By now I guess most of you already know that I went to Mumbai last month to attend a wedding. I’ve shared stories about the city, about the food, even some travel and visa tips (the latter is in Bahasa Indonesia).But what about the wedding? Okay, although it is rather overdue… here goes! 😀
Disclaimer: Similar to Indonesian culture, Indian culture is very diverse. There are a lot of sub-cultures, usually differ by location. Every sub-culture has different traditions, especially about a wedding. I think my friend’s culture is Gujarati, so the wedding that I experienced was a Gujarati wedding. However, my understanding of a ritual/details might not be perfect, so read this post for fun only! 🙂
Before coming to India, my friend (the groom) told me to prepare for three functions; The Cocktail Party, The Henna Function, and The Wedding. But while I was there, I got to experienced some functions as well, all part of the wedding festivities.
The Cocktail Party
At first I have no idea what this is all about. When I asked what to prepare, my friend told me not to prepare anything, just wear a pretty party dress, hahaha. Later on, I found out that cocktail party means a night out with friends and family, all youngsters, just to have fun and celebrate before all the formal wedding festivities started. It is somewhat similar to a co-ed bachelor party. What happened there? a lot of dancing. So fun!! We started off with some current top40 dance songs, and followed by popular Indian songs. I can tell you now, I have never been to a party where everyone literally danced! and by everyone I mean, everyone! I had so much fun until I got my ankle sprained and had to sit down for the rest of the night, watching everyone else dancing. Booohooo 😦
Henna Function or Mehndi
This function happened 2 nights before the wedding. The bride had henna applied to her hands and feet, and then invited all her friends and family to a function involving a lot of dancing again! (I wish I could put the dancing emoji here, hehehe). That night, I arrived with my group of friends (from the groom’s side). When we first arrived at around 7PM, the bride and her family greeted us with a dance, and told us to dance as well. So we danced. After around 10 minutes dancing, they told us (the ladies) to approach the henna ladies to get our hands henna-ed. But then the groom and his family arrived, so we started dancing again to greet him. 😀 Then when I finally managed to had henna applied to my hands (because I was too busy dancing previously, hahaha), it was already 8.45 and the henna ladies had to leave at 9. Due to limited time, I could not get full henna, but it’s okay, better than nothing, right? 🙂 And then at around 9, finally all the dancing stopped and we were invited to have dinner. No questions about the food, they were all delicious!!
Night before the wedding
On the day before the wedding, there was some praying event both at the groom’s and the bride’s house. I did not witness it though, as me and my other foreigner friends was going on a quick last minute shopping for the wedding. We went to a small market nearby the hotel to buy some accessories and sandals for me because I had to ditch my heels due to my sprained ankle! 😦
Okay back to the night before the wedding. We were told to come to the groom’s house and from there walked to a function hall in his neighborhood. Turned out that there was a particular event; in which the men of the family (his father, uncles, cousins) played some sort of card game and the women did some chanting. I was told that it was supposed to bring good luck for the wedding 🙂
No dancing on this event, but still it was good fun. Me and my friends tried to join the card game but I sucked at it, hahaha. Food was served, so we spent the night eating instead hahaha…
The Morning of the Wedding
The morning of the wedding was hectic for us. We woke up very early and rushed to get ready. Lucky us there was a hairdresser in front of the hotel so the ladies could get their hair done. Afterwards, us foreigners needed some help from our Indian friends to put on our saree, because who knows it looks simple but turned out a bit complicated to do!
Without further ado, here’s me in a saree! 😀
After everyone was ready (there were 10 people in our group), we went to my friend’s house, the groom. We were a bit late when we got there, the baraat has started already. It is a procession where the groom left his house accompanied by his family dancing and singing in celebration for him, I was told as a sign of happiness and good luck.
So we joined the dancing and singing for around 45 minutes before we left to the wedding venue. Traditionally, the groom and his family need to dance all the way to the wedding venue (or the bride’s house)… how cool is that!? But obviously we could not do it in a modern Mumbai, so we took cars instead, hehehe.
When we arrived to the venue, there were a lot of people already. We were told to sit down while the groom was taken to a special room for some preparation. While waiting, there were people bringing light meals and drinks for us, and there was also some musical performance. In short, it was festive, unlike traditional Indonesian wedding ceremony which I know is very quiet and serene. There were even two more dances as the groom “walked the aisle” to the wedding stage. So fun!!
To my understanding, the wedding process involved some rituals, led by a shaman in which after every ritual the bride and groom had to circle a sacred fire.
After certain circle, they were officially married and we gathered to the stage and throw flowers at them in celebration! Yayyy!!
I was truly happy that I got the chance to be a part of my friend’s wedding. It was a truly memorable event and I’m happy to share it with all of you 🙂