for northern Indian weddings is during the entire winter season from November till February end. It is important to book your wedding dates during the off season so that you get affordable rates for the wedding halls, reception lawns and even normal rates for décor and caterers. During the peak season, all the services are at almost double the price rates which means you will end up spending a bomb just on décor and food! If you do somehow end up with a peak season date, try to plan out everything in advance so that you don’t have to pay peak season prices for dresses, caterers, décor, hall and reception law rents etc.

Shorten your guest list
Since a lot of your family from Kerala and the middle east will be coming down to Punjab for the wedding, this might cost you a lot of money. Everything from the ticket prices, travel and accommodation, food etc. will be on you so you might want to plan your guest list out accordingly. If you and your partner have majority of your family in Kerala, that would mean flying down your entire family to Punjab for your Kerala matrimonial ceremony which is as good as a small destination wedding. Plan your guest list in a way where you have only your near and dear ones along with close friends. This will definitely cut your costs by 1/3rd.

Book services in bulk
Booking anything in bulk is cheaper as compared to individually booking the same thing. When it comes to hotel rooms, airline or train tickets, transport such as bus or cars on rent and other such services, book them in bulk to avail the best discounts and costs. A lot of hotels also provide complimentary lunch and dinner packages if you promise them a particular number of room bookings in advance.

Research on the best authentic Kerala caterers
These days, it is not very difficult to find your choice of caterers in any city, but it is important to do a proper research on the various caterers in the city where you plan to get married. You can also do a taste test with these caterers to see the authenticity of their Kerala style food. A lot of caterers charge a very minimal price for a tasting session where you can try their different varieties of dishes before you book them.

Apart from this, you can also hire a good wedding planner who can organize a proper authentic Kerala style wedding for you!

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Adding a Royal Touch to Your Kerala Wedding

The most conspicuous aspect of Kerala Matrimonial is that the weddings are simple and short. They are sweet and contain less of rituals and traditions. Held in the morning, they get over as soon as they start! That’s how people describe the sweet rituals of Kerala marriages in comparison with other lavish and elaborate wedding traditions of the country’s different regions and cultures. The people are rooted to the culture and believe in minimalistic presentations in these weddings. These factors make Kerala weddings not that lavish and magnificent in show as the North Indian ones.

However, the younger folks are becoming more and more cosmopolitan and there are many ways you can make your simple and elegant wedding appear regal and majestic.

kerala matrimony
  • The introductory note: Marriage ceremonies can exhaust you out and make you go all over the pace. The trick is, however, to keep calm and have a steady checklist of elements that make the ceremony click. In this regard, your wedding décor may necessitate some serious overhaul if all the concerned components aren’t there.
  • Stick to the theme: The basic and perhaps the safest way to make your Kerala Matrimonial look royal is to stick to a theme. If you’re an epitome of perfection, you’ll know the purport of sticking to a theme. Do keep to a code of color. The safest way is to choose a certain theme based on a particular color. Most Kerala weddings choose white color.
  • The furniture and sitting style in compliance with the theme: If you’re going for s spotless white wedding, you can have a British tent with clean, white chairs inside it as the ultimate clincher. It normally wonderful as an outdoor setup in a lovely lawn. You can also take crystal theme ideas for your indoor white ceremonies. It can have jars and vases on the tables, with each of them entailing a rustic touch to the set.
  • Knitting the backdrop with the color code and theme: The backdrop is a pivotal aspect of the wedding décor as that’s the area where the main highlight of event goes. If you move the bride and groom away, there’s no wedding at all. You need to give that importance to the backdrop while picking it. Hence, you need to choose a backdrop in accordance with the style you’re looking to suit the theme.
  • Bolstering the entrance: Keeping the entrance at its regal best is the best thing to make your wedding look royal. First impression is the last impression. So, decorate your entrance to its brim to ensure that every guest is impressed as soon as they walk in. Since these are morning weddings, choose light colors like beige, pink, fuchsia, teal blue and similar shades.
  • Bedeck the dining space to suit your theme: It may seem to be an unnecessary step to some, but you need to remember that your invitees are going to spend a lot of time here. It’s always better to decorate the dining area, making them feel comfortable and good about it.

Aesthetics do matter a lot in weddings, you see.

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The Ritual Celebrations at a Kerala Wedding

The most beautiful and unique facet of a Kerala Matrimonial is that despite being subservient to Vedic customs, beliefs, philosophies and rituals, they are simple and succinct. The focus is not merely on the show and pomp. In fact, there’s no pomp or show at all. The emphasis is never on the loud music, extravagant preparations, but core rituals and pious observations. They entail comparatively much fewer rituals and religious testimonies. For example, if you ever attend a traditional Nair wedding, you will find that it mostly happens in a nearby temple. Most of the times, however, the bride’s residence is the epicenter of the marriage function.

