On Sunday June 9, I attended the celebration of love between two people of Indian descent. I borrowed the groom’s sister’s sari, which was a stunning teal colour, and curled my hair using a curling wand. I was ready to experience an Indian celebration with good friends and, of course, good food.
Around 4:00pm, I went to pick up my two coworkers at the subway before heading over to get our saris tied. None of us know how to tie saris but witnessing how the women put our outfits together was something I had only ever heard of. A sari comes in three parts: A skirt, a top and of course the large amount of material that is wrapped around a person in a particular fashion. The skirt was tied around our waists so tight that when I get home after a night of eating, laughing, tearing up and dancing, I had a dent in my obliques that ached. I felt like Mulan getting ready at her matchmaker’s (I often make Disney references. I apologize in advance).
An Italian wedding reception normally begins with a line where all guests greet the bride, groom, their parents and the bridal party. Then, the guests enter the hall and enjoy an antipasto bar or other appetizers. Following this, once everyone has been seated in their assigned spots, the bridal party, then the parents of the bride and groom and finally the bride and groom enter in a royal fashion with music blasting, guests clapping and close friends and family laughing and crying all at the same time. In between the first dance, speeches and table games, dinner is served. After dessert, which seems to take forever to arrive in some cases, dancing begins and doesn’t end until the early hours of the morning. I’ve only ever been to Italian weddings so I was extremely excited to see how this Indian wedding would be different.
When we arrived, there was a photographer stationed in the lobby where guests were encouraged to take a photo with their dates, friends and/or family members. The photo would then be printed and given to the guests in a customized picture frame at the end of the evening as a takeaway (cute idea, for the record). When we entered the hall, there were no assigned seats but some sections were reserved for close friends, special invites and immediate family. Two buffet tables were set on either side of the room with appetizers. Then, a program began which included an intimate introduction of the closest people to the bride and groom–siblings and parents–who danced to traditional music, a beautiful introduction of the bride and groom, a home-made video by the grooms’ brother, a same-day edit capturing Saturday’s ceremony, a stunning first dance between the bride and groom–which also included a live violinist–and a thank you from the newlyweds. Then, professional dancers took the centre of the floor beside a drummer who played along to Indian and North American hits. Guests tossed five and $10 bills onto the dance floor, some sticking to the drum and to the bottoms of the dancers’ shoes. When the professionals left the reception, guests swarmed the dance floor. I learned a few moves myself, though I can’t say I was the best of the lot. I need a few more Indian weddings to go to so I’ll be able to practice before I can call myself a professional! Next came dinner: Steamed rice, butter chicken, spiced goat, nan bread and curried vegetables. After dinner came more dancing, and boy did it get hot under the sari I was wearing!
Check out photos from the wedding below: