TJ and Steve threw the most elaborate wedding I’ve ever attended. It spanned multiple days and required numerous outfit changes.
I didn’t take as many photos as I usually would have, given how epic and photogenic the entire experience was… but only because there was a slew of hired photographers documenting every event so I figured I’d stay out of the way of the real pros.
But here’s what I did take with a bit of info on each of the traditional Indian wedding events:
The ceremony where the bride and her female friends and family members get henna patterns drawn on their hands and feet.
This was held outside by a pool with a pink and yellow lounge setup with (real!) flowers covering every inch. There was professional dancers (as seen above hoisting Steve up), a custom bangle maker and the first of many delicious buffets.
The Sangeet happens after the Mendhi, the night before the wedding. It’s kind of like a talent show with very high production value where you get introduced to the bride and grooms family and friends via dance performances.
My group of friends and I actually did a choreographed dance which we practiced for many weeks, leading up to the big night. Unfortunately, I not have photographic evidence of this but just know that it looked exactly like this.
THE WEDDING DAY:
The procession where the groom arrives to the ceremony on a decorated white horse. He was flanked by all of us dancing to the beat of a dhol (a traditional drum). See a little video of it here.
The baraat led us to a massive room for the ceremony, with TJ and Steve and their families underneath the mandap (above) which is like the Indian version of a chuppah. I think I audibly gasped when entering the room and seeing this, it really was extraordinarily beautiful. And again, real flowers (!).
At night, there was a giant receiving line, more excellent buffets and a dance party with western pop songs infused with thumping Indian beats.
So many of the Indian guests were suspiciously stunning (there was one group of boys who I swear were like an Indian One Direction or something because they were way too cute to be students) and they also really knew how to party. They regularly broke out into choreographed dances, taught us their moves and outlasted everyone on the dance floor. It was a great night.
The Rao family was extremely generous to invite all of us and truly know how to throw a tremendous party.
I’m secretly hoping another friend will marry TJ’s sister so we can do it all again.