There are infinite reasons to love an Oriya Wedding, but here are my Top 9 Reasons Why I Love Oriya Weddings:

1. There is AMAZING food

Oriyas take their food super seriously. While north indian wedding planning begins with the hunt for the perfect lehenga, and south indians first make sure they’ve got their jewellery in place, Oriyas first ring up all the top contenders in their list of caterers (every Oriya mother of an “eligible candidate” has a running list of this, trust me) for booking them off. When Oriyas talk about the wedding post-facto, they first talk about the FOOD. If the food is good, excellent. If the food was just okay, be prepared for some flak from your mausis, khudis, Mrs. Patnaik, Mrs. Das, Mrs. Samantray….

2. Somewhere between North Indian & South Indian Weddings

Oriya weddings have all the celebratory vibe of north indian weddings (without the rental BMWs & Audis), and some level of panache of south indian weddings. Traditional folk music is a part of most Oriya weddings but you will ALSO get ample opportunity to jig to Kar Gayi Chull & Gandi Baat.

3. Chungudi / PRAWNS

Yes this deserves a special heading by itself, because PRAWNS, you know? No Oriya wedding is complete without prawns (vegetarian Oriyas are VERY rare “bhoji re maansa nahi?!”),  or mansa tarkari for that matter. Those are absolute musts and Oriyas will go far and wide to make sure they have the best mansa and the best seafood there is to offer.

4. Rangabati inevitably makes an appearance

Self explanatory to every Oriya (expat or otherwise) on this planet and my personal favourite (guilty pleasures!!) (side note & confession: many a photo shoot have been edited while jigging to the utterly addictive tunes of “sopono ho rojo sopono“). Even in Expat Oriya Weddings, there will be those cousin requests for Rangabati to be played – the DJ gives looks of utter confusion – when one of said cousins whips out phone, figures out the connection to the DJ’s system (remarkably high number of oriya kids are engineering aspirants/ engineering students/ engineering graduates) and there you have Rangabati blasting from the speakers. This one manages to get all the uncles, all the mothers, all the cousins, all the friends, everyone to the dance floor at least for those 3-4 minutes.

5. Always end up meeting someone who knows someone you know (or are related to)

Hello, Oriya world, otherwise known as, One Giant Family. Everyone knows everyone. I inevitably end up meeting someone who knows my mom/dad/ both or someone who is a cousin of a cousin (!!). Oriyas are not only related/ connected to every other Oriya out there, but they also make sure they TALK about it. In fact I’m even related to Aishwarya Rai through a cousin’s cousin’s cousin’s cousin (true story) (said cousin, if you’re reading this, you know who you are). The thing is, even if you aren’t DIRECTLY (blood/adoptive) related to someone, Oriyas love making Mausis and Mousas out of every desirable connection. So, how can we not be one giant family?

6. Unmistakeable khatti happening between sets of cousins

Oriya weddings are where Cousins Unite across generations & family branches & families. Oriya cousins are incredibly connected to each other and are more like siblings than cousins. Countless summers spent eating mangoes, chungudi jholo, mansa kassa, demanding to be taken to samudra kula (if you have Puri/ coastal roots like I do), demanding to be fed double egg double chicken rolls (charta bele), celebrating raja with lots of mitha pana consumption, alita application and those white-dot-make-up-thing-you-put-your-forehead-which-I-can’t-remember-the-Oriya-word-for tie you together quite a bit. All those memories & desire for full on khatti is unleashed during the wedding.

7. The Bhaina cracks jokes

I don’t know if this is a limited phenomenon or what, but the bhaina at my wedding couldn’t stop cracking jokes (they were funny) and was generally very entertaining and chilled out. Oriya bhainas tend to be far more relaxed and up with the times than their rest-of-the-country-counterparts.

8. Excellent place for saree-watching

Oriyas wear SAREES, hello. Beautiful, exquisite silks at that. Very little of the georgette, crepe, net stuff happening there. Not much of that trendy zardosi, pitta etc. You’ll find the latest & the most traditional exhibition of banarasis, bomkais, uppadas, kantha, chanderi, pochampally, kanjeevaram, exhibiting the finest handloom works of our country, in a wide array of vibrant, beautiful colours. Again, I personally love this because I’m a handloom  silk saree lover (and hoarder). If you want to see a wide collection of Indian handlooms in silk, please visit an Oriya wedding – they’ll give any of those silk exhibitions a run for their money.


I end on this sweet note, much how most Oriya meals end, with a fine sweet meat like Rosogola (which, thank you very much, is of Oriya origin, I repeat) (and ro-so-go-laa is the correct pronunciation too). Oriya Rosogolas are this dreamy creamy colour and are melt in the mouth, tones of caramelisation very clear, flavours of warmth and filled with textures which melt in your mouth. Being a Rosogola Purist, the best of rosogola are those which don’t last beyond a couple of days since production (because of said creamy texture and pure ingredients) and MELT in your mouth. If you’re not an Oriya who has lived in Odisha for some time (or has been exposed to Rosogola Purists, chances are you haven’t yet eaten what I’m talking about). Pahala Rosogola is the most famous of this Rosogola but there are others too who make a good Rosogola (in Odisha). Complete diversion to Rosogolo Dissertation aside, EVERY oriya wedding has Rosogola, Rasa Malai, Rabiri, Golap Jamun, Chenna Jhili, CHENNA PODO, and a wide variety of amazing AMAZING sweets. Oriyas have a massive sweet tooth so this is as important as the rest of the meal (sufficient to be a meal by itself really). Expat Oriyas have their mithas flown in through the mausis and khudis who fly in for said weddings (and even otherwise) (an Oriya who doesn’t carry a box of customary mitha to another Oriya’s house, is no Oriya at all) (though I need to point out here that due to the wave of diabetes & heart problems that has taken over many Oriya households of late (total mystery why, by the way),  a couple of kilos of fruits seems to be the respectable & standard alternative these days). Ahem, second diversion aside, ROSOGOLA is a must at all Oriya weddings and I love them. Let’s end with that.

P.S.: The cover image is from Shouryendu & Neelu’s nirbandha which, till date, has been my most FAVOURITE weddingy event that I’ve documented. Blog post on that coming soon (albeit extremely delayed (read: close to a year late)).