Indian weddings have sacred and holy rituals that require a pandit or a priest to perform the rituals. The Pandit/priest is a major consideration for your wedding. It is the role of the priest or pandit to lead a couple and their families through the sacrament of marriage. However, it is not uncommon for interfaith ministers to be called upon by brides and grooms, as well as for couples who love Hindu rituals, to incorporate some of the rites into non-denominational, interfaith, or multi-faith ceremonies. Usually, families go for the local community pandit or one that has been a part of the family for years. A pandit or a priest is an especially important part of a wedding since the ceremonies cannot be conducted without them.
Choosing a Pandit can be tough! Whether you choose to go for someone your family has known for years or someone new, there are a few things you will need to consider:
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1. Experience of Pandit and Kind of Ceremonies Catered To
Having an experienced pandit to perform the required ceremonies is necessary. You should also check whether or not the pandit is ready to perform the ceremonies you desire and how many other rituals or weddings they have performed. Check if the ceremonies can be changed or modified according to the preference of both families.
In case of an inter-religion wedding, do ask the pandit(s) how they plan to perform the ceremonies and keep them updated with the agreements of both families about the wedding ceremonies.
2. Availability of the Pandit
Pandits are usually in high demand and are unavailable at short notice. Booking the pandit well in advance is important. We recommend asking how long will the rituals take to be able to plan other ceremonies accordingly and if the ceremony can be customized according to the time period you have in time. Confirm the series of events that you are planning for the wedding and whether the pandit can perform these efficiently.
3. Verification of the Pandit
Once the pandit has been shortlisted by you, ask your family, friends, neighbours, if they are trustworthy, and verify if they can perform the rituals specific to your religion and do put down your expectations as well as explain to them your traditions.
4. Keep the Pandit Informed of Functions venue and timings
Give the pandit a list of all the wedding functions and the ceremonies they will be required to perform. Pandit should be well informed about the date, time and venue for every ceremony, where they are required so that the wedding goes smoothly and in a well-mannered fashion. Make sure to discuss the details of all traditions and rituals beforehand – make a list!
5. List Puja Articles required to be Procured by Pandit and/or you
A wedding ceremony requires various articles like ghee, holy water, coconuts etc. So, make sure you ask the pandit if they will be bringing all the required things with them. If not, you will have to make arrangements accordingly.
In case of an out-of-town wedding, also ask if they will make their own travel and accommodation preparations and if the same will be required for his assistants.
6. Check Speech Clarity of Pandit
Since you will have to repeat the mantras being chanted by the pandit, make sure you and your partner are comfortable with them. The pandit should have a clear voice and clarity in speech, they should also be well-versed in your language to make the process easy.
You can also try doing a small puja with him beforehand to check whether you and your partner are comfortable with the pandit or not.
7. Understand the stated and unstated Prices of the Pandit
Get a clear picture of the costs involved and discuss each and everything in detail. From the cost of the materials required for the ceremonies to the cost of performing rituals and travel cost, if any. Don’t forget to confirm any miscellaneous costs that the pandit may add at the end of the wedding. Be clear from the beginning!
It is also recommended to hire a common pandit or 2 pandits representing both sets of families. Both families should be familiar and comfortable with their pandits or the common one. Pandit(s) should be someone who are accommodative and will be able to work with every type of ritual, as well as be cooperative in case any last-minute changes are made. After all, these person(s) will be shouldering the responsibility of conducting one of the most memorable events of your life!
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