At times, you can organize the function is some wedding hall or convention center that’s convenient for the families. There is a series of pre-wedding, wedding and post-wedding rituals, which are less in number. The wedding gets over in the morning itself. Everything happens in a ceremonious pattern and a group of ladies carry diyas or deepams. The banana stalks, fabric and flowers and palm fronds make it beautiful.

kerala matrimony
  • Muhurtham: The parents from both families meet and exchange the horoscopes/kundalis. If the horoscopes match, the elders choose an ideal date in consultation with the preist. This auspicious day or muhurtham is finalized with the consent of the family astrologer.
  • The pre-nuptial ceremony caters to the bride: This ceremony is all about blessing the bride. It takes place at the house of the bride on the day before the marriage day. The closest relatives and family members attend the ritual. Often, it involves a great feast. The bride adorns a fine silk sari and gorgeous jewelry. She then seats facing towards the east. Relatives pour in from all corners of the family, showering their blessings on her. The groom’s family also conducts a similar event.
  • Nischayam: It’s the engagement ceremony where the elders announce, share the date, rejoice and mutually celebrate the rapturous event. The revelry comes once the day of marriage is officially announced. The approved and tabled horoscopes are then exchanged during the course of the function. During the celebrations, some families also conduct a ring exchange event called the mothiram maattal. The families give gifts to each other here.
  • Mehendi ceremony: Needless to say, it’s kind of rare to find this ceremony in Kerala Matrimonial. The exception is Nair weddings that celebrate mehendi ceremony with grandeur and gusto. It takes place at the house of the bride. Her aunts apply mehendi, deep paste on her hands.
  • Dakshina kodukkal: The couple receives blessings of their parents and relatives. They offer them dakshina by touching their feet. The ritual takes place at their homes. After completing the part, they leave for their wedding destination.
  • The set of wedding rituals: You will find that the most chosen venues to organize a weeding are the ancestral house of the bride. However, it has become more a matter of conveyance and convenience these days. Many families rather go for temples or nearby convention centers.

Regarding the Kanyadan ritual, the bride’s family and especially her father warmly welcomes the groom and her mother washes his legs and takes him to the dais.

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Kerala Weddings: How They Happen

In all Hindu marriages, the kundali or the horoscope forms the cardinal basis of decision making. Matching of the horoscopes and stars of the boy and girl, nakshatra porutham is essential to Kerala Matrimonial as well. An astrologer is called to confirm this matching. That’s the first step. Both the families come together to give their nod to it and select a date, affirmed by the astrologer. It only happens when they fix their wedlock relation. The close relatives, friends and neighbors of the boy visit the girl’s house to do it.

Known as Virunnu, they fix the day with the family of the girl and select a date for Jathakam Vangal. That’s what it’s called in local parlance.

kerala matrimony
  • The beginning of it all: Several dozen friends, neighbors and relative go to the girl’s house for the betrothal ceremony. If the ring exchange (Mothiram Maral) between the girl and boy happens as a token of wedding fixation, the groom and his parents also accompany the other relatives. The pivotal function during this betrothal ceremony is the reception of the horoscope of the girl. It is accepted by her maternal uncle and handed over to the others standing on what you call Nilavilakku, a traditional oil lamp in Kerala made from bell metal. It’s lighted with a minimum of six cotton wicks and a Nirapara, which is a full lot of paddy. You also out aerca nut, betel leaves, coconut bunch and incense sticks.
  • The next part: The date, day and the auspicious Thalikettu time or Muhoortham, typing of the holy nuptial knot is prescribed by the astrologer. He gives a slip carrying all these details to the bride’s family and the groom’s family a few days before the actual day. It’s a custom. On the day of marriage, the girl goes to a local temple and offers Vazhipad and a garland (Nirmala) full of Thulasi or the holy basil. She prays for a happy married life.
  • The marriage day: On the Kerala Matrimonial day, the groom and his wedding entourage, numbering 200-800 or even 1000 arrive at the venue right before the Muhoortham. The bride’s elder brother receives the groom with a bouquet and holds the prospective brother-in-law’s right hand and takes him to the stage. The bride’s mother puts raw rice laced with Thulasi leaves on this head and elder brother’s wife holds a Nilavilaku. The three then take the groom to the raised marriage stage or Kalyana Mandapam, which is embellished with flowers. They request him to be seated on the right side of the chair and face east.
  • The bride enters: Soon, the bride enters the scene wearing the gold ornaments and the expensive Kalayana or wedding sari presented by groom’s elder sister. The elder sister comes to the fore with a Thalam of banana, which is an auspicious and important wick-light in proportionate amount of coconut put in a steel vessel of circular brass. After the bride encircles the mandap thrice, she sits left to her groom.

