This is topic Hindu Wedding Pictures! (now with India trip pictures) in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Jhai (Member # 5633) on :
As some of you may know, Abhi and I just had our Hindu wedding ceremony in Calcutta, India, a couple of weeks ago. I'm now back in the States, and the wedding pictures are beginning to be aggregated. Here's a link to a bunch that Abhi's brother and cousins took: pictures.

A couple of notes:
I'm the young white person. My mother and Uncle Mark (her brother) were the only members of my family who were able to attend - they are also quite obvious in the pictures. An older lady, who appears to be white in the pictures, is actually Indian - she's Abhi's sister-in-law's mother, and has a skin disease where the skin pigmentation disappears in patches of skin.

Although Abhi's family is Bengali, we had an Arya Samaj wedding, rather than a traditional Bengali one. This kept the actual wedding ceremony a lot more meaningful and simpler - rather than having a lot of random ceremonies & rituals done over the course of a day in Sanskrit (which is about as dead as Latin), the ceremony was about an hour long, and all the Sanskrit mantras that we said were first translated into English.

Finally, I can't take any credit for the wedding planning, or even my look - all I did was show up in India, and then sit or stand still while I was done up (and treated) like a princess. In the pictures you'll see me in a light blue sari (day of the wedding), a traditional red wedding sari (wedding was at night), and a dark blue "modern-look" sari (at the reception the next day - it has far more people, and is sometimes considered a "bigger deal" than the actual wedding).

It was an wonderful experience, and if anyone has any questions about the pictures or the ceremony, I'd be glad to field them. We're hoping to get up pictures of the India trip in general over the weekend - when we do, I'll link to it. I highly, highly recommend India for a (long) trip if you ever get the chance.

Edit: If anyone is interested, here is the link (flickr) to most of our India trip pictures. They're almost all of the Ellora & Ajanta Caves, both of which are World Heritage sites and very amazing.

[ January 14, 2008, 08:42 PM: Message edited by: Jhai ]
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
You look beautiful in all the saris! [Smile] And what a cool kind of ceremony. So did you do the conversion as well, then?

That looks so neat! And everything is very cool looking-- definitely something to remember for a lifetime. What's a kanya daan? How did Mark get ready for it (from the picture captions?)
Posted by Jhai (Member # 5633) on :
I didn't actually do a conversion - I had inquired if it were necessary, and was told that the priest was cool with no conversion. But by being married to Abhi, I can pretty much claim Hindu status.

Kanya daan literally means "girl gifting." As my male family member, it was his job to "give me" to Abhi & his family. Near the start of the ceremony, he put my hand into Abhi's, which was the kanya daan. Later he threw herbs/dried plant stuff into the fire while Abhi's parents also threw herbs into the fire. There wasn't much of "getting ready" for it, other than perhaps bracing yourself to go near the fire (it was hot!).
Posted by Avadaru (Member # 3026) on :
Beautiful pictures! Congratulations on your wedding. It must have been so fascinating to experience a different culture's marriage rites.
Posted by maui babe (Member # 1894) on :
You do look like a princess in these pictures! What a beautiful wedding. Congratulations.
Posted by Dragon (Member # 3670) on :
Wow, it looks like a beautiful event. Congrats!
Posted by Dark as night (Member # 9577) on :
Wow, you look absolutely stunning! Congratulations!!! I've always wanted to see a Hindu wedding and thanks to your pictures now I have!

Yes, India is an awesome place for a long trip. I wish I had been there longer and can't wait to go back to see more. Did you get to travel anywhere else aside from Calcutta?
Posted by Tatiana (Member # 6776) on :
What a beautiful wedding and an adorable couple! Congratulations! I totally want clothes and jewelry like that at my wedding. [Smile]
Posted by porcelain girl (Member # 1080) on :
You look soooooo beautiful. Indian dress really suits you! Wow.
Posted by Jhai (Member # 5633) on :
Where (and when) did you go on your visit, Dark as night?

