We checked back in to the Sangra La hotel and quickly got ready to go out for the bachelorette party! The party was hosted in The Vault. They had hooka, great drinks food and music!
Ring Ceremony & Sangeet
This took place on the roof top of The Pllazio Hotel – Gurgaon
The engagement ceremony is an important pre-wedding ritual in Indian cultures where the would-be-bride and the bridegroom-to-be come face to face and are formally betrothed to each other by their families. The Hindu tradition of ‘Vagdanam’ dates back to Vedic ages, and it involves the groom’s family giving their words to the bride’s family that they will accept their daughter and will be responsible for her future wellbeing. It is sort of an exchange of pledges between the families and a chance of getting to know each other’s customs or rituals.
I’d say getting ready for these ceremonies was one of the most interesting out of our comfort zone type of things we did.
Our sweet friend, Ela took us to a salon and they did everything! They did our hair, make up and dressed us in our saris.
As you might guess it, there is not alcohol at these ceremonies. We quickly learned that the thing to do is pack your truck with a full bar and take trips out to the parking lot for a mixed drink. It really felt like high school prom all over again!
We woke the next day and set out to explore more of Delhi.
Humayun’s tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Our driver, Cooldeep, then took us to his sikh temple.
We then did some shopping which is a must do! This market is in the middle of Delhi and probably one of the best open air markets! It was filled with booths of good from local artists. Usually when you’re in these types of markets it’s filled with cheap trinkets that no one actually wants.
The picture on the left shows paper mache boxes. These are all hand made and painted. They are so intricate and vibrant. Apparently these are made by a group of people in northern India who come to Delhi to sell their goods only during certain times of the year. So these items are not available all the time.
I was obsessed with getting a rug for my new home and picked this small one on the bottom left out. I negotiated with the guy (they say to offer 1/3 the price and meet in the middle) to no avail. I’m usually pretty good in my negotiations and bluffing to get the price I want. However this guy wasn’t budging! So I took a picture of it and walked away to show my Indian friend. He then went back to the booth and bought the rug for me for $12!!! What a win! I guess my southern charm wasn’t working with that guy!
Typically the bride spends hours on the first day of her wedding getting henna done on her full arms and legs. It is so detailed that she has to be very still. I can’t image sitting in this position for that long of time!
Tradition has it that if you are engaged to be married that when you get henna you are supposed to have the henna artist write the letters of your future husbands name in the design. It then becomes a game for the future groom to find all the letters of his name, and if he can, it’s good luck! So Sarah has ‘N-I-C-K’ spelled out in her design.
This was such a fun experience. We’d never had real henna before. It was so fun sitting in the room with the bride as all of her cousins (bridesmaids of sorts) came in and out to get their henna and visit since she couldn’t move. A lot of people were coming in from out of town so they were stopping by to see her. It was certainly the social spot to be (if we could only understand what they were saying….)
The Allure Hotel
Generally the bride and groom attend the event together and on the occasion a professional mehndi artist or a relative applies mehndi to the bride’s hands and feet. The designs are very intricate. Often hidden within the mehndi pattern the name or initials of the groom are applied.
As a wedding present we decided to share with Richa the Western tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in your shoe. I wrote out a small blurb about what each ones and even bought a six pense for her. Her family found it so interesting that the filmed her unwrapping each gift! I hope she liked it.
I love sharing cultures when I can. Usually I’m a sponge when I travel and I love to adopt what the locals are doing. But in this case I find it so interesting that so many cultures have such interesting traditions that go along with marriage, and I wanted to share with her ours. I’m so glad she found it as interesting (weird as it is) as I do!
We went back to our salon (can I even call it that!) on this day to have our hair, “make up” and saris wrapped again. I’m so glad Ela took us here, I’d have no idea where to start to wrap myself with this fabric.
The ladies at the salon were pushing for me to have a mid-drift wrap this time, but I vetoed that pretty quickly!
Cooldeep stayed with us until the end. He drove us to the wedding that night. As we were in the car on the way to the wedding it dawned on us that we were going to be served traditional Indian food at the wedding and then have to get on a plane right after the wedding. We all got pretty nervous of getting Delhi Belly on our way out of the country and in to a 18 hour flight. So we opted for what we know…..or what we’ve had….I don’t really go to Pizza Hut at home.
But this Pizza Hut was in a strip mall of sorts on the side of the road. We looked majorly overdressed for this area of town!
Luckily for us the wedding was 15 minutes from the airport so we weren’t stressed with having to battle Delhi traffic. We walked in through the pink walls and marigolds to this sea of stunning tables and lighted trees.
There were staged sitting areas to lounge while waiting. Being the type A, on time, kind of people we are….we quickly learned that the start time for an Indian wedding, really is on India time. So we grabbed a seat, flagged down a waiter and had some snacks while we waited on the grooms parade to get closer.
We could hear music and drums getting closer and Manan came to grab us to let us know the groom and his family were now a block away. We went outside to watch the arrival of the groom. Apparently the groom sits atop a horse and the family dances and sings all around him for blocks as they make their way to the wedding venue. Once they got to the ‘gates’ of the venue the groom stops and both families join in the dancing (this takes a very long time). It was so fun seeing Manan in his element and dancing in celebration!
All of the cousins/bridesmaids stand at the entrance to the venue with a ribbon blocking the grooms way. They shout their list of demands and “wants” to the groom in exchange for the brides hand in marriage. Often times the groom will give money to pay his way in and then the ladies will let him pass through.
We later learned that the drummers and horse guide are part of a hired service for weddings and once the groom was ready to get down off his horse, they asked him for money or else they weren’t going to let him down.
Manan paid the fee and he was able to be welcomed in to the venue.
Richa was so stunning in her wedding dress. She entered with her whole family surrounded by family members holding a canopy over her head. This was quiet an usual entrance as she was flocked by the photographers for the wedding. You couldn’t even get close to her or see her well as they were documenting every step she took.
1:30am Head to the Airport.