South Asian Wedding Garlands & Their Significance

Jul 03, 2023

South Asian wedding garlands, also known as "varmala" or "Jaimala" hold deep cultural and symbolic significance in weddings across the region. These garlands play a central role in the ceremony, representing the union of two individuals and their families.

In South Asian weddings, the exchange of garlands is a traditional ritual that takes place during the wedding ceremony. The garlands are typically made of fresh flowers, carefully chosen for their vibrant colors and fragrances. They are intricately woven together to form a beautiful and elaborate necklace-like adornment.

The significance of garlands in South Asian weddings lies in their symbolic representation of acceptance, love, and respect. When the couple exchanges garlands, it signifies their acceptance of one another as life partners. The act of placing the garland around each other's necks is a public declaration of their commitment and willingness to embark on the journey of marriage together.

Source: Carly Romeo & Co

The exchange of garlands also represents the merging of two families. It symbolizes the coming together of not just the bride and groom, but also their families and communities. The garlands act as a visual representation of this union and serve as a way to honor and respect each other's families.

Furthermore, the fragrance of the flowers used in the garlands is believed to bring good luck and blessings to the couple. The scent of the flowers is said to create an aura of positivity and joy, infusing the wedding ceremony with a sense of celebration and happiness.

The significance of garlands goes beyond the wedding ceremony itself. Many couples choose to preserve their wedding garlands as cherished mementos of their special day. They are often carefully dried and framed or kept in a memory box as a symbol of their love and the beginning of their marital journey.

Traditional Garlands

South Asian weddings are known for their vibrant and diverse array of traditional garlands. Each type of garland holds cultural and symbolic significance, adding beauty and meaning to the wedding ceremony. Here are some examples of traditional South Asian wedding garlands and their significance:

1. Jasmine Garland

Jasmine garlands, commonly made of delicate white flowers, symbolize purity, simplicity, and grace. Jasmine is highly regarded for its sweet fragrance and is often associated with love and good luck. These garlands are a popular choice for South Asian brides and grooms, as they epitomize elegance and beauty.

2. Marigold Garland

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Marigold garlands, made from vibrant orange or yellow flowers, are widely used in South Asian weddings. Marigolds represent prosperity, auspiciousness, and joy. Their vibrant color is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring blessings to the couple. Marigold garlands add a festive and celebratory touch to the wedding ceremony.

3. Rose Garland

Soure: Rolling Canvas 

Rose garlands, crafted from various colored roses, are a timeless choice for South Asian weddings. Different colors of roses hold different meanings. Red roses symbolize love and passion, while white roses represent purity and innocence. Rose garlands showcase the beauty and romance of the occasion, evoking a sense of love and enchantment.

4. Orchid Garland

Source: Sahni Studio

Orchid garlands, made from exotic and graceful orchid flowers, are admired for their elegance and charm. Orchids are associated with luxury, beauty, and fertility. These garlands exude sophistication and add a touch of refinement to the wedding ceremony.

5. Tuberoses (Rajnigandha) Garland

Source: Laam Loves

Tuberoses, also known as Rajnigandha in South Asia, are highly fragrant flowers used in garlands. Their captivating aroma is believed to enhance the romantic ambiance of the wedding ceremony. Tuberoses symbolize sensuality, purity, and deep emotional connections.

6. Lotus Garland

Source: The Royal Knot

Lotus garlands, made from the revered lotus flower, hold great spiritual significance in South Asian cultures. The lotus represents purity, enlightenment, and divine beauty. Lotus garlands are associated with spiritual awakening and symbolize the couple's journey toward spiritual unity and growth.

Modern Garlands

Modern South Asian weddings have witnessed a surge in creativity and innovation, leading to the emergence of unique and contemporary garland options. Couples are exploring non-traditional materials and designs to infuse their weddings with a personalized touch. Here are some examples of modern garlands used in South Asian weddings:

1. Fabric Garlands

Source: Zohaib Ali Photography

Fabric garlands are created using various types of textiles such as silk, organza, or satin. They offer a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing couples to match them with their wedding theme or outfits. Fabric garlands can be adorned with decorative elements like beads, sequins, or embroidery, adding a touch of glamour and individuality.

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2. Paper Garlands

Paper garlands have gained popularity for their versatility and unique designs. They can be made from colorful origami paper, cardstock, or even recycled materials. Paper garlands offer endless possibilities, with shapes like flowers, hearts, or geometric patterns. They provide a modern and eco-friendly alternative while allowing couples to showcase their creativity.