We actually didn't spend a lot of time in Calcutta - only about four days, two of which were devoted to wedding activities. After the wedding we flew to Bombay, where Abhi's sister lives, then took a train ride down to Aurangabad for a mini-honeymoon - the city is a good staging area to visit two World Heritage sites: the Ellora Caves and the Ajanta Caves. We then went back up to Bombay. Abhi had to leave after a day, since he had to be back at work on the 2nd, but I was able to get a good eight days in exploring Bombay and the surrounding area. My sister-in-law also had a healthy baby boy while I was there, which was great. [Smile]

And thank you to everyone for all the compliments on the wedding and the pictures. I think it may be impossible to look bad in a sari - it's an extremely flattering outfit. And the wedding sari & jewelery that my in-laws picked out were beautiful. I can hardly wait 'til the weather warms up so I can start wearing saris again.
Posted by Liz B (Member # 8238) on :
Wow, the two of you are really good looking [Smile] Add wedding clothes and obvious overwhelming happiness, and it's a stunning photoset. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations!
Posted by Valentine014 (Member # 5981) on :
You look so beautiful! I have always wanted a sari just like that one. I hope to look half that pretty on my day this May. Congratulations to both of you.
Posted by Tatiana (Member # 6776) on :
Yeah, the happiness is the best part! [Smile] Y'all are adorable!
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
My sincere congratulations! What a beautiful sari!
Posted by Dark as night (Member # 9577) on :
Originally posted by Jhai:
Where (and when) did you go on your visit, Dark as night?

In October 2004 I spent a couple of weeks in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh with a medical mission. It was fantastic! I absolutely fell in love with the hill station atmosphere, which was so richly infused with Tibetan people and culture. I would go back there in a heartbeat. And then I spent another week in New Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, doing the "tourist" stuff. I wish I could have stayed longer and gone to the South. Goa, Kerala, Bombay and Varanasi are some of my future hopeful destinations.

Originally posted by Jhai:
I think it may be impossible to look bad in a sari - it's an extremely flattering outfit. And the wedding sari & jewelery that my in-laws picked out were beautiful. I can hardly wait 'til the weather warms up so I can start wearing saris again.

Ah, I love saris. When I was in Delhi, I had one tailor made for me, but it wasn't ready in time before I had to leave, so my friend who lived in Delhi at the time picked it up and mailed it to me. Had I tried it on, I would have made the tailor alter some things. It is a beautiful sari, but doesn't fit me right. At first I thought it was just because I didn't know how to fold it properly. So I asked an Indian friend to help me with it and she said it was one of the worst-made saris she'd ever seen. Nevertheless, I still put it on sometimes because it's pretty. Next time I'm in India, I'll have to get a new sari made. [Smile]
Posted by imogen (Member # 5485) on :
You look beautiful, Jhai. [Smile]

I can't wait to go back to India. I went with my family once, for about 6 weeks. We started in Calcutta, then travelled to Agra (saw the Red Fort), Jaipur, then through Rajasthan and ended up in Darjeeling for Christmas (absolutely amazing). I ended up in New Dehli, and then the next year I went back, staying mostly in New Dehli but we also went to Missouri (in the foothills).

I loved it. I want to go back. Mum went to Goa (I was in New Dehli at that point) and I really want to go there.

I never wore saris though - I got two salwar kameezes and they were great. Because I am so dark haired (though pale skin) in the salwar I was often mistaken for Indian. Until I opened my mouth. *grin*
Posted by quidscribis (Member # 5124) on :
Glad you had a good time, Jhai! [Smile]

Dark as night, when you describe the sari not fitting properly, are you talking about the blouse and the underskirt? The sari itself is nothing more than 5 or 6 yards of fabric, although frequently with sequins, beads, or whatnot. Your description of the problem with it has me confused. [Smile]

Imogen - while I'm pale, I'm so obviously pink that, even with dark hair, I have never been mistaken for anything other than a foreigner here, in a shalwaar or not. Although, granted, a Japanese twice and a Chinese once. How that works, I'll never understand... [Big Grin]
Posted by Tatiana (Member # 6776) on :
Ah, you know those non-Indian people all look alike!
Posted by quidscribis (Member # 5124) on :
Apparently! [Smile]
Posted by ClaudiaTherese (Member # 923) on :
So gorgeous, and everyone looks so happy. Especially Abhi. [Smile]

Congratualtions to you both, and may the marriage far surpass even the splendid wedding.
Posted by Jhai (Member # 5633) on :
Thank you again to everyone. This is actually the second time we've been married - we had a civil ceremony in California in December 2006. Now Abhi's talking about having a ceremony every December in a different country... (*rolls eyes* one wedding was enough for me - the second was just a big bonus. [Smile] )

