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Hindu wedding princess diaries

By LILIAN GAITHO | August 3rd 2013


In part one of Princess Diaries Bollywood style, former Miss India–Kenya and editor for Samantha’s Wedding Magazine Rakhi Shah, got engaged to Satwinder Bedi (Sati) in the wild.

The engagement known as the Rukai was a little different from many Indian marriage ceremonies.

Normally, the bride’s family waits for the groom’s. But this time round, the groom’s family patiently waited for the bride’s family in a secret getaway. The secret location turned out to be the Serene Flamingo Camp in Nakuru where Sati’s family had a scenic black and white decorated cake to match! The occasion looked more like an actual wedding than an engagement party; what with the precious ring on the bride’s finger, a priest to lead prayers, both families and friends present, and a real reception party afterwards that went on for a whole night.

The engagement was, however, just a tip of the frolic festivity that would follow. In addition to the sometimes mind boggling traditional and cultural rituals known to mark the Indian marriages, Rakhi will wed in three different occasions; a Fruitopia themed civil registry, a Sikh ceremony and Hindu-Gujarati celebration.

Lavish ceremony

Immediately after the engagement, the bride-to-be and her sister, Rupal Shah kicked off the planning with a visit to the Samantha’s Bridal Expo exactly five months to the wedding date.

In Princess Diaries Bollywood Style Part 2, the two sisters are keen on cutting deals while preserving the highest standards in quality and elegance. For instance, the draping must come in heavy silk, brocade and rich embroidered fabric, and the parasols must be set in a variety of colour. Unlike many Indian families who prefer to have their invites imported from India, Rakhi meets her cards supplier at the Samantha’s wedding Expo. Each card must bear a mark of Lord Garnesh so to invoke blessings on the auspicious occasion. Apart from the externally sourced invites, the bride-to-be, who runs a cards and gift company, gave it her personal touch  with some specially made invites wrapped into cute candy boxes for friends and family.

The decorator gets a crash course on the different events that will mark the month-long celebration, as each occasion will have a unique theme. For instance; the family dinners will be decorated with orchids, the Mehndi party will have an ostrich theme, the civil registry will be a garden fruit party, and hence, she must be prepared to handle each occasion as an independent event. To appreciate her guests, Rakhi creates gift boxes as centerpieces that are later used as gift favours. Rupal’s meticulous character comes out during a food tasting session. Unknown to the chef de maitre, Rupal  is a trained chef! The staff must put more effort if only to tickle her keen taste buds.

As the dates draw closer, Rakhi recruits Mercy Kathuri, an alumni of the Samantha’s Wedding Business Academy, who takes over the planning.

Her main role will be to see to the seamless roll out of the three weddings and the festivity in between.

Interesting cultural aspects

For Hindu Gujaratis, the wedding day cannot fall on just any day; there are specific dates, seasons and timings that are said to bestow luck and fortune to the wedlock. The dates referred to as the ‘auspicious wedding dates, are so important that the couple and family must consult with the priest who determines where their luck lies! For those good days, the priest may refer to the Panchang, Janma kundali of bride and groom. This ancient Indian practice refers to the use of astrology and birth charts in predicting an individual’s present and future.

The priest determines an individual’s birth chart at the moment of their birth. Thus, all-important dates are determined way ahead of time.

Another commonly agreed fact is that the groom’s birthday is the luckiest for both his spouse and himself!

Keep it Samantha’s Bridal Show as we explore the beauty of the Indian Marriage culture in the Princess Diaries-Bollywood Style Series.


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