October is the beginning of wedding season in India. Traveling along the roads in the countryside, in the small towns, all over the cities you see signs of weddings to come and weddings just past. Cars are decorated with elaborate marigold strands strung over nearly every surface of the metal body. Entrances to homes are decorated with the customary wedding awnings & tents. Fresh paint is applied to once shabby looking homes and surrounding buildings.
In an Indian village, dishes, mats, pots and pans (among other wedding party items) are gathered from a community supply. Several villages will collect the necessary wedding party items over years and lend out among the various weddings each year. Guests come by bus, car and foot from surrounding villages up to 20 kms away to celebrate. Meals are provided several times in the day as well as a floor for any guests who wish to spend the night.
In the larger towns, huge wedding halls can be seen on the highways just outside of the town limits. Ample parking is provided to accommodate the large crowds who gather. The halls are landscaped with various themes almost like a mini Disneyland. One place might be a tropical garden while a competitor next door may have a European look and feel to the building and grounds. Large road signs with elaborate marketing messages conveying the theme, parking and easy access for each property are well placed at their respective entrances. Attached hotel rooms can be found at most of these properties since village/town weddings can last up to 3 days.
In Indian cities, banquet rooms are rented in the 5 star hotels catering to the large groups of invited guests. Various events take place over several days. But, unlike the village where the wedding party will last from morning to night for nearly 3 days, the main function of a city wedding lasts a few hours at the rented hotel hall.
Of course no wedding would be complete without the wedding band. One can only imagine how well they do during wedding season with seemingly endless functions to book. The band serves multiple roles from entertaining the guests during meet and greet times to signaling the time for guests to move on to the next party/function location.