Oh where to start? So much food, fun and festivity to discuss! I didn’t quite know what to expect from Suji’s wedding. She’s second generation Indian, and so is her now husband. However, when were in college together, I never realized her culture was such a huge part of her identity.
I expected the wedding to be infused with Indian tradition, but didn’t realize it would be the other way around: “ballywood” with a hint of American ;-). In fact, by not wearing a sari, I was in the minority! The sight of all of the different saris and glamorous jewelry was truly breathtaking and of course, the bride herself stole the show! There were two different celebrations: the wedding night and the groom’s reception the next night. I’m going to dedicate two whole posts to these recaps!
Day 1 – The Wedding
We arrived at the Chateau around 3:00 and sipped on pina coladas while we waited for the ceremony to start. The venue was the perfect location for a wedding.
But before the actual ceremony was a sort of groom’s dance party, which is an Indian tradition.
They walked towards the bride’s party, with the groom riding in a horse and carriage! It was fun to be able to witness the excitement from everyone in the wedding, and the Indian music was sooo catchy and contagious!
Next, we moved outside to where the ceremony took place. The ceremony was completely traditional, so it lasted about 90 minutes. However, it didn’t feel that long because it was fascinating to watch all of these wedding traditions I had never seen before. While the priest spoke mostly in Hindi, he broke into English every now and then to clue the guests into what was happening. When they put a sheet in front of Tanuj (Suji’s husband), we figured this meant Suji would be coming out soon. Unlike in American weddings, we couldn’t rely on “Here Comes the Bride” or Pachabel’s Cannon to help us out
Suji was carried in on a chair covered in white roses that only made her look all the more stunning. Of course, being the person that she is, she added a touch of humor to an emotional moment by crossing her fingers as they brought the chair down to put her on the ground (oh Suji ;-))
One of my favorite moments in the ceremony was when they pulled the sheet up and Tanuj saw Suji for the first time. I guess it was similar to lifting the veil in an American wedding, but this felt much more significant to me.
From there, they participated in many rituals, including this one:
When it was all over, the guests blessed the bride and groom and they were officially husband and wife!
Next it was time to party, and I had heard Indian weddings are generally quite the celebration!
First, cocktail hour featuring lots of delicious appetizers and of course vino!
Next, we moved inside for a dinner of Mexican food (Suji loves to add random touches to everything, so a traditional Indian wedding with Mexican food is typical ;-)) and the wedding toasts.
Suji then changed into her wedding dress, which was absolutely stunning
The father of the bride had nearly everyone in the audience almost in tears! He first talked about how being Indian is so much a part of who they are….it made me think of how being from Omaha (while not quite the same) has really shaped me into the person I am today. But the best line was when he said, “I haven’t lost a daughter, I have gained a son.” I think the whole room was looking around for some Kleenex!
The bridesmaids’ speech was quite entertaining. Suji, over the years, had provided them with a lot of material to discuss! The audience began cracking up as the bridesmaids recalled how Suji, now a lawyer, once thought Legally Blonde is based on a true story.
And once the speeches were over, the dance party began. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding where so many people were on the dance floor, both young and old. I attempted to learn the traditional dancing, and I was unsuccessful. Luckily, I had a fun time trying!
As if the night could get any better, we also got to take in a bit of fireworks!
I took it easy the entire evening with the ol’ alcohol knowing that I had another giant celebration ahead of me the following evening. But, it didn’t matter. No alcohol was necessary to enjoy this memorable evening! I spoke with Suji the next day by the pool, who said it was the most magical night of her life, and that everything was absolutely perfect.
Now, I’m back in NYC and I arrived just in time for some good weather. I’ve been sitting outside typing this post and soaking up this gorgeous day…and of course eating some of my fave, 16 handles.
Stay tuned for Part II of the wedding recap, the groom’s reception!