That wedding we went to last weekend in Long Island? It was my friend Ananya and her now-husband Ankur. I met the beautiful bride when we studied abroad together in Florence a few years ago, we were roommates during our time in Italy and we traveled together to Vienna. She is a great friend and I was so excited to help her celebrate her big day. Not only was I excited to see her but I knew that I was in for a treat: Ananya and Anukur are Indian so they were having a traditional Hindu ceremony, followed by a giant reception with delicious food.

There are many special parties and ceremonies prior to the ceremony but unfortunately we couldn’t make it. They included a party where I could have gotten henna which I was bummed to miss, I also heard it was a great party, but day of the wedding was amazing.

Part of the Hindu Wedding Ceremony. The bride and groom walk in a circle 7 times promising various things

In the afternoon, before the marriage ceremony, the groom had a ceremony in which all of his relatives helped him put on all of his vestments. I did not attend this part as I was hanging out with the bride and her family/party as they prepared for the ceremony, but James went. Afterwards the groom rides a horse to the ceremony site while his family and friends dance around the horse. I did tag along for this, it was pretty awesome despite the below-freezing temperatures. Look at these amazing photos:

Ankur on the horse surrounded by family and friends. The man in the foreground in orange was a drummer/singer and was awesome!
The groom on the horse with his cousin (I think)

Some other traditions: members of the bride’s family are supposed to take the groom’s shoes before the ceremony and hide them. At the end he is supposed to negotiate for them back.

The ceremony is definitely on the long side but was very pretty (see photo from above). The bride wore red and a blue skirt. White is reserved for funerals mainly, which is why brides do not wear white like most other cultures. The ceremony was definitely about the families as the parents and brothers of the couple were a major part of the ceremony. The couple made promises to each other about their lives together, financially, spiritually and familial.

After the ceremony we had a few hours to relax before the cocktail hour/reception. When we arrived the guests were arriving en masse. The reception had 650-700 people in attendance. The food at the cocktail hour was really amazing. Not only was there a lot of different Indian food (samosas, various meats curried/grilled, fish with tasty sauces), as well as pastas, spring rolls, jalapeño poppers…basically everything you could ever think of.

For the reception there were huge buffets set up with all sorts of delicious Indian food. There was also a spot set up to take photos to commemorate the wedding, kinda photobooth like. Their guestbook was adorable! I didn’t take photos but it was postcards from all over the world. I loved it! And as Ananya is a big traveler it was perfect.

The reception itself was decorate in a winter wonderland. The bride and groom sat on a beautiful lounge on a stage as their family toasted their marriage and before their first dance and cake cutting. Ananya changed into a stunning pink beaded outfit, the skirt weighed 30 pounds! I’m not sure how she was able to move around in it but she was walking and dancing so gracefully!

I really didn’t take too many photos at the reception. It was a major dance party before we left it pretty early, we had to leave early to get to Newark/our flight home the next morning. But it was one of the coolest weddings I’ve ever been to! I was impressed at how calm the bride and groom were all day, they were so happy and I am so happy for them! Thanks for sharing your day with us Ananya and Ankur–we couldn’t be happier for you and loved being a part of your day.