What a mix: India meets Scotland! We were very happy to finally capture our first traditional Indian wedding. We had already Indian couples in the past, but they did their Christian ceremony and celebrations here in Australia and did a second traditional ceremony in India. So we were happy to hear that Ash (born in India) & Dan (Scottish ancestry) were going to do both ceremonies, Indian and Western Vows, combined during one wedding day. First they would held the traditional part of a Sikh wedding ceremony, followed by exchanging the Western Vows and rings.
The wedding was organised at a private property at Mount Macedon, around 45min drive north of Melbourne and we were really lucky that it was at an elevated location, as the thermometer hit over 42 degrees celsius in Melbourne, accompanied by very strong winds (excellent conditions for bush fires). The worn were we were reached only 37 degrees and was surrounded by big trees, so the wind wasn’t as bad as expected and we had plenty of shadow. The couple did rent a separate venue across the road for the preparation and stay over for the night. At the Cameron Lodge Cottage we had a 10 acre private garden, which we used for our portrait session, which we did before the actual wedding ceremony, as the couple wanted to spend as much time as possible afterwards with their families and guests.
Around lunchtime we had a short and welcomed break, before Marco drove with the bride to the other house, where she would hide and wait, watching her guests to arrive. The groom in the meanwhile enjoyed a few drinks with his part of the guests at the Cottage Temple, accompanied with Scottish bagpipe music. The wedding itself started with a Milni (meeting) and Swagatam (welcome) ceremony. Around 45min prior to the commencement of the wedding ceremony, the groom and his guests started the procession (Baraat) from the Cottage to the bride’s house, where the meeting & welcome would take place. To honour Dan’s Scottish origin, the bagpipe player led the procession to the entrance of the driveway across the road, where they met with the Indian drum player. The last part of the procession, Dan was going to ride on a white horse, accompanied by a younger male family member (who would assure the safety of the groom during the procession). After the arrival at the bride’s house, we had a formal introduction of senior men in the families (Milni).
Under the big trees of the property was a wedding altar (mandapa) built. Here we had a 45min traditional Sikh ceremony, which included Varmala (place a heavily made garland made of flowers- (Vermal) on each other to state, they accept each other and will love and live together with one and other, Panigrahana (a ritual in presence of fire, where the groom takes the bride’s hand as a sign of their union – even though we had a total fire ban in Victoria, we had a little so called “not-open fire”, but the flames were pretty high at certain times), Saptapadi (is the most important ritual, it’s called the seven step ritual, where each step corresponds to a vow groom makes to bride, and a vow the bride makes to groom), Laaja Homam (the bride throws parched rice into the fire and the groom adds a drop of ghee) & Praavisya Homam (during this ceremony the couple surrounded the fire, the first four rounds the bride was leading and afterwards 3 laps the groom, accompanied by prayers and blessing of the parents. Afterwards the bride changes side of the seats to demonstrate that she is married).
Once the Indian traditions were concluded, the couple exchanged their self written vows and rings. Very shy, they asked the guru for the permission to kiss. The guru was doing a great job during the ceremony with explaining and translating and said, he wouldn’t be able to give permission, as they are responsible for this.
Due to the heat we experienced a total electricity outage in the mountain area, which did put Dan a bit under stress, as he was organising the back up generators to run and provide enough power. With a little delay we started the reception, held in a marquee, with cutting of the cake and speeches, followed by a buffet of traditional Indian food and lots of dancing. We had an absolute awesome time during our first Indian wedding and had a lot to take in, from the different traditions to many different colours and great food. We are already looking forward to our next Indian traditional celebration in April, where we are going to have two different Indian ceremonies during the same day.