Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Laura & Chris' Wedding at JCRaulston Arboretum

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fabulous Interfaith Wedding Ceremony for Reshma and Darren at Maggiano's!

Reshma, Darren and I met last September to plan their wedding for October of 2011 at Maggiano's Little Italy in Southpoint Mall. Due to some health challenges in the family they decided to move their wedding up six months earlier than planned so we set a new wedding date for Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. Fortunately Maggiano's was able to accommodate the change of date. So we got to work on their ceremony which was a lovely blending of Christian and Hindu wedding customs along with a sweet tribute to their parents and Reshma's daughter, Selena. We rehearsed on Saturday morning to make sure everyone understood their part. At the rehearsal I had the pleasure of meeting Reshma's parents, Babu and Meena. Babu, her father, and I chatted quite a bit. He earned his graduate degree from UNC in the 1970s and they now live outside Augusta, GA. He requested that I include in the prayer the significance of Easter Sunday to balance with the Hindu invocation of prayer to the Lord Ganesh, the God of Wisdom, which opens every auspicious Hindu occasion. 
When Marty and I arrived for the wedding, the reception area was all set for the celebration after the ceremony. Maggiano's has a nice large private room where I have also done several wedding ceremonies as it can be partitioned into two separate rooms. For Reshma and Darren's ceremony, however, we were using the round room with lots of windows to the left of the revolving door entrance.

Reshma was out of sight of the guests getting ready. Here she had not put on her veil. What a beautiful wedding gown!Thanks to Carolyn Scott, our photographer, for sending me these shots and more!
The color for the wedding was a true red and this lovely cake certainly fits right into the color scheme. I believe that the chef of Maggiano's is responsible for this beautiful cake. Reshma, correct me if I am wrong.
Maggiano's was open for business on Easter Sunday and so the wedding guests were mingled with the restaurant guests waiting in the lounge area to be seated and it was hard for me to tell who was a wedding guest and who was a customer waiting to be seated in the dining room! But, we got all the guests seated and started the processional. The first person escorted in was Darren's mother, Kay, escorted in by Darren's brother.
 Above is Reshma's beautiful mother, Meena, escorted in by her son, Sheel.
Reshma asked that I wear red as well and I was most happy to don the red dress I wear for weddings because I don't get to wear it that often, mainly at Christmas! Darren and I prepare to make our entrance followed by his best man, Ben.
This pretty little girl is Selena, the 10 year old daughter of the bride. She was so excited for this wedding and her enthusiasm showed as she walked in sprinkling petals.
Then Teresa, the Matron of Honor, entered. She was supposed to come in before Selena but somehow Selena got ahead of her. It was fine, no big deal!
Here comes the bride escorted in by her father, Babu, and her brother, Sheel. She sure got the attention of the customers waiting in the lounge area! I found out on Facebook that behind the scenes, Denise Hutter of Images by Denise had been doing hair and makeup for Reshma, Selena, Teresa and Meena.
You can see a little of what this room looks like from here. All the guests were standing for the entrance of our beautiful bride. When I arrived, there was a red velvet runner down the aisle but we had to remove it because the doors would not clear it and it would have been a tripping hazard during the ceremony as the bride and groom circled  the fire in the Hindu custom. When I told Reshma after the ceremony, she had not even noticed the absence of the aisle runner!
Our photographer, Carolyn Scott, kneels in the aisle to get some great shots of the bride and groom and wedding party as we begin this wonderful ceremony. She sent me some great photos that I have added to this post. Thanks, Carolyn! This is the first ceremony that we have worked together.
Reshma and Darren were so ready to get married! Their love for each other was evident as they gazed at each other. Reshma had been married before then widowed. I know Darren is so happy that he held out on matrimony until Reshma came into his life.
After the welcome, we had a Christian prayer which included the significance of Easter (everlasting life) and then Reshma's father was to give two Hindu prayers. He told me at the rehearsal that he and Selena were going to surprise Reshma at that point by Selena giving one of the prayers. And she did a great job. Babu, on the other hand, got a bit choked up at that point and Sheel stood up to help him but he recovered and came through. It was such a touching moment!
After remembering loved ones who have passed on, including Darren's father and brother, we had a tribute to Reshma's parents, Darren's mother, and to Selena. 
Then it was time to pour the sand in the Family Unity Sand Ceremony.The couple's story of how they met and fell in love came next. Everyone enjoyed hearing the sweet moments and the humorous moments of their courtship--including their rival football teams, the Steelers for Reshma and the Cowboys for Darren!
In the Christian tradition, we had the lighting of the Unity Candle. These flames then served as the sacred fire of Phere. The Hindu wedding custom of Mangal Phera is for the couple to  walk around the fire four times. At each round, Sheel offered the couple ceremonial rice and rose petals as a gift which they accepted then made the next round.
The first three rounds the bride leads the groom signifying that the bride would be free to take the lead in matters of everyday life.
Darren had to be careful not to step on the bride's train that trailed after her on the three rounds! 
The groom leads the bride for the fourth round signifying that it would be the groom who would lead her through life. Each round had a significance: Dharma, Artha, Karma, and Moksha for which I read the meaning as they made their rounds.
The next tradition was called Saptapati. As the bride and groom walk around the fire taking seven steps, they make certain promises to each other at each step which they repeated after me.
Here Darren is placing the Mangalsutra, a ceremonial wedding necklace, around Reshma's neck. This Hindu custom is the counterpart to the Western tradition of wedding rings.
Now they exchanged rings and repeated their vows to each other after me, line by line.
Finally we come to the closing blessing and the proclamation of marriage!
The KISS!  (Darren remembered that at the rehearsal I told him to be sure and put his hands under the veil rather than on top or he would dislodge it or yank her head backwards!)
Look at that big smile Darren is wearing! I know Reshma was so thrilled. And Selena was ecstatic to have a new daddy! She and Darren have bonded like two peas in a pod!
After Marty and I retrieved my microphone and receiver from our DJ Tim Hazell of TJDJ Music, and my little table which held the rice, petals and necklace, we went outside for photos. I snagged Teresa and got her signature for the marriage license. I had already gotten Ben's signature just before we started the ceremony.
 Reshma had already stepped out of her pretty red high heels and Teresa was pinning up the train.
There was a refreshing breeze as you can see and we were all so thrilled that the ceremony had gone so perfectly. Darren and Reshma, I know you know how fortunate you are to have found one another and I know you are going to have a wonderful marriage and provide a wonderful model of a healthy relationship and nurturing home for Selena! Congratulations!

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