Dark as night, I'm also a bit confused by your discussion of the sari not fitting properly. The only thing that I can imagine not fitting well is the blouse, since the petticoat is just a huge draw-string skirt. And if the blouse doesn't fit, it's perfectly acceptable to use a matching shirt under the sari - you'll notice that in the pictures my mom is wearing a white shirt with the two saris she's wearing. But, anyways, I'm glad your visit to India went well. We're hoping to do a north India tour next time we go - visit Delhi, Agra, & Rajasthan.
Posted by Uprooted (Member # 8353) on :
What a beautiful couple you are!
Posted by Tammy (Member # 4119) on :
Beautiful Bride!
Posted by SoaPiNuReYe (Member # 9144) on :
I went to Kerala (South India) for a month. It was an interesting experience, but I'm sure it was quite different than your trip since North and South India are so different from each other. Congratulations on your Wedding!
Posted by Dark as night (Member # 9577) on :
Jhai and quidscribis. Sorry about the sari confusion. There's actually a problem with both pieces. The blouse doesn't fit me well, which is not that huge of a deal, because like you said, I could wear a different shirt under it. I'm not sure how to describe the problem without confusing you even more, but here goes.

The tailor made me a "western" version of a sari, so instead of a petticoat and a separate long piece of fabric that I can fold myself, they are attached. It's supposed to be easier, but it looks weird, because the drawstring of the petticoat makes the skirt itself look like it's all bunched up around my waste and there's nothing I can do about it because they're attached. But the biggest problem is that the piece of fabric I chose was either not long enough in the first place, or a portion of it got lost somehow in the making process. Or maybe it's because I'm tall. Anyway, the pallu, the free end of the sari barely goes over my shoulder, and if I try to pull on it at all to go down lower down my back, it ruins the pleets and exposes the petticoat.

At first I thought that I was just incapable of putting it in, but then I asked an Indian friend to help me. She was the one who thought it was poorly made and she didn't like the whole westernized version of it. However, half an hour and a dozen pins later, she managed to make it look quite nice on me. I only wish I could do it myself. [Smile]
Posted by quidscribis (Member # 5124) on :
Ah, yeah, that is weird.

Here, the underskirt is made from a completely separate piece of fabric, almost always bought separately. What you describe sound just... bizarre.

If I were you, I'd be inclined to remove or undo the fake petticoat bit (if you can), preserving as much fabric as possible for the sari (it should be 5-6 yards long). Then get a separate piece of fabric and make an ankle-length A-line underskirt with a drawstring.

As for the blouse, it's supposed to be fitted (although the local version of fitted is, uh, not the same as, say, mine) and tight enough that the hook and eye enclosures in the front don't pop. Personally, I think that's stupid and use buttons instead. I hate tight, and that would have to be pretty dang tight.
Posted by Telperion the Silver (Member # 6074) on :
Awesome pictures!
Posted by Jhai (Member # 5633) on :
bump - here's a link to flickr pictures of the India trip - mostly of the Ellora & Ajanta Caves.
Posted by Dark as night (Member # 9577) on :
Wow, those are really cool! Some of the pictures from the Caves reminded me of Petra and also of Angkor Wat. I'm adding Ellora and Ajanta to my very long "to see" list. [Big Grin]

By the way, I love the blue salwar kameez. And you were definitely working the orange shawl!
Posted by Omega M. (Member # 7924) on :
You look very nice. But until I read in your post that you're Caucasian, I thought you were a very light-skinned Indian! I have seen some Indians who I thought were white until I found out otherwise.
Posted by Morbo (Member # 5309) on :
Jhai you looked radiant and beautiful, and you both looked so happy!
Congratulations! [Big Grin]
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
I want an elephant-proof gate. That just sounds cool.
Posted by Morbo (Member # 5309) on :
I saw that caption. No elephant has ever successfully stormed the gates at Morbo's Deep. [Wink]
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
Have they ever tried?

Seriously, though, I loved the pictures. India has long been on my Official List of Places I WILL See Someday.
Posted by Jhai (Member # 5633) on :
I'm not sure if it's clear from the picture, but the elephant-proof gate is elephant-proof because there's foot-long sharp iron spikes protruding from a very thick & heavy door. It was wicked cool. As was the tiny bit of India I saw, generally.

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