A couple of weeks ago, one of the male staff members at Rising Star stopped by our house early in the morning to drop off an envelope. That envelope is pictured below! We were invited to Ambu's wedding. I've never met Ambu prior to this event, but regardless he invited all of the volunteers. I was so excited for the opportunity to get dressed up in my new Sari and experience a traditional southern Indian wedding.
Often the women here wear beautiful jasmine flowers in their hair, so earlier in the day Anne and I bought some flowers for all of the volunteers to wear to the wedding.
Also, some of the volunteers did henna on their hands for an added touch of festivity for the big day. I didn't get around to it before the wedding, but I hope to before I leave.
Here's my final getup for the big event.
For the wedding there are two big events, the reception and the ceremony. Interestingly, the reception was first on saturday night, and the wedding ceremony was the next day, Sunday morning. The reception hall was all light up and had christmas lights hanging off the building. In the states, it would look tacky, but here it's the way to really light up the night. In addition, they had this interesting, mannequin that bowed its hands up in down.
Most of the reception was spent sitting around, taking pictures and waiting for the bride (she was at the Hindu temple around the corner). I love all the colors of the saris we all wore. It was really nice to see everyone dressed up in the beautiful saris.
Another interesting aspect of the decor for the reception were these plush chairs. We never actually saw the bride and groom sit in them, but the chairs were there nonetheless.
More beautiful saris! I love the colors that Lyndsey, Kala, Vanilla and I had on.
The band played loud indian music that no one danced to, but it created an energetic atmosphere for the event.
After awhile we were invited down to a dining area where we were fed a delicious dinner. It was so good, I could eat that food for dinner every night. I love that we ate on banana leaves for dinner.
After dinner, the groom took pictures with everyone (the bride still hadn't shown up).
Oh, I forgot to mention.... the way you know you're at the right place..... there's a huge billboard right outside the reception hall advertising the wedding. By the way, this was an arranged marriage, which is traditional here. Many of the children like to ask if I plan on having an arranged marriage or a love marriage. They say in love marriage the love is there to start but goes away, and in an arranged marriage there is no love to start and then it grows over time, so clearly the arranged marriage is preferable.
Finally, it was getting late and we decided it was time to go, but before we did (the bride still hadn't shown up). We walked with a crowd from the reception over to the temple where the bride was. She was dressed so beautifully, and we finally got pictures of the bride and groom together.
Her head piece was really amazing. I could believe how elaborate all of the flowers were.
Before we left, we got a picture with the bride and groom together. I thought it was a little strange that they wanted a picture with us, almost complete strangers, but the whole time they treated us like special guests. We ate first, we got the best seats. They were just so kind to us the entire night. I was so honored to be invited to Ambu's wedding.The next day was the ceremony. I wasnt' able to go, but I borrowed a few pictures from the volunteers who did go. There was a lot of ritual to the ceremony and it lasted for about an hour and half. I love all of the flowers!
This is just one of the many amazing events I've experienced over the last couple of weeks, I'll try to post as much as I can in the coming days. I can't believe I only have 2 weeks more here in INdia. It's been an extraordinary experience and I'm so grateful for the opportunity.