It is becoming a growing trend for brides and grooms to request their guests to watch the Hindu ceremony in complete silence. On the whole, most guests will oblige and ensure they are respectful of the couple’s wishes, however there may be times when this really isn’t possible. If you’re getting married then it’s important to know there’s a big difference between requesting silence and enforcing silence, with the latter often coming across as a little rude. So, in order to ensure your guests stay seated and enjoy the ceremony, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
1. Background music
Be cautious about the type of music you are using for your ceremony. If you are looking at creating a calming atmosphere then go with live instrumentalists during your ceremony or some very mellow music in the background. Loud music will not help keep guests silent as they will see it as an opportunity to talk as their voices will be drowned out by the music.
2. Spaced out seating
Pushing your guests as close as you can to create more seating is not a good idea. The closer people are the more inclined they are to whisper to one another. Instead try and keep some gaps between the rows so it’s harder for your guests to chat to the people in front and behind them. Please note having round tables is a good option here as all chairs will generally be facing the mandap and people are less inclined to shout over a 6ft table.
Offer your guests some refreshments throughout the ceremony to ensure they remain seated and don’t start wandering off. I strongly discourage individual water bottles being left on the seats as this usually creates a mess at the end of the ceremony and looks unpleasant for photos. Instead ask your catering staff to float around with drinks (and even some small snacks like popcorn if you want) and then collect back any empties.
One of the key determining factors of your ceremony will be your priest. You need to ensure your priest is fully briefed on the type of ceremony you want. It’s best that he’s speaking on the mic so he can address your guests in a polite manner throughout the ceremony. Ensure your priest is not too strict though as this may backfire.
5. Guest numbers
If you really want to have a silent ceremony then look at reducing your numbers. The more people you have, the more chance there is of people making noise. As your guest list gets larger people will be further and further away from the mandap and will be less inclined to see what’s going on at the far end, so it’s easier to get distracted.
6. Be practical
As much as you want your guests to be quiet, understand that it is okay for them to have the occasional chat because there’s nothing worse than being told what to do. People want to feel welcomed, appreciated and mostly have some fun. As much as the day is about you, it’s also about them – give them a little freedom and they’ll respect you all the more for it.