The Wedding Trifecta

Gina writes:

On Tuesday, we went to the wedding of our friend Masi. We've already blogged about weddings three times (here, here, and here), so I wasn't planning to write about this one, but the fact that it was a Christian ceremony might be of interest to our readers. This is why we were interested also, having been to 2 Hindu weddings and a Muslim wedding already. We aren't Christians, but our familiarity with various Christian wedding ceremonies (at least in the U.S.) made me look forward to the opportunity to compare. We could get a better picture of what about Indian weddings is cultural and what is tied to religion.

When we arrived at the church, we found the procession (called a "bharat) not far away. A modern bharat comprises a group of dancing men (and a few daring women) followed by a group of drummers followed by a vehicle with speakers and a keyboard players followed by the groom and a few people in a white car (formerly a white horse). This had been a part of the other weddings too, so was obviously a cultural element, not religious.

Corey was pulled in to dance, to the bemusement of the Indians.

Kevin (another Koraput volunteer) was there as well, dancing like only a white man can.

The bharat slowly made it's way about 1 km to the bride's home, where she was. We sat for about 20 minutes outside her home and then walked to the church nearby.

The inside of the church

On the invitation, the time for the ceremony was listed at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. (Masi explained it was a typo), but the ceremony finally started at about 12:30 p.m. No problem, we expected that and filled the time chatting with Kevin.

All of a sudden, Masi walked down the aisle and, right after him, the bride. No leading music, no standing up to watch the bride walk slowly up the aisle, most people weren't even paying attention! It was too fast for me to even get a picture. She was wearing a fancy white sari, as opposed to a sari with lots of red and gold like in the Hindu/Muslim weddings. And she had a white veil. Masi had changed from his white kurta to a charcoal gray suit. They looked like an Indian couple with a western touch.

The ceremony was in Oriya, so I didn't understand the details. For most of the time, the bride and groom were sitting directly in front of the priest/pastor/minister with their backs to the attendees. When the sermon was complete, they stood and placed various garlands on each other. Then they joined hands in recognition of their union (instead of kissing).

Then they sat at a nearby table while forms will completed and signatures were requested. I guess this was the marriage certificate or something.

After that was the obligatory photo session for the bride and groom with various groups of people. The guests made their way outside for lunch. The number of "guests" magically multiplied at the buffet lines...unless several hundred people were squished into the church!

With our bellies full, we went to a platform where the bride and groom were sitting, accepting presents. It was an interesting tradition that I haven't seen before, to accept gifts from each guest and have a photo taken with them.

There were other events later in the day, but we left. The next day was another reception in the village of Masi's extended family, about 1 hour outside of Koraput. We declined the invitation to that, since that would have meant a second day off work. We enjoyed the parts that we did participate in and were glad to have the chance to see a Christian wedding, to complete our trifecta of Indian wedding experiences.