Roger here... Words cannot express the love and joy we all felt at the moment that this picture was taken. I am pretty sure you can see it on all our faces. It was a morning we will always cherish.
Saturday Morning... At the conclusion of the last post, the first of the two wedding ceremonies (the Hindu ceremony) was about to begin. I promised a big beginning. It gave me chills.
The Baraat --- the arrival of the groom.
The Baraat portion of the ceremony symbolizes the groom (Atul), his family, and the people from his village arriving and being welcomed at the home of the bride.
In the distance we heard a very loud drum beat --- the kind of drumming that makes you want to dance. The drumming was joined by shouts of joy. Dianne's cousin, Leslie, sneaked away to see what was going on. She returned saying that it seemed like a college pep rally. It was better.
From a near corner, the first of the groom's family and friends appeared and rounded a corner onto the green where the ceremony was to take place. Atul's sister, Rashmi, is the pretty lady waving in blue. The groomsmen and other important friends and family were draped in pink turbans.
The groom's contingent were clapping to the beat of the drum, raising their hands to the sky, and dancing as they turned the corner.
The always happy man in the pink turban dragged me onto the dance floor later that evening at the reception. Then he did the same with Dianne. What a happy group.
Mimi, Atul's sister, is waving on the left side of this photo.
The colorful clothing, the beating of the drum, and truly enthusiastic participants created a "shivers down the back" atmosphere.
and then Atul arrived under an umbrella ...
(Click on the square to make it full screen for better viewing)
... on a magnificent snow-white horse with gilded hooves.
Look at Dianne's face. Have you ever seen such happiness? I am pretty sure that I was tearing up about that time.
After Atul dismounted Dianne followed rituals that the priest led her through.
I placed flowers around Atul's father's neck. He placed flowers around my neck. Dianne placed flowers around Atul's neck and around his sister, Mimi's, neck. Mimi placed flowers around Dianne's neck. Dianne used her fingers to put a red dot on Atul's forehead. Dianne swirled a platter of rice and pigment in the air above Atul's head. (Actually, in front of his head --- He is kind of tall.) We were officially welcoming Atul and his family to our "home".
This might be a good time to point out how honored we are to be joined with the Singh family. We love Atul. We love how he and Robyn are together. We can see how happy they are. We have gotten to know the goodness and calmness of Atul's father. We regret that we were not able to meet Atul's mother before her recent passing. Mimi and Scott (Atul's sister and brother-in-law) already feel like family and good friends, as do their kids, Simran and Inesh. We have the exact same feelings for Atul's other sister, Rashmi, and her fiancé, Finn. Dianne and I have a new family.
Dianne then led Atul down the aisle to the Mandap. She sprinkled water at the guests on four sides, symbolically protecting the groom from being stolen. There was a lot of light-heartedness throughout the entire ceremony.
The Mandap Rituals...
We took off our shoes before stepping onto the elevated Mandap.
It is a Hindu tradition for the bride's friends and/or family to steal the groom's shoes and hold them for ransom. In Atul's situation, two of the bridesmaids for the American ceremony, Linda and Abby, absconded with his shoes.
|Oh those comedians!|
Initially, there were five of us on the Mandap; Dianne, the priest, Atul, Dr. Singh (Atul's father), a photo of Atul's late mother and me. We were soon joined by others. The focus of the entire ceremony was the joining of the Singh and Norris families.
Soon after we were seated on the Mandap, the bridesmaids, nieces, and sister of the groom arrived from the side...
|Amanda, Kaia, Simran, Linda, Mimi, Abby|
Robyn was given a blessing before she stepped onto the Mandap.
There was gentle beauty, symbolism, and humor throughout the ceremony. The priest kindly, patiently and carefully explained what we should all be doing. He also explained the rituals to the guests. Atul's sister, Rashmi, narrated the ceremony utilizing a microphone, explaining the Hindi portions in English.
I wish I could remember the meaning of all aspects of the entire ritual. Suffice it to say that the sentiments of each act as I experienced them fit with my personal philosophies of life. We symbolically sipped water from our hands, watched the sprinkling of water from the Ganges River, repeated phrases led by the priest, as well as other things.
Other members of the family were also called to the Mandap to join the ceremony. My nephew, Matt, is standing next to Atul.
We are so glad that Matt came to the wedding. This particular portion of the ritual required the assistance of the bride's male cousin.
Robyn's sister, Amanda, and Atul's sister, Mimi, tied the bride and groom's scarves together symbolizing their union and the union of our families.
|Robyn and Amanda --- our beautiful daughters|
The pictures showing our beautiful daughter, Robyn, and our handsome son, Atul, are the most important to us --- especially the ones that depict their love and happiness.
|I love their grins. They are perfect for each other.|
To the beautiful bride and her wonderful husband.
Special thanks go to our friends and family who took many of the pictures in this post: Nancy, Amanda, Leslie, Pam, Kaia, Robyn's friends on Instagram, and probably others.
Other moments from the wedding can be found on Instagram at #RobynAndAtul.
We are not done yet. The next post covers the American ceremony and the reception.