With all the hustle and bustle of returning to work/school, I somehow found time to attend a friend's wedding. I've known Kavita since college, as we were both in the same sorority. I had no idea how fun this whole process would be!
It all started with the mendhi or henna party. A lovely woman finished the design on my hand with what appeared to be mud. It was actually a paste made with henna leaves that when dried 12 hours later, would leave a red shade. Afterwards, we all participated in dancing, which of course involved Indian music! (I needed to dance off the ridiculous amount of Indian food I had just eaten!) Perhaps the best part was the fact that their families were so welcoming-we felt as if we were part of them!
The mendhi party was just the start for me, though both families had already been celebrating for at least a few days. The next day my group of friends and I decided to rent a hotel room at the wedding, so that we could stay later to dance. I'm glad we did-the dancing would go late into the night! Let me add that I wore an actual sari for the event (sadly not a homemade one). 5 yards of fabric wrapped and tucked around certainly make for interesting restroom trips, and I should thank my CW dresses for teaching me how to do it!
I felt very "authentic" indeed, even if it wasn't on perfectly! The ceremony started early, so we headed out to the parking lot to witness the baraat, or the handsome groom riding in a horse. Yes. A horse.
The ceremony itself was 2 hours long, and was done mostly in Sanskrit. The Hindu priest tried to explain each step, though perhaps the best descriptions were in their schedule. The back even had a sudoku! I loved everything from the golden Ganesh to the bright citrus flavored bridesmaid dresses.
It took awhile for Kavita to make it down the aisle, but when she did...wow! She looked amazing! Note that her eyes were down; she was not supposed to see him before they married. They even put up a cloth so they could not see each other! It was the happiest moment when they could actually look into the other's eyes.
While everything was completely gorgeous, by this time I was ravenous. Dinner was every wonderful Indian dish I've ever tried, and I ate more naan than I ever have before. Dancing was mandatory, with her entire family somehow knowing a plethora of bollywood moves. By the time I went to sleep, I was exhausted, sweaty, and smelled like curry. Awesome curry!
Sadly the weekend ended, though I doubt I'll ever forget it! Just a bit of advice dear readers; if you ever have the chance to experience a different culture, do it. Dive headfirst. Wear the clothing, learn new words, try different foods. Talk with people, appreciate their experiences, and find ways to adapt the positive to your own life. Thank you to Kavita and Roneil for giving me this amazing gift, and enjoy the married life!
***Most pictures were taken by the talented Nicole Sands.