After surviving a nasty bout with Delhi Belly, aka traveler’s diarrhea, followed by New Year’s Eve lets-pack-the-kids roadshow, and my current cold, I’m finally able to sit in my chair long enough to write this post. But, let’s focus on the bling and the Bollywood bonanza that was the four-day, wedding extravaganza in Delhi, India.
My husband’s colleague and his new bride treated us non-Indians to a wedding unlike any other. It overflowed with colorful fabrics, floral garlands, invigorating music, golden jewelry, flavorful food and warm hearts. It’s the latter that will remain the biggest part of my moveable feast.
The groom’s parents treated us like family. Their words of admiration for my husband, planned excursions, personal drivers and overall desire to constantly accommodate, were lovingly, overwhelming. And, let’s not even get into the pashmina scarf his mom gifted me, on top of the other scarves and beaded handbags she’s already sent to New York.
The rest of the family, both the groom’s and the bride’s were equally as welcoming. On the first night, we went to the bride’s parent’s home for the mehndi (henna party). The home was lit up with club lighting; there was a beautiful tent erected in the backyard where a band played Indian songs that we all enjoyed way too much. I got hennaed out and then picked up extra sparkle to wear for the following night, thanks to the Bangle Bar. My outfit that night: a hand-embroidered, silk tunic purchased that afternoon in Delhi.
Night two was the ceremony, aka wedding. Arranged by the groom’s mom, a lovely girl came to my room at The Imperial New Delhi Hotel, to help me put on my sari. We then headed to the groom’s parent’s house, where my husband and all the other men, were wrapped in turbans. And then there was the twenty-person band that escorted us several blocks, while the groom rode a decorated horse. After dancing back to the house, we got into our cars and went to the venue. (In olden times, we would dance all the way to the venue). Upon arrival, we were dropped off several blocks away from the venue, where we once again were accompanied by a band, this time with chandeliers on people’s heads! The groom was now in a chariot. At some point, my husband was asked to join him. I think that means he’s important or really loved?!? I wore a purple and fuchsia pink sari from Exclusively.in.
Thanks to my preparations – Hindu Wedding Rituals Symbolism and Significance – I understood some of the rituals taking place in the mantapa, aka wedding canopy. Like most wedding ceremonies, first the kids go through the traditional part, and then we party. The music was mostly ethnic, with a few modern beats. The food was mostly ethnic, with a few Asian and Italian dishes. On both fronts, I preferred the ethnic option.
Enjoy the images and check out Pam’s Postcards from Delhi, India – Part 2 for a recap of the last two nights of the wedding and our adventures in Old Delhi.