Wedding Fever

Posted on March 4, 2014

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The last four days have been spent over indulging and partying in the most extravagant way in Delhi for Noodle’s wedding. I am a broken woman. I have averaged five hours sleep for the last four days, spent most of those hours shaking my butt on various dance floors wearing heels and elaborate Indian clothes. I’ve lost my voice from too much jabbering and singing in equal measure and it’s been replaced with something at least two octaves lower.

I have been to a lot of Indian weddings in my time, but nothing like the spectacle I was so privileged to experienced. Surprisingly (and few things surprise me) I have grown very fond of the people I met for the first time and have formed some wonderful friendships I really do believe will blossom into something beautiful if nurtured.

I must confess that after spending a week travelling on my own I was apprehensive as to what to expect. This was after all an Ozzie-Punjabi wedding, big personalities and some…! But after the first hour at the welcome drinks that feeling soon evaporated.

The bride and groom did an amazing job of making everyone feel welcome and were incredible hosts with extraordinary stamina. We have done so much it will be impossible to give you a detailed account of the four days without groaning on. So here’s the highlights with some absolutely fantastically colourful photos.

Indian weddings are interactive. The level of enjoyment relies on what sort of crowd you invite – if you don’t have wedding guests that are willing to participate in the games, dancing and traditional ceremonies you are quite literally stuffed. The Australian contingent were outstanding in this department and superseded my expectations.

RECEPTION DRINKS – THURSDAY
Thursday night started with a drinks reception on the roof top of the hotel with Indian snacks and lots of karaoke singing. Ninety per cent of the wedding party had flown in from outside of India let alone Delhi – Singapore, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, London, Sydney and America to name but a few places. Testament to how well loved the happy couple are.

WESTERN WEDDING – FRIDAY
After brushing away the jet-lag cobwebs and hangovers we piled down for breakfast. I have never seen non Indian people eat Indian food at breakfast. I’m not talking small portions either. The lads tucked into whatever the chef brought out – dosa, Idlie, Uttapam, paratha, puri and pickles. They went up yet another notch in my estimation. We rolled out of the dining room rubbing our stomachs and geared up for the Western Wedding on Friday afternoon. However Mother Nature was not in a favourable mood. The rain came down thick and fast. Thankfully the venue had changed to indoors. But when we arrived the venue was still being set up at 3.30pm much to the horror of some of the non Indian wedding party. As one of the best men commented, a fair few chairs were only just being built and the outdoor paving had only just hit the floor by the motley bunch of construction workers. But Noodle (groom) still managed to smile about it.

This is India, nothing runs to time. Take it with a pinch of salt and embrace it. It always comes good in the end. Noodle arrived by elephant, accompanied by drummers which had all the Ozzies cheering and whooping with delight. Noodle pumping his hand in the air to the beat and dismounting with a Sharuk Khan Bollywood-style jump.

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There was a small crisis after the airline lost the suitcase with the bridesmaids’ outfits. They arrived on the day so we had to wait for more than 2 hours for Ms India (bride) and her ladies to turn up. Just as well, because all the chairs had just about been put together by then!! At least the girls got their clothes.

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One lad was still without his luggage yesterday when I left Delhi. He had absolutely nothing to wear for the entire four days. So for this ceremony Cinderella had to make do with hand-me downs. He borrowed a shirt from someone, a pair of pants from someone else and a pair of shoes from another friend. I won’t go into the details of his underwear situation, even though I did ask him.

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The ceremony was filled with laughter especially after the ring was placed on the wrong finger. Speeches involved a power point presentation by the groom and some deafening singing.

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It was followed by a banquet of sumptuous food and a rocking DJ. The Ozzies especially the lads tore up the dancefloor all night. I have never seen 20 odd men dance with such vigour and rhythm all night while necking it by the bucket load. Hats off lads!! I literally had to fight for space to move. We were ferried back by coach at about 2am herding the wounded while other hardy souls continued until 7am in someone’s room. I used to be able to do that once I crawled back to my room…!

MENDHI AND SANGEET – SATURDAY
Saturday afternoon kicked off at midday with the Mendhi (hena hand painting for the women) and the Sangeet – Indian dancing for everyone. The latest eastern pop songs – Bangra based – were belted out and choreographers were hired to get us to join. It was like being in a glamorous aerobics class.

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This all took place simultaneous under a beautiful gazebo decorated with fresh flowers in a gorgeous hotel garden. In the backdrop some of the lads played cricket on the manicured lawns.

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As the sun dipped we all changed out of our formal gear and threw on jumpers and headed to ‘a farm’ – one of the bride’s friend’s house. As the coach took us onto the highway, we stopped at traffic lights. Balloon sellers called out to the open windows. In a matter of seconds the coach was filled with dolphin shaped shiny parcels bouncing around on people’s heads. Money rained down from the window onto the street as the boys must have grabbed around 10 or so balloons. What we didn’t expect was for the coach to then be tailed by a hoard of street urchins running as fast as their little legs could carry them through moving traffic. We watched in horror as these poor kids dodged on-coming traffic in order to keep pace with the coach. It was a surreal and gut-wrenching experience as we all prayed they would not get hit. That sort of stuff really hits home how desperate the poor really are.

The farm was a stunning gated property in a suburb of Delhi. I don’t even think we were in the main part of the estate it was that enormous. There was a pool which was the size of a small lake. The garden was incredible – beautiful manicured lawns – we lit a bonfire and we partied on with our dj from the afternoon fuelled by yet more booze and take out food.

INDIAN WEDDING- SUNDAY
I have no idea how I managed to crawl out of bed on Sunday or find my brain which I am sure was removed while I slept comatosed for the few brief hours.

Nursing a 3-day hangovera I loaded up on Masala chai and went out to stretch my legs. There are no zebra crossings in Delhi. Well actually that’s a lie, there are zebra crossings but no one pays attention to them. If you thought Italy was bad you aint seen nothing yet. There are also no traffic lanes either. When you cross the road you risk your life everytime – it’s like playing chicken. If you’re rubbish at jaywalking don’t start to learn in India. I felt like on of those street urchins from the night before. After some impulse shopping I arrived at the wedding drapped in a brand new designer sari.

The wedding had to be pushed back to 5pm as the finishing touches were still being done. Orange flowers which cannot be found in Delhi were flown in from south India and only just arrived in the morning. The garlands of flowers had to be weaved together sharpish for the wedding ceremony which was breathtaking. The Ozzies once again embraced the spirit of tradition. Not only did every single one manage to go out and buy an Indian outfit, they were brillant at dancing for 40minutes while the groom arrives down the drive on a White House accompanied by a band and traditional dhol (drum) players.

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The generator behind the group was so loud but necessary to light up the heavy lamps lighting the way. It looked like a health and safety disaster with wires everywhere.

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The ceremony was kept to a minimum as these things can go on. But the main thing was that everyone loved every minute of it and lapped up the festivities. It’ll be hard to go to another and top a wedding like this…..

Here are a few highlights from the event.

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Posted in: India