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Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Wedding belles

What a wedding! I am just about recovered from a very hectic weekend indeed. It all began on Friday when I was still dithering about which outfit to wear to the Indian wedding celebration on Saturday. I kept trying the two choices on, asking opinions of anyone who happened by my house, I worried about which shoes to wear with both outfits. I tell you chaps, you have no idea how lucky you are. Suit, shirt, shoes – your only potential problem is the choice of tie. You have no idea of the minefield of fashion dilemmas we ladies face. Anyway here are the choices – two shalwar kameez – tunic, trousers and shawl suits. Click on all images to enlarge.

Both outfits were beautifully made and I suppose my dilemma was that I wanted to wear them both! Here are some details of the embroidery on each shalwar kameez.

Sequins and embroidery

Sleeve detail

I eventually decided on the red suit as I thought that the pink one was a bit too bright, a bit too ‘bling’ and maybe the more classy, subtle colours of the red and cream was more appropriate for a wedding. How wrong I was! I have never seen a more stunningly colourful wedding. It was uplifting and wonderful to see the vibrant rainbow of colourful clothing, both saris and shalwar kameez, worn by all the female guests, Indian and European alike. I have a small slide show at the end to give you a flavour of the proceedings but to be honest, I didn’t take too many photographs as I was too busy enjoying myself and kept forgetting to take them!

Me and my lovely boys

My younger son and my house guests, Garry and Beryl, arrived on Friday,  but my older son who was travelling from Bath, said he would arrive on Saturday morning. He finally pitched up at 1pm (the wedding started at 3pm) and I was relieved that he had made it in time. My joy at seeing him was soon shattered. His first question was ‘My suit and smart shoes are here, aren’t they?’  He hadn’t been able to find his suit at his house in Bath (needless to say he doesn’t wear it much) so he assumed they must be at my house. Wrong! What followed was an hour of panic while he tried on several old suits we had in the wardrobe. As you will see from the photograph, he is very much taller than his brother and all the old suits we had were much too short, so he changed into the shirt and tie he had brought with him, borrowed some shoes off his brother (a size or two too small) and still in his jeans they both shot off into Dorchester to try and buy him a suit. I went off to the wedding very apprehensive that either they would be late or #1 son would be unable to find a suit to fit. I needn’t have worried. They turned up with 30 minutes to spare and as you can see, he found a lovely suit which fitted perfectly.

The afternoon was gloriously sunny and began with afternoon tea where the most delicious canapés were served. We were then asked to cover our heads in preparation for the ceremony. The men were given scarves to tie around their heads and despite making them look a little like pirates, they all looked very dashing. Then, having removed our shoes, we went into the Gurdwara – another marquee which was decorated in shades of fuschia pink and orange – auspicious colours. The wedding ceremony is called the Anand Karaj (Ceremony of Bliss). On entering the Gurdwara, we had to bow to the Guru Granth Sahib, a box containing sacred texts, which was positioned in the centre of a dais where the ceremony takes place. All guests sit cross legged on the floor, females on the left, males on the right.

The bride wore a stunning red sari, heavily embroidered with gold thread and the groom wore a long cream brocade tunic, with a long red scarf, over slim cream trousers and a red turban. During the ceremony, Kirtan (hymns) are sung by the Raagis (musicians)  Ardas (prayers) are recited. The bride’s father places the end of the groom’s scarf in the bride’s hands, this is called Pallae di Rasam – tying the wedding knot. A series of four verses called the Lavaan are recited and for each one , the groom leads the bride around the Guru Granth Sahib, she is assisted by her brothers or close male relatives.

As you can tell, this photograph was taken by my friend Garry, who was sitting on the men’s side of the Gurdwara. The bride and groom are circling the Guru Granth Sahib during the Lavaan.

The First Lavaan is a promise to love each other for ever.

The Second Lavaan is a promise to merge together completely.

The Third Lavaan is a promise to be faithful to each other.

The Fourth Lavaan is the promise to be together in both happiness and adversity.

After the completion of the Lavaan, other hymns and prayers are sung and then a sweet cake called Koraah Parshad is passed to all members of the congregation.

Then we collected our shoes and left the Gurdwara. The ceremony was then followed by a champagne reception, dinner and dancing. I don’t know where to begin telling you about the marquee where we had dinner, it was vast, magnificent, awesome, splendid, gorgeously decorated – I’m running out of superlatives here – outside, the lake had been illuminated with floating lanterns and there were lanterns in the grass around the lake, leading to the surrounding trees which were all lit up – it was quite magical.

