The celebration started on Friday night with the mehndi (henna) night. There were three ladies doing their intricate designs on everyone's hands. Families were reuniting, cousins were creating laughter together, women were laying out the food and children were dancing to the music and sneaking candies from this Ba or that one (Ba = grandma). Me and Lolly & Frostine got our hands done, but it was nothing compared to the bride. It took hours to make her hands look like this while her cousins and sisters brought her plates of food.
The next morning started early. We were at the hall by 8:30am ready to begin a ceremony that would ask the God's to bless our celebration and prepare the bride for marriage. After many blessings, literally painting the bride in a yellow paste, all the women carrying pots on their heads, throwing rice and flower petals into a fire and more scrumptious food we didn't leave until about 2:30pm. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with cousins we don't see often enough.
Sunday was the actual wedding. I got up early to get my hair done and feed the kids some breakfast. By the time I got everyone dressed, hair curled, matching bangles and necklaces on it was time to head downstairs. Never before has my family been so sparkly.
When we got downstairs the driveway of the hotel was packed with people in festive attire. It was the entire grooms side, all 200 of them. He rode up on a horse. In front of the horse was a circle of women dancing and jingling bells and a band of drummers playing music. Outside the ballroom the brides side was waiting for the procession. At the front of the crowd, under an archway, my mother-in-law and I greeted the groom. The feeling of celebration was palpable. We all filed into the ballroom and awaited the bride's procession. My kids walked down the aisle followed by the bridesmaids and then the bride. The three hour was symbolic and beautiful. Guests drifted in out to get snacks or stretch their legs.
After the ceremony and about one thousand pictures, we headed back upstairs to out room to change yet again for the reception. We put on even fancier attire, more matching bangles, bindis and necklaces. The reception was truly a party to remember.
There's more to say. Oh, so much more to say. I'll leave you with that for now. More details to follow.