For those who know anything about Indian weddings, they will know it is no easy feat. It is full of beautiful rituals and wonderful traditions, all designed to prepare the bride for her journey in this lifetime as a wife. I enjoyed every single moment of this experience. And look back at this dreamy celebration with so much gratitude and joy.
The first wedding event was the Sangeet and Haldi.
The Sangeet function is a music and dance event. A bright, vibrant celebration of preparing for all the magic of a wedding . Songs that are about weddings are played, women dance together and laugh together. They rejoice in all that love and marriage is!
The Haldi is the ritual applying of Haldi (turmeric- for her spiritual purification) all over my body, along with honey (for her sweetness of character) and milk (for innocence of her heart) all over the bride, preparing her on the heart and soul level for becoming a wife.
My best friends from around the world had been touring through south India, making their way to my home town. This would be the first time that I would see them. It still blows my mind to think that 17 of my friends made their way from all around the world (Ireland, England, Canada) to celebrate the wedding.
I was upstairs getting ready when they arrived at my grandparent’s home. I was sooooo indescribably nervous. Some of them I have not seen in almost a year! My legs were like jelly and I felt like I somehow floated down the stairs to them.
It was a beautiful reunion. All my best friends from all different parts of the world all in the same place. It was surreal. And on top of that, they were in my home in India. A place from my childhood memories that never really mixed with my life outside of India. But here they were, bringing my two worlds together.
This time in India I decided that an old-school big black bindi will now be my “signature look”. It is just so classic.
(I was bursting with so much happiness, and yet still managed to look quite sombre for a photo. There’s always one.)
Each one of these women play such a significant role in my life.
After a few minutes of hugs and kisses, photos, and stroking of each others hair (is this just a “girl thing?”), we made our way outside to begin the ceremony.
My grandmother and I.
Here we go! Each girl with a small plate with a small candle and flower petals, lead me into the house.
Now we begin the Haldi ritual. It begins with 7 married women blessing me into married life. First they throw rice and flower petals over me.
Then they apply a paste of sandalwood on my forehead, which signifies protection and devotion.
Sprinkling of holy water.
This is followed by the smearing of turmeric all over my body. Turmeric is well known antiseptic and signifies spiritually purifying the bride for marriage.
Next is feeding me a sweet treat. I would also touch the feet of all elders, while they place their hand on my head, to receive their blessings.
Then, each person puts a bangle onto my hand – all part of adorning the bride in sweet things, holy things, and beautiful things.
I then get a kiss with each of my bridesmaids as I give them their saris to wear for the wedding.
Sipping on our tender coconuts, and ready for the dancing to begin!
My aunt, her daughter, and her friend put on such an amazing dance show for us, dancing to 3 wedding songs.
I had to share this photo because I cannot get over how adorable Becky (far left) looks!
Then up to the terrace for giggles and coconuts and photographs.
After all of that, I was such a mess. The dirty bride. It’s a good thing the next ritual involves taking a bath!
This is my sister in law applying honey on me. Honey is applied because honey signifies bringing “sweetness” to the bride’s heart.
All the women in my family started singing this beautiful marriage song: Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga.
I love this song so much. It truly is music for my heart. Hearing it takes me back to these days.
My adorable grandmother.
Bathed in milk. Milk signifies “innocence” and helps the bride to soften her heart.
The grandest bath I have ever had.
And then my brothers SURPRISED me by throwing a huge bucket of water all over me! What else are brothers for? I love a good prank. And I did NOT see that one coming!
I then had some time to spend with the girls while we waited to get our Henna done.
And that concluded one of the most joyful days of my life! This function truly changed me on a spiritual level. I felt completely cocooned by the love of the women in my life. And it allowed me to think about the kind of wife that I want to be for my husband.
A devoted wife. With sweetness of character, softness of heart, purity of mind and strength of soul.
More to come soon.
(Some of these photos are borrowed from my friends, thank you for letting me share them..)