Malayalee / Kerala Wedding Ceremony – Rituals and Customs – South Indian Wedding Series


When I was talking to my Mother’s friend about Malayalee Weddings and customs, this is what she told me. Malayalee weddings are the simplest and most uncomplicated weddings ever. If you walk in five minutes late, you might miss the function for all you know.

Lets take a look at their customs and rituals.

Malayalee / Kerala Wedding Ceremony

  • Nishchyam – The engagement Ceremony: Different communities in Kerala depending on their place of origin have their own engagement ceremonies. Usually engagement happens in the girl’s house. Both families meet and an astrologer is called to choose auspicious dates from a Panchangam ( A book that contains auspicious times and dates, this is like the year book for most communities, including Tamil Brahmins). Also read Tamil Brahmin Wedding Customs Rituals
  • In a Malayalee engagement ceremony, the boy and the girl need not be present, but off late the customs are changing. An interesting point to be noted here is that, no Thambalam ( plates containing fruits and sweets) are exchanged.  After this, a grand Sadya (traditional Malayalee Meal served on a Banana leaf) is served.

Malayalee / Kerala Wedding Ceremony

Thaleluarieduva – Thala (head), Ari (rice) – eduva (receiving blessings): This is a custom, that happens separately in the girl and boy’s side. This happens either on the day of the wedding or a day before the wedding, depending on the time of Muhurtham (auspicious time). The girl/ boy receives blessings from everybody older than them in their families. They pour raw rice over their heads and the girl/boy in turn touch their feet to be blessed by time.  The best part being, even your older cousins are not exempted from this.

Malayalee / Kerala Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Ceremony: The girls wear a traditional Kasavu Saree (kerala saree) and the boy’s wear a Shirt and Mundu. The stage is decorated with lamps and flowers. There is no priest or fire or homam, unless the function happens in a temple. There is a para – a vessel made of brass and copper filled with nellu (rice grains with husks).

Malayalee / Kerala Wedding Ceremony

The girl is brought into the hall accompanied by her aunts and sisters, each of them carrying lit lamps in their hands. The boy arrives the same way.

Once they are seated, the boy’s parents will bring a thali (mangalsutra), which is simple gold chain with a leaf like pendant. The boy ties it around the girl’s neck and his sisters help in the process. Then, garlands are exchanged. At this point, the girl’s father holds her hand and gives it to the boy. This symbolises handing over the girl to the boy’s family.

Malayalee / Kerala Wedding Ceremony

The boy, then holds the girls hand, go around the stage three times, thus signalling the end of the wedding.

They then receive blessings from the oldest members of the family. A grand sadya is served.

Malayalee / Kerala Wedding Ceremony

PS: The most important feature of a Malayalee wedding is the tonneS of gold that they wear. I asked her why they offer so much gold and she has no clue either!

PS1: This is the simplest and no frills wedding ever. I’m considering swapping this for my 2 and 1/2 day Tam-Brahm wedding.

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  1. The gold s a form of dowry and a status symbol for the bride’s parents !! But unlike other cultures .. The gold remains with the bride only .. And usually those elaborate gold jewellery is remoulded to simpler designs by the bride if she wishes to do so after marriage !!!

    Their dresses are a speciality. Though they look so simple, the price for those sarees range from 1000 to Lakhs !! Depending on the amount of gold used in the border !!! They are silk and gold blended borders !!! :beauty: ..

    Sandy kalakkiteengae .. Vazhthukkal !!!!

    • oh ! these sari border is of gold..i can’t believe mom sari has silver work don all over and she said it must be of around a lakh now.

  2. Yes .. I have asked a frnd of mine to get me one of those Onam sarees .. I want to wear them !!

    And basically their saree is not a long single piece of garment like ours .. Theirs is a 3 piece saree .. Not many ppl know how to drape them cause these days they don’t wear them .. Only for marriages they drape that 3 piece saree !!!

  3. It’s like the blouse is considered a piece .. And they drape a normal silk cloth which is half the length of our sarees .. And the pleats – pallu piece is the third one .. This is the one with heavy work on it !!!

  4. Actually, the marriage rituals depends greatly on the hindu caste which you belong to too! .. The one mentioned in the article is the simplest and cutest one :-)) … They wear only the set saree or kerala saree .. others do wear the silk saree and some do have lengthy rituals. … ufff… the heavy saree+ all the gold! .. its suffocating!!!