The priest then conducts the pooja and gives the thalimala to the groom to tie around the neck of his bride.

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What Makes Kerala Weddings Special

People often ask a question on Kerala Matrimonial, ‘Do the Malyalis purchase the gold on kilo rate?’ Well that might sound ridiculous, but if you ever attend a Kerala wedding, a typical one at that, then your jaw is sure to drop as you watch the decked up bride, laden with gold make her delicate, coy and counted way to the embellished stage. She is almost bent to comma or side by the immense weight of those gold ornaments on her body.

When she comes to a total stop at the stage’s center and then turn towards the invitees with a delightful gaze a reverential pause and dignity put on her the tremendous amount of accoutrements, the guests exclaim, “ Oh! That much gold, so much of it, wow! Kerala is indeed rich.” This is a customary thing at Kerala weddings.

  • The specialty concerned: Well, ask any Maliyali. Gold is the pride of this state and you will notice countless advertising hoardings and jewelry showrooms gracing the streets. Some the models and actors promoting them might from other parts of India, but the customers are obviously native. If it isn’t the massive amount of gold and other jewelry, it has to be silk saris, rich and spun with undiluted and pure gold string and thread. This tread seems to tantalizingly billow and swirl out of those flashy bill boards and make their way to the bride’s body. So, let’s change the tagline, welcome to Kerala, God’s no, Gold’s own, very own country!’
  • The recent change: Brevity and simplicity was once used to be the soul of a Kerala Matrimonial. They are not the way it used to be, the refreshingly and uniquely short weddings when the ceremony ended virtually as soon as it started and invitees who missed the car or bus, or got delayed by some on-road or sneezing catch or fit were, accompanied and escorted straight to the eating area. Now, the weddings are bigger and continued.
  • The simplicity of the marriage: This is another recommending feature of a Kerala wedding. Not just the rituals are simple and don’t need priests when conducted outside a temple, the participants exude simplicity too. However, the last half of the previous century has witnessed a paradigm shift from the austere and unostentatious and coy bride, beautifully clad in a simple, elegant silk sari (cream), and decked with a few ornaments to exude her beauty to the now gold-laden or armored version that’s prevalent today.
  • Other noticeable changes: The trademark plain-off, spotless white shirt and dhoti have become passé now, well almost. The groom is also into silk, wearing an expensive and shinny dhoti with a garish and enriched silk kurta. May be, he would have preferred a churidar or Sherwani, but for the pragmatic hassles of sitting in a cross-legged manner in such attire, that style hasn’t crept in as yet.

Today’s Kerala weddings aren’t just ceremonies. There are elaborate and flashy betrothal ceremonies preceding it and transmogrifying into a plethora of events that span for a few days. Now, you have haldi, mehendi and sangeeth ceremonies taking place with full fanfare.

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Essential Pujas Before a Traditional Kerala Wedding

The culturally strong and sensitive Malayalees begin their wedding preparations before the actual ceremony. They plan it before weeks or even months at times. The muhurtham and date of the marriage are finalized for the wedding ceremonies and the engagement. Thereafter, both the families of the soon-to-be bride and the groom wait for the wedding date with a lot of anticipation. They have a lot of anxiety and expectations right from this day. The pre-wedding days of a Kerala Matrimonial are filled with celebration and enthusiasm in the houses of the bride and groom.


It largely includes large-scale feasting. The series of pujas performed before the wedding entail special significance.

