I've never had as much fun at a wedding as I had on my own. It was by far the best wedding I've ever attended. Here is how it started:
On the day of our wedding I woke up at 4:45 am. I showered, put on a sari, and went to Chris Scott's studio to have my make up and hair done. Two hours later, at 8 am, Anil picked me up and together we drove to Livermore. As we were driving there it started raining cats and dogs and I was slightly worried that it would cause us to be late as traffic was moving slower than usual. Both Anil and I were also a bit disappointed that it was raining, but later I was told that rain on the wedding day is a good sign and it predicts long and happy lives together.
We got to the Temple on time and there Anil's uncle helped him to drape a dhoti. In meantime I went to "a bride's room", where soon my bridesmaids and my sister in law joined me. I asked them to help me put safety pins in my sari to ensure that it would not fall off in the middle of the ceremony, but somehow we manged to achieve the opposite effect and I ended up taking the sari off. My sister in law, Neeta, tried to help me drape it again but we had some problems with that (again, wedding saris are very heavy and difficult to handle!)
The wedding ceremony already started and Anil's uncle came asking for me several times before I was finally ready to enter... I am amazed that none of that stressed me a tiniest bit. I am a perfectionist and I hate being late, so you would think I would be freaking out about not being ready for my own wedding. But I wasn't. I felt peaceful. I had promised to myself that no matter what happens on our wedding day I would have a good time and it seems that I managed to keep that promise.
To be honest, I don't like weddings. But I loved ours! It was by far the best wedding I've ever been to and I had a blast from the very first minute to the very last. I couldn't stop smiling when I saw a mandap under which Anil was sitting and loving looks of my friends gathered in the wedding hall.
I think only then I understood why some people get married over and over again despite the unbelievable amount of time and effort it takes to prepare a wedding. What I felt on that day by far surpasses any other feeling I have ever had in my life. I felt love directed towards us by every single of our guests. The intensity of this feeling was just amazing. I will remember it for the rest of my life. Hereby I send my love back to all our friends and family who made our wedding day so special - Thank you so much!!! BTW, I'm thinking about organizing our 10th wedding anniversary in Poland, so please book 9th of May 2020 in your calendars :)
I'm also grateful that my husband wanted to have a Hindu wedding ceremony. Indian weddings are simply and plainly awesome. They are colorful, relaxed and "action"-filled. As you will see in the following posts, during the wedding ceremony we walked around the mandap, we added various items to fire, our clothes got tied together, sometimes we were under the mandap alone, and sometimes some of our friends/family members were joining us there. Our guests were also free to walk around, talk and eat during the ceremony! Oh, also traditional Indian music was played throughout the ceremony. Quite different then your typical Western wedding.
One other interesting thing about a Hindu wedding ceremony is that it is performed in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language that not many Indians speak and/or understand today. That means that Anil understood equally little as I did and our dearest uncle was translating most important events of the ceremony both to us, and our guests. His translation was very entertaining and contributed a lot to everybody's good mood. For example, at certain moment uncle said: "At this moment typically the bride's family would have to provide the dowry to the groom's family, but we will do it a bit different today. The groom will have to give all his credit cards and pin numbers to the bride..." That made everybody, including us, laugh. In general, I felt like laughing all the time and it was quite a challenge to keep a straight face.
Some people asked me if I had to "convert" to Hinduism to be able to get married following that tradition. The answer is no. First, there is no concept of conversion in Hinduism. This way it is more like philosophy than religion. Second, it is very open religion/philosophy and anybody could get married in its tradition (even two people of which none is Indian). So if I can offer you my advice, forget about a Western-style wedding and have a fun Indian one!
Last bridal preparations:
The bride enters!