The wedding story, in India

ROYAL WEDDING in India
Weddings are a very big deal here. Starting with horoscope matches, if desired, families joining and much planning. It seems to be the biggest celebration in a lifetime.
3 days activities to a week and even ten days depending on much money and detail is to be included. Some weddings costing millions of rupees with hundreds of guests … Parties and ceremonies, elephants and horses, flowers and bangles. Wow! Exotic. It can take years and years to pay for the festivities.  
Many weddings in this white and romantic city of Udaipur. At our hotel we were exposed to an up close view of what goes on. A wedding to take place on our second night. Festivities were already going on when we arrived. Family members and guest of the beautiful Trident hotel, beautiful sarees, great celebrations. Breakfasts, laughter, women together in meeting rooms, chanting, music, large tent type enclosures, white fabric draped over metal scaffolding, red and purple flowers and decorations …. This could be a royal wedding!
On our full day in Udaipur, one of the activities for us was to take a boat ride to visit the island, where coincidentally the wedding ceremony was to take place. The palace, fortress and ancient structure had been completely taken over by wedding decorations. Marble elephants adorned with red blankets signifying the Royal presence, the place of the wedding. Marigolds strung and hung over carvings, trees, parts of the structures …. Overhead beautiful and elaborate light fixtures are created, adorned with purple and fuchsia flowers, strung and hung. Purple fabric draped again over structures created to centralize people and indicate where certain ceremonies will take place … The exchanging of garlands and vows and much more.
The caterers are busy creating and preparing foods, tables, chair covers.
The boats are being prepared with marigold strings and white flowers, (oleander?). When we returned to the shore in our adorned boat, we could see that chairs, tables and fabric, flowers and other items still to be taken over to the island.  
Usually the groom is to arrive on a horse or an elephant, depending on the cost for the family, and in this case, bride and groom will arrive to the island on separate boats so they do not see each other before the formal ceremony. Costs shared between families … The engagement paid for by grooms family and the wedding day vow exchange by the brides. Other days of celebration shared according to who is hosting which event … Feasts, dances, meals, and more ceremonies.  
Thousands of dollars and even millions of rupees are expended for this elaborate joining of families. The woman can change her caste as she joins with her new family, her new husband. The man, his caste never changes in his lifetime or that of his ancestors.
Romantic, beautiful and with much ceremony, this couple will join for a lifetime of being, working, growing, creating children and celebrating together. They will have priests attached to their family to provide guidance and spiritual support throughout their lives. 
We wish them a happy lifetime together … For all the years and children and love that will be created.  
Namaste and thanks for allowing us a glimpse into the rich cultural experience that is really the personal journey of two hearts.
Pamela 
Ps. There are 7 pre and post ceremonies.

Wedding dates are selected by horoscope. Jan, feb and Nov, even if it is a love marriage. Also time for 7 vows and mantras. Takes 3-4 hours. 
Groom side pays for engagement party, for example, a banquet, 400 people.  
The groom has a ceremony for Wrapping his wedding turban. There is a ceremony where relations and fiends give wedding bangles and other clothing items to assist the dressing of the wedding to the couple. The ceremony where the groom arrives on a horse surrounded by his relations and friends and there is a procession with the horse. In Hindu religion there is a ceremony at the Shiva temple. Decorations, music and lights accompany the celebration. Groom and family welcome guests. Celebration in a garden. All in all it is a very busy time. 
Families exchange gifts at a ceremony. There is a turmeric ceremony, 3-4 days prior to vow ceremony. Where the skin of the couple is treated.  
A Ceremony of henna application with bride. Husbands name is hidden in henna somewhere on her body. He has to find his name that golden night. 

7 promises from sanscript. Walking around holy fire. Family blesses them. Groom applies red powder of vermillion on the center part of his wife’s head, just above forehead. Every day he does it. Marks her hair as such. If he is away she applies it herself. When he is home it is a daily ritual for the married couple.
There is a Shoe stealing ceremony. The brides family and wedding guests demand fortune for the return of grooms shoes. Sister of bride steal groom shoes. Groom must pay. His brothers and friends protect grooms shoes. It is to connect and provide comfort so family she is leaving can feel confident. It is a lighthearted event for fun and family togetherness during this important time in their lives.
First royal welcome to groom …. Also a red line he must cross. Created by brides family and friend. 
She wears garland of roses to her knees. Bride and groom stand on a Rotating stage. People throw flower petals. Blessing the couple. Give the couple gifts or cash. This all takes time and there are about 150 guests still left up to 1-4 am. 
Bride is given lavish departure from her family. 630 am. Groom mama gives welcome to grooms home for the bride. She sees her home for first time. 
Bride and groom sit and big bowl of milk is laid before them. Groom drops his ring in bowl. Who is first to pick it up, 3 tries. Then she is going to be boss. He helps her so she will be happy. She deserves to be happy. 
Then reception party. Following night. Very colourful events. Elaborate. 
If sister elder or same age … Sister must marry first. Everything matters. 
“Vivah” is a Bollywood movie to watch. 
7 vows promises for happy and prosperous life. Eye witness is important .. For seven lifetimes. Groom says one, bride next, then groom. Then bride … Like this … Well not exactly but close ….
1. You will offer me food and be helpful in everywhere

2. I am the bride and will be responsible for house

3. I will protect our children

4. You will love me solely

5. We Will educate our children

6. I will love you solely for my life 

7. You have brought sacredness to me in my life

8. I will shower you with joy everywhere

9. You are my best friend and 

10. I promise to love and cherish you as long as I live. I will trust and honour you

11. May you be filled with joy and peace

12. I will always be by your side 

13. We are now one

14. I am now your wife and we love honour and cherish each other
Namaste, 
Have a happy life!  
Pamela
For pictures of my trip, check out 

https://www.facebook.com/pmacdonaldtravel

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