  • Muhurtham: Marking the main space of pre-wedding customs in Malayalee marriages, Muhurtham sets the tone for the showdown. Well before the wedlock spectacle, the parents of the groom and prospective bride exchange their kundalis. They check the compatibility of the soon-to-be couple. Before they tie the nuptial knot, this part is necessary. If and after the horoscopes match, the priest chooses an auspicious time and day. It is called muhurtham. The family astrologer figures out the date, the day to conduct the engagement and the wedding ceremony. They fix the wedding day after the consulting about the same with you.
  • The engagement ceremony or Nischayam: Nischayam in Kerala Matrimonial is traditionally performed at the ancestral abode of the bride. This is done to formally announce the marriage’s confirmation. The close relatives and family members witness this private affair. However, with evolving times, people want to venue away from their own houses. They choose places like lawns, banquet halls or resorts. These days, faraway relatives and friends also attend the ceremony to witness this momentous occasion.
  • More on the tradition: Traditionally, the engagement ceremony or nischaya thamboolam is exchanged of both sides. In current times, they also exchange the engagement ring during this ceremony. It happens mostly when the marriage is just a few months post the occasion. This ceremony is followed by a sumptuous and lavish feast at the venue or home of the bride. Here, traditional dishes of the state are served to each guest.
  • Visit to the temple and traditional feast: The hosts serve traditional food to the guests of the bride and the members of her family. It happens a day before the main wedding. The bride is asked to sit facing eastwards. She takes a traditional and pure vegetarian meal, which is five-course. She has this meal with her family members. In certain malayalee communities, the girl also visits a temple in the vicinity along with her family members to offer prayers and respect to God. After returning from God’s abode, the bride asks for blessings from elders and relatives. She touches their feet. The groom also follows a similar ritual at his house. It takes place a day before the D-day.

If you just look at the dish served to guests, you will know how much importance is placed on the vestige of the region. Weddings are the tools to present your culture and keralites do it excellently.

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Ways to Make a Kerala Wedding a Treat to The Eye

Kerala weddings have their splendor and beauty ingrained in their simplicity and cultural vestige. They don’t carry the pomp and extravagant display of money and resources that’s such a common thing in North India. The wedding is simple and beautiful. It takes place in the morning and the entire ritual gets over by sunset. To make the set and day eye-catching, you need to enhance the resources you have because you can’t go beyond them. That’s the first limitation in a Kerala Matrimonial.

Already known for their heavy jewelry and ornaments, Malayali brides are simply the cynosure of the day. From head to waist, they are laden with heavy, ornate jewelry. It is the huge amount of gold that adorns these women. They make things look catchy and definitely different.

  • The array of dishes after marriage: There is a brilliant series of post-wedding meals. They say the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Welcome to Kerala Matrimonial. The wedding ceremony is commonly over within lunchtime. The platter consists of side dishes, par boiled pink rice, pickles, savories and desserts scattered across the plantain leaf.
  • Blending the tradition: Tradition states and insists that the main tapering end of the concerned leaf points the seated guests’ left. The feast starts with the hosts serving Parippu. It is a liquid curry made of ghee and small gram. Sambar is the second course, followed by Avial, which is another side dish. It’s a blend of coconut paste, vegetables and green chilies. You will find that some of the auxiliary crucial side dishes entail olan and thoran. The savories entail ginger pickle, upperi, pappadam, khichadi and pachchadi.
  • Drop down to desserts: Mid-way through the meal, they serve desserts. Then you have Payasam or pudding, which is a thick fluid serving or dish brimming with coconut milk, sweet brown molasses and spices. They are garnished with raisins and cashew nuts. Then you have a ripe yellow and golden plantain called Pazham, which is usually served with the payasams. After serving payasams, they serve you rice again accompanies with spicy rasam. It’s a great juncture of the wedding feast. Then you have seasoned and fresh buttermilk called Kaalan. It’s served at the end of the meal. You might have noticed by now that the entire menu is bustling with delicious and pure vegetarian meals.
  • Thriving on traditions: There is a plethora of interesting rituals and traditions happening at Malayali weddings. It starts from nischayam or the main engagement. It snowballs into wedding feast called the sadya. In contemporary times, the groom and bride tend to imbibe some north Indian traditions too.
  • Bolstering the light and mood: Well, considering the fact that the wedding happens during daytime, there’s not much scope to bring in heavy-duty lamps and bulbs. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot deck it up. Small dim light bulbs are brilliant tools to sync with the sunlight.

You can increase the radiance and vibrancy of the day in this way. The paper flowers and lanterns are added things here.

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Typical Meals in Keralite Weddings

Why are weddings sought after in India? To celebrate the sacred union of two beautiful souls, to have fun and frolic with all relatives and friends under a single roof and most importantly, for having delicious, lip smacking food. Weddings in India have always been a grand affair with beautiful decor, enjoyable rituals and last but not the least lavish food.

Whether it is about spicy chicken tikka in a typical Punjabi wedding or having delicious mutton biryani in a Nizam-style Hyderabadi wedding – food in weddings has always been a major attraction for one and all. Visit any state; any wedding in any region – food always is an integral part of a successful wedding.

Hence, in every wedding the hosts ensure that they offer the best of dishes from various cuisines. Weddings in the southern region of the sub-continent in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka also focus largely on the food at the wedding.

