As you might have noticed, a new post is far overdue and I’m sorry, but I have the best excuse……..I am getting married this week! My brain is consumed with everything wedding. With thoughts of centerpieces, catering, and RSVP’s, I haven’t managed to focus on travel as much as I have wanted, until today. I keep thinking of all the weddings I have been to and my India experience came rushing back. In the States, there is a whole lot of whoop la about RSVP’s, who does and doesn’t get plus ones, etc. You don’t just invite someone for no reason, especially a random stranger, which is exactly what happened to me, twice, in India.
The first time some classmates and I were walking through our neighborhood in Bangalore when we noticed a beautiful flower cover archway being constructed. After stopping to admire the amazing presentation, we were greeted by the father of the groom. “We are getting ready for a wedding tonight,” he said proudly. “Come! It would be our honor, its starts in a couple hours.” We didn’t exactly know what do or say. Was this invite out of obligation or was it the opposite, and we are obligated to come? When in India right! So we happily accepted and rushed home to put on our best tunics.
Women in beautiful sari’s and children with gold adornments came pouring in to witness the wedding. After the Hindu ceremony and presentation of gifts, the guest went to the lower level for the reception. There were rows of open seating, each with a banana leaf place setting, ready for a traditional South Indian meal. I can admit, were got some very funny looks from some of the guests, good thing we had just been taught how to properly eat with our right hand the week before! After dinner we played with some children, took many photos with intrigued guests, and thanked the family for such an interesting and unique experience.
Two weeks later we were then invited to our professors niece’s Christian Wedding. This time we had a week to plan so we went sari shopping! There must have been thousands of colors, some with beading, others with glitter. We sipped Chai tea as the sari salesman flung out his favorites into a pile for us to try on; it was quite a production.
The following week we went to the wedding, feeling all sassy in our saris. It was really unique to see the Christian influence on a traditional Indian wedding. The bride even wore a veil with a white sari and was held in a beautiful Christian church in Bangalore.
Both these experiences really stuck with me, and now that I am a bride planning a wedding, I can’t help but think about what incredible hosts the Indian people were. Although I would hope to be so kind, I can’t imagine the day of my wedding, seeing Indian tourists outside my venue and inviting them to my wedding. Culturally, it just wouldn’t likely happen. But why I wonder? It makes me question, if we are truly being the best hosts to our international guests. I know I will be forever thankful for the their invitations for an such an intimate experience, and down the road, I hope to embrace opportunities to do the same for others.
Have you ever been to a wedding abroad? Or been invited to someones family event while traveling?