Considerations for invitees.
We feel it is important for any participant or host family to the factors that effect their own expectations of weddings. It’s a good starter. All wedding ceremonies are about placing two people together. That is the primary objective of any wedding; and in as peaceful a way as possible. One of the basic mistakes some people make is that of comparing their event to another's or trying to get a preacher to manage the expectations of both sides. What is important to note is that a wedding is more often than not conducted in the style accustomed to the caste of the bride. Why. It simply stops competing demands. It really is this simple.
Also even if we have an event; when we attend another’s event we shouldn’t really be attending to compare and make notes. We should be attending for the couple who’s wedding it is. The Hindu wedding is no different in this way and Hindu ceremonies are conducted by way of emotion and scenes/rituals. By saying rituals we are merely placing a past historical “time” and act/meaning upon the ceremony; acts which our ancestors took part in through prayer. Of course one cannot apply what happened in the past now without some modest modification. Time has not stood still.
There are many considerations a bride and groom must make, and planning an event can be a big task. Here are just a few considerations. Firstly you and your family should be happy with who you have invited to conduct the ceremony. This is so so important. You cannot expect a preacher to be another you could not get. A preachers role is not to apply in concrete what happened hundreds of years ago or what someone else has experienced in their life. Families must understand this. The past is the past. And expectations must be real and current. So, if it is peace, love, and respect that you are trying to instil into your wedding ceremony then you must also ask yourself how "you" can help achieve this whilst balancing a whole array of other expectations from competing elements and family members.
People often ask me how I maintain peace during an event. The truth is an amalgamation of factors affect peace during a ceremony. Location, your overall budget, people numbers, group mix, and sound quality all have an impact. Here are some tips to help you plan in peace to your wedding event. Anyone that says the number of guests at your wedding does not affect peace is mistaken. The more people you invite the greater the chance of "staggered social" noise. It’s not just about numbers alone though.
The behaviour of guests at a wedding is also very very important. It’s important you tell your guests what you expect from them before your event. Trickle feed this information down from family meetings so everyone gets the message. Consider putting a small phrase on the invitation about what you expect of guests. I have not talked about conduct and cleanliness in the Mandap, but there must be a degree of respect from anyone that graces the Mandap also.
Moving onto sound. The type of music you wish at your event is a personal choice. Some choose live instrumental or singers whilst others use laptop DJ's who co-ordinate sound quality and interject with appropriate Gujerati songs during different phases. Remember also, Bollywood vocal music creates a social atmosphere. A wedding is a wedding, a reception is after. Note the difference and think about the environment created.
The quality of sound, acoustics and the natural interjections of the wedding music supplier also have a massive impact on peace. The questions you might wish to ask your supplier. (A) Are the DJ’s, or suppliers, seated where they can view the ceremony so that they can adjust the sound appropriately. (B) Are they actually focussing on the ceremony or focussing on their phones. (C) When the supplier is setting up are they testing the sound with appropriate music, instrumental or devotional music.
(D) The most influential music suppliers will be watching the ceremony throughout so that they can watch the preacher who may be looking for them to do something at any given time. Focus. It is not the preachers role to chase the supplier. Mindset. (E) Have they completed a site visit beforehand. This affects the number and type of speakers they may want to deploy. Skimping on sound quality is very risky.
As for equipment, there is no reason these days for most suppliers not to have a professional headset feed for the preacher. Lapel microphones simply do not pick up voice as well and hands are so often used to communicate, not to hold a microphone. Remember, you select your music provider. Some are professional, others are not.
Lighting. This is another factor that affects behaviour of groups at events. Dark environments aren't so conductive to joyful or peaceful events. Bright light allows people to focus better and reduces chit chat. Keep the area fresh, lit and focussed so that chatty people might think twice about their behaviours. And finally if you think you could benefit by employing a Toastmaster then seriously do consider this option. Guests love a uniform and that too can impact. I always say if you want peace at your event, which alot of people do, then look at your own behaviour at another’s event. The key to PEACE is that we have to sometimes plan it in, and we all have a part to play, not just the preacher. Good luck everyone and I hope these thoughts help you consider your planning and expectations more fully.