Tuesday, July 31, 2012

the wedding ceremony

the wedding of Shagun and Gaurav
Evidently, it's going to take me months just to share all the photos from one wedding I attended in April. (I would be a really terrible wedding photographer!)

When I last wrote about Shagun and Gaurav's wedding, I shared photos of the Baraat - the groom's procession on horseback down East 42nd Street in Manhattan. The groom arrived at the Grand Hyatt New York to much celebrating in the streets and the wedding procession then moved into the lobby of the hotel (minus the horse), up the escalators, and into the reception space with everyone dancing to the beat of the drum along the way...

The men in the bridal party then celebrated the merging of the families by lifting each other off the ground. (By the way, I am no expert on Indian weddings, so my apologies if I explain some of these traditions incorrectly - feel free to correct me in the comments!) Then everyone proceeded into the ballroom space and took their seats for the marriage ceremony, which started with reception of the groom and the priest blessing the groom in Sanskrit as the wedding guests eagerly anticipated the arrival of the bride. (Confession: I wouldn't have even known that the priest was speaking Sanskrit had it not been for my language-nerd date!) I couldn't understand the language, so I wasn't always sure of the significance of each ritual, but it was a beautiful ceremony full of tradition and participation of the bride and groom's families.

Finally, the bride and father-of-the-bride appeared!
the wedding of Shagun and Gaurav
The wedding ceremony began with a prayer to Lord Ganesha and the exchange of fresh flower garlands which signified the acceptance of each other as husband and wife.
the wedding of Shagun and Gaurav
I had an obstructed view, but it resulted in some fun shots like this:
the wedding of Shagun and Gaurav
During the Gaanth Bandhan, the loose ends of the bride and groom's garments were tied together, symbolizing a firm and lasting commitment.
the wedding of Shagun and Gaurav
During the Saptapadi, the couple takes seven steps around the fire, symbolic of the seven steps of life. With each step, the couple takes a vow:
Together we shall cherish each other in sickness and in health, in happiness and in sorrow.
Together we shall be life-long friends.
Together we shall share each other's ideals.
Together we shall nourish each other's strengths and fortune.
Together we shall make each other happy.
Together we shall provide and care for our children.
Together we will look forward to the future with spiritual unity.
Isn't that beautiful? I think those are perfect marriage vows.
the wedding of Shagun and Gaurav
the wedding of Shagun and Gaurav
the wedding of Shagun and Gaurav
Congratulations, Shagun and Gaurav!

Next up: The reception!

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