Wedding Dairy #3: The Rituals

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We are out for a family dinner, probably the last few dinners that I will have with my family being just their daughter. My mom reminisces on her own wedding, shedding a few tears in denial that I am no longer her little girl anymore. She goes on to explaining the rituals and traditions; how they are done, what do they each mean and more of preparing me for the years old tradition that I will partake in. From the 3 hour-long ceremony to the things I wear that day, each holds a valuable and cultural meaning behind it all.

It starts with mandap mahurat, where you do the inauguration of the wedding; then comes putting pithi on the bride and groom followed by henna on hands and feet…all this is done to beautify the couple; then comes a prayer ceremony to get the blessings of gods so the wedding is a smooth sail. Finally, comes the actual wedding ceremony, while the ceremony continues there is a group of singers who narrate the entire wedding and each ritual as it unfolds in form of songs. These are cultural and traditional wedding songs. The wedding as per the traditions is done in the witness of a fire; mainly four people take part in the ceremony: bride, groom and the bride’s parents. About an hours ceremony is just done between the bride’s parents and the groom, then comes the bride and joins them in. All this then leads to the very famous Indian 7 pheras (circles) around the fire. Where the guest showers the couple with flowers. About an hour more of a few more rituals and then finally its all done. Wait….still one more thing left… after dinner comes vidai, when the bride says goodbye to her family and goes on to her new home. This is always the highly emotional part of the wedding. This may come as a surprise to most, but Indian weddings are a complete emotional ride; there are happy tears, sad tears, laughter, and many amusing and fun ceremonies, which are somewhat like a competition between the bride and groom side guests; it keeps everyone entertained.

Once the newly married couple reaches their home, there are still a few more ceremonies to finish all pertaining to the welcoming of the new bride in the groom’s home. In the end, it’s a long and emotional day. But certainly, a kind of marriage to treasure and remember a lifetime. In less than 10 days this is about to become my reality and I cannot be more excited to experience it all.

Photo Courtesy: Google Images

Wedding Dairy #2: The Grind

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Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara

Indian’s are very superstitious people, we believe in destiny and karma and in the perfect alignment of the stars and the moon for doing auspicious things. First step is to come up with a wedding date; as you can already guess for an Indian couple, the date is not something we decide upon ourselves; it is based on our horoscopes and a priest, who puts out a few options to choose from that we as a family like the best among the list. Among the list, March 3rd was the winner for us. There is a total of 4 major functions surrounding the wedding in a spread of 4 days: Grah Shanti (auspicious puja ceremony), Mehndhi and Sangeet (henna and musical party), Wedding, and a Reception after party.

Next up was to decide on a destination. After bouncing back and forth between the States and India we finally decided upon having the wedding in India to get a more traditional and authentic feel. Now that we know where then came the task of finding that picture perfect venue in Gujarat. After sourcing all possible venues my heart was settled on the Laxmi Vilas Palace. It is a heritage property and an actual palace where the king and queen of Vadodara reside. They have banquet halls and lawns that they rent out for weddings and special occasions. For me, this palace was the perfect pick, it gave a royal touch and it couldn’t get more authentically Indian than this for me.

All along, save the date cards are being sent, since the wedding is set in India we have to give everyone ample time to plan their trip. Congratulations calls and messages are down pouring, Facebook profile picture is changing with the two of us in it and comments are flooding lol…wedding photo shoot is being arranged, hair and makeup appointments for all the events are being booked, among various other things happening, making this a sublime reality. Hard to believe that at the end of all this I get married and start a new chapter in my life.

Everything and every part of an Indian wedding is a “we”- we as in my family, his family, our cousins, the kids, the aunts and the uncles, our extended families and so on. This “we” is what makes this an enormous celebration because every person plays a huge part and is included in all of the plannings. This is fun and exhausting at the same time because everyone has an idea of their own so you can just imagine the madness…but this exact chaos is what makes the days leading up to the wedding the most memorable and fun. For me this very time is the one to cherish the most, everyone is beyond happy, excited, and high on endorphin, there is certainly an atmosphere of celebration in the air.

Wedding shopping, decor, catering, and so much more stuff is still in process to achieve as the days corner up rather rapidly to March.

Photo Courtesy: Google Images