© 2023 Dr. Margaret Sheppard

Life Cycle Babies Childhood Puberty Engagement Weddings Death

The White Wedding

This white wedding is fairly typical of today’s weddings. It was held a a big hotel which provided all the catering etc. In fact it was arranged fairly quickly as the girl had a boyfriend of whom the  parents did not approve so a matchmaker was consulted to organise an alternative. Here she is being led out by Kandy dancers to the wedding plinth. She had been “prepared” from the early hours - make-up, hair dressing etc.

She is led to the wedding dais where her husband is waiting and then at the exact lucky time they both step onto the platform

Their hands are tied together and then the wedding night sheet is tied around the bride

Yellow root water is poured over their hands joined by the officiant with string

Young girls sing the traditional song of welcome to the couple

Bride’s mother is thanked for caring for her daughter

She is given a gift

Rings are exchanged

Bridegroom fastens the gold wedding necklace around the bride’s neck

Following other presentations the Matchmaker then greets the couple

The couple then step down from the wedding platform and light the first wicks of their married life

Lucky time is checked for next stage


The couple then retire to a wedding bower to await the lucky time for the…

…civil ceremony - the Registrar formally registers the marriage

Then follow the speeches by relatives  and friends plus on the right a leading local politician

The matchmaker sees them into the car.

The bridal car then drives them off. The next day the Red Wedding is held. This is organised by the Groom’s family who provide all the clothes and arrangements. The bride is dressed in a red sari. When the bride’s family arrive they bring the dowry with them. This is unloaded into the bride’s new house. Usually it consists of furniture, cooking utensils plus golden jewels (that can be pawned if necessary) agricultural implements etc. according to what type of family she is marrying into .

Two of guests in front of wedding cake

Guests serve themselves from buffet

The bridal couple’s first meal together - they feed each other

The guests eat - typically a wedding hall has 2 halves one for women and the other for men who smoke and drink alcohol.

The matchmaker - he will receive 10% of the dowry paid by bride’s family

“Together dancing” - relatives and guests from the bride’s and groom’s families intermingle , dancing together

In the meantime the couple have changed for the cutting of the wedding cake. They “feed” each other with the first slice. They then retire to the wedding bower

Whilst “together” dancing continues, the couple are photographed with various relatives and friends - here they are with the bride’s parents.

Then it is time for the bridal couple to leave for the groom’s home or a hotel for the night. The bride says farewell to her parents amongst crying - this is traditional showing she is sad to leave her family.

The couple process out to the waiting car

Then one final pose before they get in.