3. Crystal Garlands

Crystal garlands are designed using sparkling crystals, beads, or faux gemstones. They create a glamorous and luxurious look, adding a touch of opulence to the wedding decor. Crystal garlands can be combined with flowers or fabric to create a stunning combination of textures, elevating the overall aesthetic of the ceremony.

4. Feather Garlands

Feather garlands offer a whimsical and bohemian vibe to South Asian weddings. They are created using various types of feathers, such as peacock feathers or ostrich plumes. Feather garlands bring a sense of softness and movement to the decorations, creating an ethereal and romantic atmosphere.

5. Dried Flower Garlands

Source: Corbin Gurkin

Dried flower garlands have gained popularity for their rustic and natural appeal. They are crafted using dried flowers, foliage, and herbs, offering a unique and earthy aesthetic. Dried flower garlands are not only visually appealing but also provide a longer-lasting keepsake for the couple to cherish.

Learn More: 100+ Fresh Jaimala Designs That Are Way Too Pretty!

The trend towards modern and unique garlands in South Asian weddings reflects a desire to break away from traditional norms and explore personal style. These garlands allow couples to infuse their weddings with individuality and showcase their creativity. By incorporating modern garlands, couples can create a visually captivating ambiance that reflects their personalities and celebrates their love in a contemporary way. Whether it's through innovative materials, unconventional designs, or a fusion of traditional and modern elements, these garlands add a touch of freshness and uniqueness to South Asian wedding celebrations.

DIY Garlands

Creating DIY garlands for South Asian weddings allows couples to infuse their personal touch into the wedding decorations while adding a sense of creativity and uniqueness. Here are some tips and tutorials for making DIY garlands:

1. Choose Fresh or Artificial Flowers

Source: Lin & Jirsa Photography

Decide whether you want to work with fresh flowers or artificial ones. Fresh flowers provide a natural and fragrant appeal, while artificial flowers offer longevity and the ability to create garlands in advance. Both options have their own charm, so select the one that suits your preferences and requirements.

2. Select the Right Flowers

Source: EM Photography

Choose flowers that hold significance or convey the desired meaning. For example, roses symbolize love, while marigolds represent prosperity. Consider the color scheme of your wedding and opt for flowers that complement it.

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3. Prepare the Flowers

Source: Floral Art by Srishti

If using fresh flowers, trim the stems and remove any excess leaves. Keep them hydrated by placing them in water or using floral foam. For artificial flowers, make sure they are clean and free from dust or debris.

4. Determine the Garland Style

Source: Priya's Flower Garlands

Decide on the style of the garland, whether it's a single-strand garland or a multi-layered one. Single-strand garlands are simpler and can be draped around the neck, while multi-layered garlands offer a more elaborate and voluminous look.

5. Incorporate Personal Touches

Add personal elements to the garlands to make them unique. You can incorporate elements like charms, ribbons, beads, or even small photographs. These personal touches can reflect your cultural heritage, shared memories, or individual interests.

6. Secure the Garland

Use floral wire or thread to secure the flowers and create a sturdy garland. Ensure that the garland is strong enough to withstand handling during the wedding ceremony.

7. Practice and Seek Guidance

If you're new to garland-making, practice before the wedding day. Watch online tutorials or seek guidance from a professional florist to learn the techniques and achieve the desired results.

The benefits of creating DIY garlands for a South Asian wedding are numerous. Firstly, it allows you to have complete control over the design and aesthetics, ensuring that the garlands align with your vision. DIY garlands also provide an opportunity to save costs, as professionally made garlands can be expensive. Additionally, crafting your garlands adds a personal and sentimental touch to the wedding decorations, making them even more meaningful. It can be a fun and engaging activity for the couple and their loved ones, fostering a sense of togetherness and shared creativity. Lastly, DIY garlands can be made well in advance, reducing the stress and time constraints leading up to the wedding day.

Garlands for Different Wedding Events

When it comes to different events in a South Asian wedding, selecting garlands that complement the theme and style of each occasion adds to the overall aesthetic and enhances the festive atmosphere. Here are some suggestions for garlands to use in different events:

1. Mehndi Ceremony

The Mehndi ceremony is characterized by vibrant colors and a lively ambiance. Opt for garlands that reflect the festive spirit, such as marigold garlands in bold hues of orange and yellow. You can also consider using multicolored fabric garlands or paper garlands with bright and playful patterns to add a touch of whimsy to the event.

2. Sangeet Night

Sangeet night is all about music, dance, and celebration. Garlands that exude elegance and glamour are ideal for this event. Consider using crystal garlands or garlands adorned with shimmering beads and sequins to create a dazzling effect. You can also incorporate LED lights into the garlands to add a touch of enchantment to the dance floor.

