Evening Cocktail party
We got up for an early start and the Havan ceremony. It is a religious blessing during which the groom and family put offerings into a consecrated fire while a priest chants divine Sanskrit verses.
View from our roof
A crazy 10 hour road trip back to Delhi for the main two days of wedding events (we got a bit lost when the phone being used as a satnav ran out of battery). We had four mini vans, a car and a number of family members flying down from the village. After a hair-raising road trip we arrived exhausted and in desperate need of sleep for the main events.
We had an amazing suprise when my husband's cousin's wife and their 7 month old baby surprised us at the hotel. They had booked last minute flights to join us for the Dehli part of the ceremonies.
I have cobbled together some key details and photos from our epic family wedding with intermittent wifi connection between the busy festivities so as not to miss my Friday post. I will update and add more photos on my return to the UK.
The Chunni and Ring Ceremony
The groom's family give the bride her wedding chunni (veil) and they exchanged their wedding rings. We had a second lovely surprise when my husband's other cousin and her husband also managed to book last minute flights to join us too.
Ready in Traditional Punjabi suits for the Jaggo and Ladies Sangeet (pre-wedding party)
We were stopped 3 times by the police and fined for random concocted violations like not wearing seat belts in the front even though they had clearly been worn. We weren't going to argue with the police and were happy to pay their 'tea money' to get going again.
It was a bit of a culture shock- the triple over taking, random animals on the roads, traffic of all descriptions weaving in and out and even going the wrong way. We made it to the village late in the evening for a quick supper. Then were taken to the house of our lovely host Punjabi family (good friends of my husband's aunt), where we stayed for three nights.
Let the wedding festivities begin!
We dressed up went to the local town for the Shagun. This is an important part of a Punjabi wedding in which the engagement in confirmed at a religious ceremony. The brides father and brother came with some of their close family members to 'seal the deal'.
There were stalls of popcorn, candy floss and other more traditional snacks followed by Punjabi entertainment. We then had a fabulous lunch and we partied in true Punjabi style.
With our host family
We made several stops for refreshments, toilet break and a bit of leg stretching time.
The Wedding Day
We prepared our groom with his Serra Bande .
This is his face covering that is worn before he greets his bride.
An uneventful night-flight transported us to India. We were met by a friendly family member from my husbands village in the Punjab plus a Canadian cousin and the groom's boss and his family. They became part of our extended family for the week's festivities and travels. Straight from our flight we had an 8 hour road trip from Dehli to the Punjab in a minibus. We had so much to pack into our week and there was no time to waste.
Children's universal language of play.
We arrived at Heathrow airport in good time for our flight but realised at check-in that the cases with my husband's clothes, my shoes, nightclothes and toiletries and other random items were still at home.
Well, no point worrying so we did some speedy airport shopping and now have some random expensive clothes and the rest we would have to pick up along the way, including complete wedding attire for my husband, suit trousers for one son and smart shoes for the other son.
On the bright-side though we had arrived at the airport with all the people who were travelling to India.
The family paraded through the streets dancing with vessels decorated with lights to warn the villagers of the forthcoming wedding celebration.
As the grooms family we had the special job of cleansing him with paste made of flour, oil and turmeric to prepare for his wedding day.
Photos to follow
Other family members and friends of the bride and groom had been arriving during the week from all over the world, including Canada, UK, Australia, Italy and different parts of India. It was a truly international affair.
We arrived in a procession, in front of our groom (on his white horse) with a band playing to announce his arrival.
We were welcomed by the brides family and the chosen matched family male members exchanged garlands.
Our village home for few days
After dinner mint equivalent
My amazing Indian Family Wedding in India
(mostly told by photo's)
Hot water for washing
In the evening the family partied around the village singing Jago songs making sure everyone knew there was a wedding about to take place.
Chillies 'on the side'
The Wedding Reception.
(photos to follow)
The two families and their friends partied long into the night. I kept going until 2.30 am in the morning. After the tiring week of events, I dug deep, found some energy and danced to celebrate with our groom and to welcome his new bride into our family.
In the words of the bride's brother as he embraced me during the reception
'we are all family now'
and the last words of one of the favourite song played by the DJ 'All we need is somebody to lean on' because that is what family is all about.
Our obligatory mini-bus selfie
Settling into village life.