After a sumptuous dinner, there was much dancing to a wonderful Indian group playing Bhangra music (I think that is what it was called).  My knees are still feeling the effects – it was so, well, danceable! Later on,  we all chilled out in the stunning relaxation area until it was time to go home.

It was a truly magnificent occasion. My friend Edwina, is now very nervous as her two daughters (the girls in the photographs with my sons) have now got very firm ideas about their perfect wedding – the bar has been set very high indeed. Nick, their father, is keeping a very nervous eye on his wallet! As for me? Well, I’m planning a Bollywood party sometime soon so I get to wear my pink outfit….

30 responses to “Wedding belles

  1. Teresa September 30, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    I love the photo of your sons with their heads bowed together talking about something…god, they’re handsome young men!

    That is an utterly amazing wedding! I’ve had Indian friends here and there growing up, but none close, so I’ve never been to an Indian wedding. Bummer! So I thank you for your detailed description (with photos) of this one. :)

    No wonder your friend’s husband is nervous; I imagine the parents of the wedding spent more than my husband makes in a decade on this lavish affair. LOL!

    You are so stunning in red!

  2. Shinade September 30, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Oh I was hoping that you went with the red. I like both but the red is simply smashing and you look so vibrant in it.

    Oh my your sons are so handsome. One might even call them hunks!!

    And the wedding pictures are fabulous. Thanks for taking so many and sharing them with us.

    Oh I would love to have an opportunity such as this!!

    I am so glad all went well and that you had a good time!:-)

  3. Diane September 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Teresa – you are so sweet. As a proud mum, I have to agree with you of course! And I know you have gorgeous boys too – we make great babies, don’t we? :-)

    It was a stunning wedding – my photos don’t begin to do it justice. I’m glad you agree with my colour choice – just need a reason to give the pink one an outing now!

    Shinade – glad you liked the suit AND my sons. I hope they don’t read this – they will get big heads :-)

  4. daddypapersurfer September 30, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Definitely the right outfit. Mind you, I bet if you’d asked me before hand and I’d said “the red one” you would have immediately chosen the other one ……….

    An excellent post that has made me wish I’d been invited …….. I would have promised to behave myself and leave the vacuum cleaner behind………[you’d better Google ‘vacuum cleaner’ to see what one is oh stranger to domestic goddessy] …… tee hee

  5. AmyH September 30, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Both suits are beautiful. I’m glad you’re going to have to have a party to wear your pink one! ;)

    My parents have been to several Indian weddings, but they were Hindu ceremonies. I don’t know how different the two are, but I do know that they are both colorful and vibrant occasions. Someday, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be invited to such an interesting and beautiful wedding.

  6. Claire Fordham September 30, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Wonderful. Stunning. Can we see a close up of the bride and groom? The photo of you and the boys/men is my new all time fave pic of you guys.

  7. Diane September 30, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    DP – I asked so much advice – and opinion was split 50-50 so I ended up going with the outfit that had the comfiest shoes. There I have said it and now I know I am getting old. Gone are the days when I can dance the night away in stilettoes :-(
    I have a vacuum cleaner. I give it a flick over with a duster occasioally….

    AmyH – I figure that I couls actually wear either tunic with white linen trousers in the summer but a Bollywood party sounds more fun!
    This was a Sikh wedding so I guess quite a bit different but I’m guessing too that both are vibrant and colourful :-)

    Claire! I didn’t get a good photo of bride and groom but I will snaffle one as soon as I see photos that other, more organized guests took!
    Glad you like the pic of us – we do all look nice don’t we?

  8. pearl October 1, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Wow!! You look stunning in that red outfit Diane! I like the pink and blue a lot too but I have to say that whichever dress you wore you would look good in it Diane… definitely don’t look like a mother to those two handsome guys :)

  9. Diane October 1, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Aww shucks! Thank you, Pearl! You’ll make me blush! My little (!) guys are handsome though! :-)

  10. strugglingwriter October 1, 2008 at 2:49 am

    You looked great in both outfits. I also like the the Andy Warhol type paintings behind on the walls in your pictures. I’ll write more here later when I have more time. Just saying hello right now.

  11. Diane October 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    SW – thank you, you are a sweetie!
    I love those Warhol-esque pix of the boys too. I found a company that printed photos onto canvas and you could choose from a variety of styles and colour schemes. I had a set done for my ex as a Christmas present last year.

    Lunes – thank you! Those outfits are so gorgeous it would make anyone look stunning!

