--and we chilled at a great big mansion:
We were there for the wedding of Ashwin, Matt's high school best friend, to his lady Reva. Because I am a big nerd, I was so way super-stoked about the wedding, which was to be a traditional Gandharva vivaah ceremony (done according to the Dnyanaprabodhini prodecure, with some of the bride's Nepali traditions added in, as well), and because I am a really, really, REALLY big nerd, I am going to tell you all about it:
So first is the simaantapujan, which used to be the welcoming of the groom's party to the bride's hometown for the wedding, but for our purposes now it's this awesome groom's party parade, with drumming and dancing. That leads to the madhuparka, in which the bride and groom have a little honey and yogurt snack to calm them down.
Then comes the vivaah sankalpa, in which the bride and groom and their families pray for a happy marriage, and then they worship the statue of Lord Ganesh that's there, and then a prayer to the family deity, and then the bride and groom pray for a happy day--that's the Punyahavaachan.
Then Reva's brothers gave her away, which is the Kanyaadaan.
Then comes the Swayamwar. The bride and groom garland each other, then stand with a curtain in between them and their families behind them while some poetry is recited, and at the end of each verse in the poem, the guests throw rose petals at them.
Then the bride and groom take their oaths, which is the Niyama-bandha.
Then Reva got a necklace that shows she's married, and Ashwin put some vermillion on her forehead, and the couple put on Mangalsutra, necklaces to protect them from the ugly thoughts of other people.
Then Ashwin and Reva put some popped rice in a little fire, which is the Laajaahoma, and Reva stood with her right foot on a rock for a minute. And then Reva's brother symbolically twisted Ashwin's ear to remind him to be nice to his sister, and Ashwin gave him a present so he wouldn't get his ear twisted again.
The most beautiful part of the ceremony is the Saptapadi, in which the bride and groom take seven steps and make seven resolutions together, and then we get to clap for them.
Then is the Dhruvadarshan, in which the priest has the couple look north, to the pole star, and then is the Uttarang Homa, in which the couple prays for leniency in case they messed something up in the ceremony.
Then we get to go up and offer congratulations, which is the Aashirwaad, and that concludes the formal portion of the day.
And yes, including the parade, I'd say the whole thing took a good two hours, but it was outside, and if you were near the back of the tent you were quite free to carry on your own conversations or pop out to the refreshments table or let your kids run around on the grass for a while. Sydney played quietly with her toys for the entire ceremony, but Will had to go with mom and chill out climbing trees out of earshot for a while, after driving herself hysterical in shame and grief due to mistakenly leaning against a pillar and knocking it and a big basket of flowers over. Nobody cared but her, but she does tend to be her own harshest critic.
After the ceremony we wandered the estate for a while and had ourselves some cocktails and samosas and vegetable kabobs (this was possibly my favorite wedding ever), and then re-stuffed ourselves with even more delicious Indian food at the reception:
I'll tell you, I like anyplace that has a buffet, and if you have a buffet of delicious, authentic Indian food? Well, you've just won my heart.
Will crashed out before dinner, even-- but Syd held out----for a while:
With our two little girls fast asleep on the sidelines, and ourselves full of Indian food and booze (well, I was full of booze at least--I was owed it, after the ridiculous wedding that took place last time we were in Cali), we then got to dance for an hour or so. Another awesome thing about this wedding? Contemporary Indian pop music. Waaaaay better than YMCA. Except for the parts where the DJ would turn the music down so that everybody else but us could scream the popular lyrics, it was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
And then both girls simultaneously wet their party dresses in their sleep, and Matt's suit jacket that Willow was sleeping on, and we got to carry them, urine-soaked and whimpering yet still asleep and thus dead weight, the quarter-mile down the path to the entrance of the park and then further on to the car. So yeah, my back kills today, but it was so worth it.
Tomorrow, we talk beaches.