Hindu Priest - Frequently Asked Questions
As a priest, I am often asked many questions from couples about their wedding. Many times, I find there are certain questions that are reoccurring. Below is a list of the most common questions and my humble attempts to answer them.
Q1) Are you happy to perform the ceremony for inter-faith relationships because my partner is not a Hindu.
Yes, I am very happy to do this. I find inter-faith marriages are more and more common and no longer the taboo that they would have been 20-30 years ago.
The Hindu wedding ceremony is about the union of two souls. Lord Krishna explains in the Bhagavad Gita that the soul is spiritual and equal in all beings. Therefore, because the Hindu marriage ceremony is the binding of two souls, religion, race, nationality or any other external consideration is absolutely no factor whatsoever.
I have been teaching Hinduism to people from all cultures for nearly 10 years and I can happily explain the ceremony in a fun and easily understandable way for all the guests that may not have ever experienced a Hindu wedding before.
Q2) We are not sure what the wedding entails and what we have to do.
I offer a full consultation service, in person, with the couple (and family if you wish). I will provide you with a list of items we need for the wedding and I will explain the different steps of the ceremony and what you will have to do.
I am happy to incorporate different family traditions into the wedding, without compromising on the essentials. I will tailor the ceremony to make sure everyone is happy.
The idea is to leave all the hard work and technical aspects to the priest. This frees you up to enjoy the day as much as possible because it is one less thing for you to worry about. You can go into the wedding with a peace of mind that everyone knows what they are doing and when, enabling the ceremony to run smooth and without hitches.
Q3) How long does the ceremony take?
From the Ganesh puja and greeting of the groom at the beginning, to the havan and blessings at the end, the whole ceremony should take around 2 hours.
Q4) Our wedding venue is far away, when will you come?
Depending on the location I will either come on the day itself, a couple of hours before to set up, make sure everything is in place and greet the guests and family. Or, I can stay the night nearby the location to ensure I am there bright and early the next morning.
Q5) What are your dietary requirements?
I am a strict vegetarian, which includes no fish or eggs, onions or garlic.
Fish – although not considered meat by some schools of thought, the Vedas explain it is a living animal and thus should not be eaten by a brahmin.
Eggs – have the potential to be life and thus along with fish, should be avoided.
Onions and garlic – although they are not meat I still avoid these. This is because the food we eat has a direct subtle effect on our mind and consciousness. Garlic and onions are very pungent and passionate flavors, which in turn will agitate the mind.
Q6) We will serve meat and alcohol at the venue, will you still be our priest?
Yes. However, I cannot eat there unless there is a pure vegetarian menu.
Q7) Will you perform other ceremonies and havans?
Eventually yes. However for the time being, I am only offering the wedding ceremony service because of my other commitments and schedule.
Q8) How quickly do you respond to calls, emails and messages?
Immediately or the same day at the latest.
Q9) How much in advance do we need to book you?
As long as possible so we have sufficient time to prepare and gather items for the ceremony. I am happy to do short notice weddings providing we can meet in person to discuss the logistics.
Q10) Is there anything we need to learn?
No. You may familiarise yourself with the vows but everything you need to say or do will be instructed to you by the priest during the ceremony. In essence, the bride and groom simply sit within the mandap and allow the ceremony to happen around them.