This is what we came for. The henna, the saris, the dancing, the food, the lavish party that is an Indian wedding. In our second lovely goody bag at our second amazing hotel (this one in Chennai), we were given descriptions of all the events to help us understand what each part of the ceremony meant.
The Mehndi Sangeet took place Thursday night, before the Friday wedding. It was the party part. We did the henna, the dancing, and had had great food. (This time it was Western! Tricky, tricky.)
Like our departure on Saturday morning, we had to consider timing on Thursday evening as we were being chauffeured to the wedding venue at 7:00 the next morning to have our saris tied on. Because, let’s be serious, that’s a lot of fabric (folded, it took up almost 1/4 of my suitcase on the way home!) and I had no concept of where to put it all. I would have looked like a rolled up sausage if it wasn’t for the nice lady who met us there so early.
Once we were fully dressed, we were given breakfast in the traditional South Indian style. On a banana leaf! There were long tables in a big hall and everyone faced the same direction. Men with buckets of food would come and refill whatever you had missing until you told them you were full. I was told that you should always fold your banana leaf towards you if you are happy with your meal. Folding it away means you didn’t like it! Good life tip.
Then there was the wedding. It was long, and I had my explanation pamphlet with me at all times, but it was amazing. We had celebrated the same thing on Wednesday night, with the same people and the same couple, but it was a completely different experience. They sure know how to host such a great event in India. It was so wonderful to be a part of it.
And we got to pour rice on their heads!