Weddings in this part of the country are quiet, simple and traditional in nature emitting an essence of ancient Indian culture. But going by the simplicity of the weddings, do not ever be of the opinion that the food might be simple too! The food is neither simple nor boring; in fact when it comes to food, south Indian weddings might give stiff competition to any other region.

Wedding Food
Kerala Wedding Food

With a grand menu, a royal display and an affectionate way of serving makes food in Kerala matrimonial ceremonies delectable.

Since time immemorial, Keralites serve their food on banana leaves and have several courses of meal – each time a completely different variety with distinct taste and flavour. This entire-regal food affair is mainly vegetarian and is more popularly known as the ‘Sadhya’ in local language.

This pure vegetarian meal is delicious. The main item is rice – semi-polished Kerala red rice served with a variety of vegetarian dishes with sharkara upperi (jaggery chips), kaaya varuthathu (banana chips), sambar, rasam and parippu(lentil dish) being an integral part of the servings. These are accompanied with aviyal (mixed vegetables with coconut), kaalan (mixture of yogurt, coconut and yam), olan (preparation of pumpkin, coconut milk and ginger), koottukari (hot and spicy preparation of vegetable with coconut), kichadi (mixture of yogurt and cucumber). The meal is accompanied by mouth watering pastes, pickles, chutneys that is – achaar (spicy pickle of raw mango, lime or lemon), puliyinchi (a paste ginger, tamarind, green chillies and jaggery) associated with thoran (dish of sautéed vegetables of peas, green beans, raw jackfruit, carrots and cabbage prepared with grated coconut), pachadi (a sweeter version of kichadi made with grapes, pineapple and coconut) and pappadam. The end to this grand meal is the sweet dish of prathaman – like the traditional payasam made of milk with flakes of cooked rice.

Do not make a mistake while choosing caterers for your Kerala wedding. Select the best caterers with years of experience in making authentic Keralite food. Their flawless service and lip smacking food is sure to make your Keralite wedding a huge hit.

Sacred Rituals in a Kerala Wedding

India is a land of celebration, tradition and customs and these are seen vividly at Indian marriages. Kerala weddings are a fine example of these age old rites and rituals followed with simplicity and elegance. Let’s take a look at the various rituals that make Kerala matrimony a special one.

Pre Wedding Rituals:

Engagement Saadya

Nishchyam or the Engagement Ceremony – An engagement usually takes place at the bride’s house where both the families meet and the astrologer takes out an auspicious day for the wedding. A peculiar tradition at these engagements is that the bride and the groom are not present. The ceremony is culminated with a grand Sadya or a traditional Malyalee meal served on a banana leaf.

Thaleluarieduva – This ceremony happens separately at both the ends of bride’s and the groom’s family either on the wedding day or a day prior. It is an occasion for the family members to bless the bride and the groom and as a symbol of prosperity they pour raw rice over their heads.

Wedding Rituals:

On the wedding day, the bride goes to a temple to give Vazhipad (offering) and Nirmala (garland) asking for a good married life. At the wedding venue the elder brother of the bride receives the groom with a bouquet while the prospective mother-in-law showers raw-rice mixed with Tulsi leaves. Thereafter, the groom is taken to the mandap.

For the actual wedding ceremony the bride arrives in a traditional Kasavu Saree accompanied to the mandap by her aunts and sisters each of them holding lamps. The bride along with her aunts encircles the mandap three times and then she is seated to the left of the groom.

After they are seated, the groom’s parents get a thali or a mangalsutra with a leaf like pendant. The groom ties this around the bride’s neck. As a symbol of union and happiness, garlands are exchanged between the bride and the groom. Thereafter, the father of the bride holds the bride’s hand and gives it to the groom. It signifies that the father has now handed over the apple of his eye to the groom’s family.

The priest recites some verses from the Vedas for the happy and prosperous wedded life of the couple during this ceremony, which the father of the bride has to repeat. At the end, the groom holds the bride’s hand and goes around the stage three times. As a token of thanks and in reverence both the bride and the groom give dakshina (token amount) to the priest. To culminate this simple yet meaningful wedding a sadya or grand meal is served.

Post Wedding Rituals:

Grihapravesh: The newlywed couple is welcomed at the groom’s place by his relatives. The bride holds a Nilavilakku (traditional lamp) while entering the groom’s house. She steps into the house with her right leg first. A Ganpathi pooja is performed by the couple as a mark of good omen. The bride then boils milk in the kitchen as a symbol of her inclusion into the new family.

Lastly, relatives from the bride’s family arrive to take the couple to their house where they stay for 4-5 days.

Malyalee weddings are short and simple but steeped in tradition and customs. They bring out the real essence of marriage and union between two people.