Sunil and Shobna's Hindu wedding celebration took place in October, 2009 in Edmonton, Canada. Sunil and Shobna are both incredibly warm and friendly people, and it was heartwarming to see them each share so much joy and laughter throughout the 3 days of pre-wedding celebrations. Hindu weddings typically span 5 or 6 days, and the days leading up to the actual marriage include several celebrations at the homes of both the brides parents' and the grooms parents'.
The ladies' Sangeet Ceremony was such an interesting and beautiful thing! It's a celebration where all the women on each side of the family sing traditional songs, dance, and celebrate with the happy bride and groom. The Haldi Ceremony was especially fun- the bride and groom are smeared with a paste made of tumeric powder, and every family member takes a turn smearing the nearlyweds.
It got pretty messy, but the paste is supposed to make your skin look luminous on the wedding day... So, it's all in the name of beauty and tradition! Beautiful Henna designs were applied during the Mendhi ceremony. An interesting fact I learned- traditionally, the darker the bride's henna dries, the more her new in-laws will like her! Thankfully, Shobna's henna turned out very vivid and dark, but I have a feeling her in-laws would have liked her no matter what. On the night before the actual wedding, the Ghari puja takes place, where the pundit (or Hindu priest) visits the homes of the bride and groom to perform scared blessings.
Once the Ghari puga is finished and the bride and groom get a good night's sleep, they are finally ready for their big day! Sunil arrived at the wedding on a white horse, called the Baraat. He wore a traditional turban, his face covered with a veil, and was given a garland of money by his family for good luck! Sunil and Shobna's ceremony occured under a blessed tent called a Mandap, and involved a sacred fire and several offerings. Despite the sacred nature of the ceremony, Sunil and Shobna's pundit was very funny, so there was no shortage of laughter, and he explained each tradition in detail, which made my experience that much better!
Although it was a very cold day, and Sunil and Shobna's gorgeous wedding garb was far from warm, the beautiful couple braved the cold so we could get a few outdoor wedding photos. The gentle snow fall on the final day of the celebration made for some magical photos with the gorgeous couple dressed to the nines! East Indian receptions are known for their high energy- everyone dances and celebrates long into the night, and Sunil and Shobna's wedding was no different!