Letting someone catch white veil and entering home in My Better Half arms, as part of tradition, wasn’t an end. It was just a beginning of the next events of our marriages, I call them Bollywood celebrations. Little time to rest and relax after initial 1.5 days of happenings. Meanwhile, one espresso coffee to get some more strength, this can’t be missed. A lot happening at home, just few hours left, to set, to get ready! At 6pm Bollywood celebrations start!
Two hours apart, between white dress and next saree. Between western events and Indian celebrations. Evening starts with ‘Sangeet & Mehndi’ party, taking place at our home here in India. A Mehndi party is the pre-wedding celebration in Hindu culture. The bride has the red-orange mehndi (henna) applied to her palms, hands, and feet. The word ‘sangeet’ in Hindi means music. So, all together it is henna and music party, an event during an Indian marriage. It is a celebration of the union of not only the couple but the bonding of both families and friends. It usually takes place a day before the wedding.
Somehow, we made it and we all got ready for 6pm! This time it was easier, pre-selected dress, number 3! Light blue saree, azure shade, also this time with golden threads and embroideries. Satin saree, so comfortable to wear, to dance…hmmm…for me less ?
Funny thing is: I have never attended all the celebrations of Hindu / Bollywood type of wedding before! So, all of this was completely new for me. Just that… it was my wedding, I was the bride! Luckily, somehow inside me, I just decided to let it go, to live the moments, no matter if I do all things right, if I even understand the meaning or intentions of all. I knew My Better Half was next. I knew I have traveled the world enough just to adapt easily and enjoy each minute.
All I have seen were Bollywood movies and wedding scenes! Yes, Sangeet & Mehndi parties were there too. One big actual difference: in all the movies mehndi celebration is about fun, music, yummy food, dancing and dancing. Yes, all this was there, family and guests, all having super fun and dancing. And me… sitting 2.5 hours, in one place! As all my mehndi was to be done. And it wasn’t a small henna, it was on the palms, hands, feet. In front of me all: dancing, eating, drinking… and I just couldn’t wait to stand up and party, it was my party but all I had to do for 2.5 hours was to sit! And then waiting for henna to dry well… never-ending!
No movie shows that bride needs to sit and sit and sit ? Good that people didn’t forget about me and were feeding me and giving me sips of drinks. Once mehndi was ready, like a tigress I just jumped to party too! It was a long night, night before our 3rd marriage, Hindu one.
As I mentioned before, each day was just better. So was 3rd day of our celebrations. In short, special and unforgettable. A bit more time to relax in the morning, really needed! But that wasn’t for long. Preparations were due again! Make-up artist at home, 4th dress all set and ready. How was it?
One of my favorite ones, if not my favorite wedding dresses. I love them all, however this one somehow a bit more. Red lehenga, beautiful, simply beautiful. And heavy! Very heavy. This time I was lucky enough to buy it together with My Better Half and try it in advance. ?
Lehenga is the traditional wedding dress of Indian women. It is a form of skirt from the Indian subcontinent which is long and embroidered, usually it is paired with a dupatta (long shawl). Women wear lehenga for celebratory occasions like weddings or festivals. It comes with choli, short blouse, that is tailor made as per specific measurements. The midriff is usually left bare and the skirt is securely fastened at the waist. Hmm… normally I am very fit, but all this made me think “I need a pack. I need to be realistic. Maybe not 6-pack. But 2 or 4 will do.” ? So with 1.5 month gap to marriage, I did some intense gym, each morning before office. All is possible!
We reached marriage place on time, our place, Royal Orchid Hotel. Many guests were already there, greeting us at the entrance. The first part of the ceremony was varmala. It is the exchange of fresh flowers garlands by the bride and the groom. In ancient times it was believed to be the acceptance ritual by the bride and the groom for the marriage. Currently it is also determining who will lead at home. Who manages to put the garland first is the winner! My Better Half told me… ‘it will be an interesting exchange, prepare for the ‘fight’. Guess he underestimated Polish rivalry! My Better Half‘s ‘office gang’ didn’t expect that my dear Polish guests would lift me up not only in arms but in fact they made me sit on their shoulders! Poland vs. India 1:0!
Off the beautiful stage of varmala, full of so many flowers, we moved to wedding mandap. It is a covered structure with pillars, temporarily built for the purpose of the Hindu marriage ceremony. Saat Phere (Seven Circles), the most important part of Hindu wedding, takes place there. Bride and groom to do seven rounds around a sacred fire lit for the purpose amidst the Vedic mantras. Vows made in the presence of sacred fire are unbreakable.
Above all, Saat Phere ceremony was beautiful. Not knowing all the prayers and vows in advance, listening to all, with opened heart, it became very emotional moment. With multiple translations taking place on the mandap, from Sanskrit to Hindi, from Hindi to English, from English to Polish it gave a valuable life meaning to all. Once married, guests gathered around us and started to bless us by throwing petals of flowers on us. And we kept smiling and smiling.
Three marriages behind us, civil, church and Hindu. Time to START CELEBRATIONS, Bollywood music on! Yes… more details in the next post!
Moments that matter, no matter color of the wedding dress.