I don't normally write about such personal experiences, but our trip to India to attend the wedding of the son of a good friend of ours was so special that I feel I must record the details of the event ...........
So the wedding extravaganza is over, Wow! It began with an hour of dancing to welcome the groom as his car drove him into the hotel guest arrival area (incidentally, the hotel is next door to a very elaborate shopping mall, so you don’t get wet going from one to the other in this, the monsoon season)
Many of the men were dressed in turbans and even I was drawn away to ensure I got fitted with a turban.
As we generated to the hall where the wedding ceremony was to be held, we were greeted on the stage with the most elaborate “canopy”on a stage decorated with the most beautiful flower arrangements and seating for, we estimate, over 500 people. The “priest” spent the next 30 mins with the bride’s parents on the stage in intense conversation, about what, who knows? Then the groom joined them where more intense conversation took place. All this was accompanied by music of a decibel level that makes Israeli weddings seem like nothing. Most of the guests at this stage were outside the hall in the entrance area eating.
Finally, some 1.1/2 to 2 hours after the start of the welcome dances for the groom, the bride made her entrance into the hall under her own mobile intricate flower bedecked canopy held by 4 people holding it over the head of the bride as she moved to the stage and this canopy was then removed. At this point it is important to comment on the exotic saris and gowns that so many of the women were wearing, absolutely beautiful.
With the bride and groom now on stage, the exchange of vows started over flaming coals and although we could see some of what was happening, the number of official photographers hid much from the view of the guests. It is important to point out that only the bride’s parents were on stage during this ceremony, the groom’s parents were not involved at all, as the principle is that the bride is being taken from her parents to live with her husband at the home of the grooms parents, where they have their apartment within the apartment of the parents. Whatever the ceremony was that was going on on-stage, no-one could hear anything. The “priest” was not using a microphone, the background music was deafening and most guests were milling around talking.
The whole ceremony was concluded after approx. 3 .1/2 hours after which we returned to our room (the wedding was in the same hotel where we were staying) to “recover” and prepare for the reception. The reception consisted of every guest , approx 700, queuing in a very orderly manner to go up on the stage, in the same wedding hall, to congratulate the bride, groom and their respective families before going up one level to the dinner which was spread over three halls in order to accommodate approx. 700 guests. At this point I was feeling a little of the Indian belly syndrome, so we made our greetings to some of the family and guests and retired to our room at approx. 11:00 pm. (This also gave us the opportunity to watch some of the tennis from Wimbledon!!)