Like in all cultures, the start of the wedding preparation is with the official engagement of the future groom and the future bride. According to Hindu traditions, the initial match-making was primarily done by the parents or the elders in the immediate family, taking into considerations compatibility and practical aspects for a successful married life. These would include family backgrounds, financial, educational, and physical compatibility, and yes, horoscope matching too! It is important to understand that the Hindu marriage is not just between a bride and the groom but the two respective families as well. As such, the parents tend to drive the engagement ceremony, a few months before the marriage. This ceremony is a formal announcement of the impending marriage to all friends and relatives and the start of the planning for the big event. This should be a fun-filled event at either bride’s or groom’s place. In India, this is the formal verification of all the background work that the parents did before this formal announcement. According to Indian customs, the father of the groom requests the father of the bride for the bride’s hand in marriage with his son. The bride’s father wants to make sure that the groom has no skeletons in his closet! Having confirmed that, the bride’s father also tells the groom’s father to make sure that his daughter is also as good, if not better than the groom! Thus after mutual satisfaction and “Wagdaan”, and a promise for the marriage, the bride’s father tells all that he will plan the ceremony at an appropriate date in the future. The couple exchanges the engagement rings and the ceremony ends with best wishes and blessings from all the attendees. In some customs, they prepare a “Lagna Patrika”, a written promise to each other to perform the ceremony at a future date. The engaged couple will be referred to here as bride and groom, although they do not become so until the pre-wedding rituals a day or two before the actual ceremony.