    We get the kerala saree as a single piece and the set-mundu is of 2 or 3 piece .. if you know it, its really simple to wear πŸ˜‰

  5. All my colleagues wore that set mundu for their wedding. .. And the normal Kerala saree for Onam festival .. So yes .. Both exist !!

    Shikha they did not tell me about the caste stuff !! Well I don’t ask anybody about caste .. :shy:

  6. Gosh.. I should have born like a Keralite πŸ˜› atleast to wear such a pretty saree, and obviously th Gold 😎

    Awesome post :yes:

  7. only nairs wear kasavu sari for wedding. all the otheres wear silk sarees n later change to kasavu after the ceremony. thr is a dakshina ceremony n which bride has to give betel nuts n leaves to all elders n take blessngs.u have to bend n touch feet a million times wearing heavy gold n silk sarees. :P. there will be a priest for the ceremony. n of course muslim and christian weddings totally dfferent n unique too. πŸ™‚

  8. oh there is also a pudavakoda ceremony in which the groom will give a saree to the bride on a tray after the thaalikettu n the bride has to change into this. although i said nairs wear kasavu sari anybody who wants to can wear it…. especially in temple weddings….

  9. @ Janani : yes, I was skeptic too in mentioning the caste thing, but yes they do exist!

    All here are obsessed with the gold in the saree πŸ˜€ .. once you visit a shop you’l sure get confused! COs this is the simplest design .. loads more like different colors alternate with gold or silver .. even in the pallu you have paintings of Krishna and so .. its beauuuutiful!!!!!!! …

  10. ife is right!

    also after the marriage, if someone have missed recieving betel blessing at home they come to the mandapam and get it. It doesnt stop there, inturn they also give a tikka or sindoor or what do you call it!? .. one or two is fine, but after the long line of elders coming to put the tikka, your face looks horrible and all red on the forehead.. mostly a little sister is given the job of staying behing you to rub it off in between!

  11. I think of all weddings, this one is the most similar to our Konkani type of wedding…we do hav a few more poojas but actually it’s pretty much the same…

  12. Can you give me any tips before using a hair styler?

    Hi Anamika and all the users of wise she,
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    • if u are from India you can buy sunsilk keratinology heat protector spray… πŸ™‚
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  13. well… i too hv been to mallu weddings.. n we were just chatting casually with people & came to know that the wedding is over! πŸ™ surprise..surprise it was..

    well.. i escaped my 2.5 day tam-brahm wedding in exchange of an all-night baraat.. πŸ˜€

  14. actually girls…let me tell you,what the bride weariing in the pic is too less according to malayalee standards…The gold varies according to financial well being and district of kerala from where the bride hails.In my area(palakkad),for an upper middle class family 50pavan(roughly half kg) of gold is the standard..Toward far south of kerala this become 100 t0 200 pavans ie 1to 2kg of gold.We get everything made of gold for wedding including anklets and whatnots….but the sad part is the marriage ceremony gets over so quickly.I badly wanted to get married to a northie gor the sake of having shaadi like they show in bollywood movies!!!Its not that I am already married,but the guy I have chosen is also a malayalee … typical malayalee wedding for me too in future

  15. Hi,

    Hope someone will be able to help me out. I’m a bong and my Bro in law is getting married to a girl from Kerela this year end , the venue being Kerela. I guess the wedding would be in the morning hours. Could anyone suggest what kind of saree/ colour women from the Groom;s side should ideally wear. I would have ideally loved to wear a red benarasi but think it would look too out of place for morning hours.
    Would need suggestions for women above 50’s also (my mom in law)


  16. Hello everyone,

    I found everything in the post very informative. I am bengali and I will soon be marrying a Malayalee. I am not aware of the customs and traditions. Of course i could ask my in laws but I want to surprise them and also keep my family prepared on what to expect. Please please please give me some pointers on what to do. And also, if anyone could suggest any websites or books to learn to Malayalee it would be great!

    Thanks in Advance,

  17. Hi everyone! I’m from the Phils. have an Indian boyfriend and he’s from Kerala. He said that we can’t marry because of their culture, that once he marry an outside girl from their place, he will be kick out. Is that true? Please if anyone knows u can reply or just email me here [email protected]

  18. while reading this post was feeling like i m attending any kerala wedding function , so nicely written .
    and i read all the comments also its so funny πŸ™‚


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