3. Wedding Ceremony

Spurce: Vinuthna Garidipuri

The wedding ceremony is the pinnacle of the celebrations and calls for garlands that evoke a sense of tradition and romance. Classic garlands made of fresh jasmine or rose flowers are timeless choices that symbolize purity and love. For a regal touch, consider incorporating orchids or lotus flowers, which represent beauty and spirituality.

4. Reception

The reception is often a grand affair, with a focus on elegance and sophistication. Opt for garlands that match the overall theme and decor of the reception venue. Fabric garlands in luxurious materials like silk or satin can be draped gracefully across the reception area. Crystal garlands or garlands with crystal accents can add a touch of glamour to the event.

5. Post-Wedding Events

Source: Priya's Flower Garlands

For post-wedding events like the farewell or reception after-party, you can experiment with unconventional garlands that reflect the couple's personalities or interests. Consider using themed garlands like movie-inspired garlands, garlands featuring the couple's favorite hobbies or symbols, or garlands made from unique materials like feathers or metallic accents.

Choosing garlands that fit the theme and style of each event is important as it creates a cohesive and visually appealing atmosphere. Garlands that harmonize with the decor and ambiance of the event venue enhance the overall aesthetic and leave a lasting impression on guests. They contribute to the immersive experience of each event, making it memorable and reflective of the couple's vision. By carefully selecting garlands for each occasion, you can infuse the celebrations with a sense of charm and beauty that truly captures the essence of a South Asian wedding.

Garlands for Different Wedding Roles

In a South Asian wedding, choosing garlands that are tailored to the roles of different individuals adds a personal touch and highlights their significance in the celebration. Here are some suggestions for garlands for various roles:

1. Bride

Source: Cassie Valente Photography

For the bride, garlands that are exquisite and symbolize her beauty and grace are ideal. Consider using traditional floral garlands made of fresh roses, jasmine, or orchids. You can also opt for customized garlands that incorporate her favorite flowers or colors. Add embellishments like pearls, crystals, or intricate embroidery to enhance the bridal garland's elegance.

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2. Groom

Source: Kristin Sweeting Photography

The groom's garland should complement his attire and personality. Classic garlands made of fresh flowers such as roses or marigolds in masculine colors like deep red or orange are suitable choices. Consider incorporating elements like ribbons or textured foliage to add a unique touch that reflects the groom's style and taste.

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3. Family Members

Source: Alfaaz Photography

Garlands for family members should honor their important roles and relationships. Choose garlands that match the color scheme or theme of the wedding while considering the preferences of each family member. For parents and elders, opt for elegant and traditional garlands that exude respect and gratitude. Siblings and close relatives can have garlands that are similar in style to the bride and groom's garlands, showcasing their connection to the couple.

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4. Bridal Party

The bridal party can have garlands that complement their attire and reflect the wedding theme. Consider garlands made from a mix of flowers and foliage in colors that coordinate with the wedding palette. You can also incorporate elements like ribbons or beads to add a playful or trendy touch, depending on the desired vibe of the wedding.

5. Younger Participant

For young participants like flower girls or ring bearers, garlands that are delicate and whimsical are fitting choices. Consider garlands made of smaller flowers like baby's breath or daisies or marigolds. You can also incorporate elements like ribbons, bows, or small decorative charms to add a touch of innocence and charm.

Choosing garlands that reflect the personality and style of each individual is important as it showcases their uniqueness and role in the wedding celebration. Garlands tailored to their preferences and tastes add a personal touch, making them feel special and valued. It allows individuals to express their own style while being an integral part of the overall aesthetic of the wedding. By selecting garlands that resonate with each person's personality, you create a cohesive and meaningful visual representation of the diverse roles and relationships present in a South Asian wedding.


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Get ready to spice up your South Asian wedding plans by embracing the awesomeness of unique and meaningful garlands! Let your style, cultural traditions, and the theme of each event be your guiding light as you choose the perfect garlands. These beauties will add that extra oomph and create an unforgettable vibe for your wedding celebrations. So, don't hold back! Go ahead and let your creativity run wild as you pick garlands that perfectly represent your love story and make your big day an absolute blast!

Remember that a wedding is not just about the decorations and aesthetics, but also about the love and connection shared between the couple and their families. By infusing meaningful garlands into the celebration, couples can create an atmosphere that is not only visually stunning but also deeply heartfelt and memorable for everyone involved.

Edited & Photo Sourced By: Neha Garg Ahuja

About Author


Sachi is a fashion enthusiast and a home decor hoarder. You will mostly find her cozied up on her couch hunting for new trends. When not on the couch, she spends her time baking cookies and cakes to satisfy her never-ending craving for sweets!

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