Wedding Daze, Pt. 2
My family and I were the first to reach the temple for the wedding ceremony. Everyone else, including the priest, was running on Indian Stretchable Time. I sat and chatted with the other guests who were slowly filtering in until we heard the drums announcing Amrit’s arrival. In a traditional Punjabi wedding, the groom arrives on a white horse (no joke) with a band, while friends and family celebrate around him. My friends and family went out to dance and welcome Amrit, while I stayed inside, catching glimpses out the window. (It’s supposed to be auspicious for the bride to sneak a peek of the groom as he arrives.)
After the music and dancing had finished, we all settled in for the ceremony. Amrit and I were seated on cushions around a fire pit with the priest and our immediate families. All of the other guests sat or stood in a larger circle around us. Unlike a traditional church-wedding in the U.S., in which guests are expected to sit quietly and respectfully through the whole ceremony, our Indian wedding ceremony was much more relaxed. The guests were chatting and enjoying snacks and chai as we went through the ceremonial offerings to the fire, and as Amrit and I completed our seventh and final procession around the fire and he applied sindoor to my forehead, signifying that we were now married, the guests cheered and threw flower petals and rice grains on us!
After the ceremony, which lasted a little less than one hour, we all went to the wedding reception. Often, an Indian wedding ceremony and reception occur on different days, since the ceremony is supposed to happen at the auspicious hour of 4 AM, and the reception follows the day after. For the sake of our guests from the U.S., though (and, frankly, for the sake of our own sleep), Amrit and I decided to skip the 4 AM wedding and separate reception, and combine them into a one-day event.
The reception was fun, though exhausting. Amrit and I had to do a mix of mingling, posing for pictures on a stage that was set up specifically for guests to take photographs with the newlyweds (I felt like a celebrity!), and snarfing down food and drink when we found a spare second. I was happy to see all of the guests enjoying themselves, though, and was thankful that we had managed to pull off this elaborate wedding extravaganza that, in the initial stages of planning, had seemed like such an overwhelmingly daunting task. And I was most relieved that it was all over, and that I could finally go home and sleep easy knowing that there was no more wedding pressure looming over my head!
Now on to the next big event: Planning for our First Anniversary Celebration! 🙂
More photos from our wedding ceremony and reception:
Read about the first half of our wedding day in: Wedding Daze, Pt. 1