Happy New Year!! And welcome 2013! I celebrated with my family on Sunday night by throwing a huuuuuuge party, one we’ve been planning for almost a year now. Oh, and my sister happened to get married too.
See how excited she is? She’s supposed to be meditating and praying for her husband’s long life in private ritual called “gauri haar” while the groom and his procession dances in.
Some people say it takes a village to raise a child. But what no one tells you is that it takes an army to throw a wedding once that child grows up! I cannot stress enough how many people it took to pull this wedding off — friends, family, community members, etc. We tried to do as much as we could ourselves (through delegation) but wisely choose a day-of coordinator to help us with our sanity. As with every wedding, there are always a ton of last minute details – hospitality boxes needed stuffing and extra boxes were put together, the garlands that the bride and groom exchange were strung together by some aunts and the Canadian delegation, we hastily scheduled a trial run for her hair shortly before the “Oti Bharne” ceremony, and at the last minute, we squeezed a haldi puja the morning of the wedding.
As my aunt said, this was a wedding with a lot of moving parts. Since my family and the groom’s family are from different parts of India, the wedding was a hodge-podge of Kutchi Bhatia, Gujarati, and Maharashtrian rituals. But each moving part was much more meaningful that way. One Aunty broke out into Gujarati wedding folk songs halfway through the ceremony (there’s a video of Aunty teaching the songs here, please disregard the eating and side conversations.) My Aji (maternal grandmother) wrote the Mangalashtak, a prayer/blessing sung during the wedding ceremony, and a friend composed the tune. My beautiful sister wore traditional Kutchi clothes with Maharashtrian jewelry. The groom wore a matching kurta, embroidered by an aunt.
A thorough explanation of all of our rituals and traditions would take forever to explain, but the end result was an intimate, if not somewhat chaotic wedding ceremony that induced fits of giggles and beaming smiles to hold back the tears.
Of course, no wedding is complete without its mishaps. My uncle dropped his end of the Antarpat early (it’s a cloth used to separate the bride and groom, hiding them from each other’s view until they are ready to exchange garlands). This was exceptionally hilarious because my uncle and the groom’s uncle had meticulously coordinated their cloth-holding strategies ahead of time. But alas, after all that, we dropped the ball. Or the cloth, as it were. I myself was responsible for one of the more obvious faux pas of the evening: nervous about executing my unrehearsed emcee duties, I introduced the groom’s parents with the wrong names! I didn’t even realize it until the rest of the head table frantically grabbed my attention. I managed to recover but the rest of the evening somehow turned all my duties to a blur.
All in all, I had a marvelous time. My sister and brother-in-law were stunning, in all of their outfits, all of which were accompanied by bright, beaming grins. There was excellent food, Western Pennsylvania-style cookie table, and much, much dancing. I could not be happier for those two; this incredible cerebration was by far the best way to ring in 2013. A big thank you to my parents for pulling it off!