By Guest Blogger Mila
A month ago I attended my friend’s Indian wedding. I traveled to India for the 4-day affair that culminated in a wedding ceremony attended by 1000 guests at the Taj Hotel. This was my very first traditional Indian wedding, and it was one of the most luxurious weddings I’ve ever attended. It was a girl’s dream come true- lots of dresses, fancy parties, and handsome guests. I wasn’t even the one getting hitched, yet I still felt like a princess! So, I’d like to share some of the fun from the 4-day extravaganza.
Each evening the groom’s family or the bride’s family hosted a party. The party usually started with a traditional ritual and continued with singing, dancing, and lots of delicious food (here is a tried and true recipe for one of my fav dishes- Chicken Tikka Masala). Everyone came dressed up in fabulous attire with glittering jewelry. Not going to lie, I was intimidated on the first night and had to step up my game. No boring buns, ladies. One evening I wore a sari, six yards of fabric draped into a beautiful dress on your body. It was NOT easy to walk in.
My absolute favorite wedding tradition was the Sangeet. The term “sangeet” is derived from Sanskrit and literally means “sung together.” The Sangeet is a night of entertainment put together by the family and performed for guests. Groups of relatives perform dances and songs. Good-natured jokes and funny stories are told. I performed in a dance. It was no off-the-cuff dance party. We had a choreographer rehearse with us for days. The night is comparable to a talent show, but without the competition. It’s ok if you fall on stage. I swear I didn’t but someone else did!
The last day was the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom were dressed up in the most beautiful garb. Rumor has it that these outfits can cost up to thousands of dollars. The ceremony was performed while the bride and groom sat around a fire over which a priest delivered the rituals. All around, family and friends were gathered quietly to observe. Indian weddings symbolize the union of not just two people but also of two families (photos from famous Indian actress Aishwarya Rai’s wedding).
Weddings are beautiful, but they also freak me out a little because I’m nowhere close to getting married. Large weddings seem intimidating. It was nice to catch the bride and groom exchanging a smile in the middle of all the pomp and circumstance. In the end it’s always just the bride and groom, ready to spend the rest of their lives together. It was endearing to be part of such a beautiful tradition. If you ever get the chance to attend an Indian wedding, be prepared to party it up!
Mila is in her twenties and lives and works in New York City. She loves writing, running, and good music. If there’s a dance party, she’s there.