  12. Kim at Printable Wedding Invitations October 1, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    I am so glad that you chose the red outfit. When I started reading and before you indicated your choice, I was thinking … please choose the red.

    Your boys are so handsome. I want to say beautiful, because that is what I call my 22 year old son. Why can’t men be beautiful?

    That is probably for another discussion.

    Really enjoyed viewing your photos and the description of the wedding.

    Rest us,


  13. 70steen October 2, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Simply stunning Diane. What a fabulous wedding a to have been forunate to have enjoyed it for real too, the Laavan is interesting must do a little research on that.
    I love the way everyone is brightly dressed for the happy occasion… wonderful

    Oh and if I was 20 younger ;) (gorgeous boys you have there) x

  14. laketrees October 2, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    the pink headscarves on your boys look terrific and I loved the red outfit…either outfit would have matched that splendid decor and wow !!!
    that flower filled centre piece is magnificent..
    beautiful wedding Diane :)

  15. writinggb October 2, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Oh, man. Now I’m so totally jealous I may just have to go to India….or make an India friend, at least!

    Reminds me of the film Monsoon Wedding, one of my absolute favorites!

    Thanks for sharing!

  16. Diane October 3, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Kim – thank you that is very kind of you and I’m really pleased that you agree that I made the right decision!
    I think my boys are beautiful :-)

    70s – it was such a colourful and happy day.
    I’m amazed at how may of my girly mates so a bit weak kneed at the sight of their sons’ friends! (I include myself in that!)

    Kim – the head gear made them look like pirates! Such a pretty pink too!
    The flower arrangements were gorgeous, I agree!

    writinggb – I recommend it highly, if this Indian wedding is typical!
    Monsoon Wedding was a fun film wasn’t it?

  17. joe gelb October 3, 2008 at 4:56 am

    that wedding looks like an amazing event. thankyou for sharing it

  18. fracas October 3, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I agree with Teresa about the photo of your boys.

    You looked fabulous in the red one, I’m glad you chose it.

  19. Lady Banana October 3, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Wow! Such a fantastic wedding, great photos and you look fabulous in both outfits!

  20. creechman October 5, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    You are gorgeous.

    All you need now is a music video.

    I suggest a tennis theme.

  21. Diane October 5, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Joe – it was and my pleasure to share it with you all. :-)

    fracas – it’s a great photo isn’t it? (Not even one of mine – one of my friend’s daughters took it – I snitched it off her Facebook page!)
    The consensus seems to be that the red was the way to go, so I’m glad I got it right! Thanks for your kind comment :-)

    Lady B – Thank you! Sweet of you to say so!

    creechman – and you are a shameless flatterer :-)
    Video – a sort of greatest hits video?

  22. 70steen October 5, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Joining your mates .. weak at the knees (mmmm hormones are such a cross to bear) lol :-)

  23. Dunn October 7, 2008 at 2:07 am

    You look beautiful in both dresses. Your sons look handsome as well. You must be very proud of them.

  24. perpetualplum October 8, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    I LOVE the pink outfit. It would look great on me! :-D

    You look stunning in red. The wedding was gorgeous. What fun!

    You are so lucky. All of my friends from India have gone back to India to have their wedding, so I’ve never seen a tradtional wedding.

  25. Tabitha (From Single to Married) October 13, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I just found your blog – beautiful wedding and you look great!

  26. Lightning Fast October 16, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    What a colorful marriage! They have spent a lot I guess.

  27. tulibri October 17, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Hello Diane, thank you for visiting my blog lately and sorry I didn’t respond to your comment yet! You look so nice in these Indian dresses, adorable! How funny I was in the UK for wedding only a week after yours ;-)

  28. creechman October 18, 2008 at 9:05 am

    I can’t wait to see you in that red dress with a new Macbook. ;)

    Talk about sumptuous.

  29. Diane October 18, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    70s – you are as bad as me. Trouble is I only feel 21 inside. Outside is another matter entirely…..

    Dunn – thank you! I am proud of them – they are my little (!) angels!

    Sue – thank you! You can borrow the pink outfit whenever you like! You will just have to head off to India then….

    tabitha – welcome! Glad you enjoyed the photographs :-)

    Lightning fast – well, I don’t think it was cheap, but it was very colourful :-)

    Astrid – I always enjoy visiting your blog. I hope your wedding had as nice weather as we did – I seem to remember it rained that weekend – were you OK?

    creechman – I’ll bring the red dress you buy me the MacBook……

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