The Hindu Wedding Significance
The Hindu marriage symbolizes the physical and especially the spiritual union of man and woman. The rituals of the Hindu marriage ceremony, highlight the interdependence and the complementary nature of man and wife relationship. The maathorupahan or Arthanareeswarar, the half male half female representation of Shiva and Shakthi, in Hindu cosmogony emphasizes this ideal of man and wife relationship in such union.

Venerated even as Shiva and Shakthi, the bride and groom sit elevated in a space the priest sanctifies for divine intervention in the solemnization. The priest and guests traditionally sit on the floor as equals with the idols of divinity. As tradition would have it, all events related to the wedding are usually on a day and at a time rendered auspicious by planetary positions.

Nitchaya Thampoolam - Hindu Engagement
Though Hindu marriages are traditionally arranged, marriage by consent, the bride and groom choosing one another, is also a trend. Nitchaya thampoolam which follows the choice is the Hindu engagement. Thampoolam or Vetrilai (betel leaf) and its complement Paakku (betel nut) are ceremoniously exchanged with other gifts at the bride's residence announcing the betrothal.

Ponn Urukku - Gold Melting Ceremony
A significant occasion a few weeks beofre the wedding is the Ponn Urukku ceremony attended by parents and the elders at which the groom presents a gold coin to the family goldsmith for its ritual meltdown to fashion the Thaali - the bridal pendant.

Maapillai Alaippu- Conducting Groom to the Hall
At the appointed time on the wedding day, the Tholan the best man), the bride's brother, with a following of relatives made up of wedded pairs, sets off for the groom's house. There, he places the thalaipa (turban) on the groom's head and escorts him to the wedding hall accompanied by the groom's family, relatives and friends.

Maapillai Varavetpu - Welcoming the Groom
The wedding commences with the arrival of the groom and his retinue at the wedding hall. the Tholi (the bride's maid), the groom's married sister, bears the Koorai (the bridal saree) and the Thaali. at the entrance to the wedding hall, which represents the bride's residence, her parents welcome the groom with the flower garland.

The Tholan wets the groom's feet with the Chempu (a bronze vessel) of water, a gesture lavished on an honoured guest, and he in in return rewarded with a gold ring for his good grace. Two ladies representing the bide and the groom perform Aarathi to ward off the evil eye with banana-wick lamps on a tray. Thereafter, to the accompaniment of Nathswaram ( a wind instrument) and Thavil ( a percussion instrument) the Tholan and the bride's parents lead the groom to the Manavarai, the flower festooned nuptial seat, where the priest awaits to perform the ceremony.

source:http://www.manaali.com/index.php?p=hindu&id=2

The Hindu Wedding