Thursday, July 30, 2009

cool indian wedding

The Proposal

Jay proposed on a trip to Hawaii on my birthday. It happened while we went on a midnight hike up Hawaii's active volcano Kiluea to see the nighttime lava flow. It was beautiful and completely dark and deserted. After hiking as far as we thought we could go, we stopped to sit on a large mound of hardened lava to just watch the lava spill into the ocean and listen to the crashing waves just yards from where we sat. All you can see in every direction is hardened lava, and the the lava at our feet looked like broken glass. Jay turned off the flashlight and we sat in silence just enjoying the beauty of the moment. When he turned the flashlight back on, he shined it on the glass-like rock at our feet, and the most beautiful diamond ring was sitting on the ground between our feet. I sobbed uncontrollably before verbalizing a "yes"...and then we had to hike the 1 1/2 hours back to the car over rough terrain...hard to do when you are dizzy with excitement!

The ring! Believe it or not, I saw this ring 3 years before (2 years before I even met Jay) in a magazine when my college roommate was planning her wedding. At that time I said it was my dream ring, and I've always thought of it when I pictured my "perfect ring." Jay did not want me involved in picking a ring in any way, and I didn't even known he had begun shopping. He completely surprised me (and I think himself) when I realized it was the Jeff Cooper ring of my dreams! :*)

Jay was also very sure to get a "conflict free" diamond, inscribed and guaranteed to be mined in Canada.


Colors: Deep red, orange (think saffron), and yellow

All Things Paper

Blurry here, dunno why

Our Save-the-Dates! VistaPrint magnets in a henna-inspired Christmas card with a poem a la Nicole & Jay!

Our invitations from Indian Wedding Card & an image I will use to echo the invitation design on labels, tags, escort cards, programs, table numbers, menus, invites for rehearsal dinner, etc. (Thanks PDXPhotoGrl!)

In the! I worked really hard for my stamps and my hand cancel stamp "City of Roses." BIG thanks to mrs2DUCKSinlove (USPS insider) & PDXPhotoGrl (hand cancellation guru).

My bridesmaid newsletter. If you need help with yours, page me on the July 2008 or the NE Ohio boards or email me.

Invitations for rehearsal dinner -

Travel Postcards - Instruct out-of-town guests on travel and hotel accommodations.

Out-of-town boxes were filled with bottled water, granola bars, crackers, chocolate kisses, Canton brochures, a welcome letter, and a custom-made CD. CD labels from Ebay seller 7designpro.

Programs: We had one for each ceremony. The one for the Hindu ceremony is dark red, and the one for the Catholic ceremony is white - both in booklet style & mimicing the design on the invitations.

We'll have our guests upload their digital photos to our online account instead of using disposable cameras or blank CDs with a pre-paid mailer. These were again printed for free on Free is so much better than paying for the other options listed above!

Amazingly beautiful monograms courtesy Knottie CaitlinNicole88

Shower - "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

My bridesmaids and my mother threw me a fabulous shower with a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" theme.

My beautiful bridesmaids & my fabulous fiance!

Part of my thank-you gifts to my bridesmaids for throwing the shower - 2.5" diamond-shaped paperweights from Ebay. I wrapped them in blue boxes with a white ribbon a la Tiffany's.

Rehearsal Dinner/Mehndi Party

July 3, 2008 - Our Catholic rehearsal will be followed by a buffet dinner with Indian food (yum!) at the Metropolitan Centre.

Simple centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner -- pails from the Target 1 Spot & pillar candles.

Our mehndi artist will be at the rehearsal dinner & will be available for any of the girls during/after dinner.

The sketch my artist did for my bridal henna.

Hindu Ceremony

July 4, 2008 - We had a traditional South Indian wedding ceremony in the morning. It was held indoors in the ballroom of the Metropolitan Centre.

Picture 088

This is how our mandap turned out!

Because the wedding was (planned) to be on a rooftop in July in Ohio...we placed fans on every other chair. I bought the rafia fans from a fellow knottie and tied red satin ribbon around the handle. My bridesmaids had the peacock feather fans waiting for them on their seats as a surprise (brought home from India).

My "Reserved" signs for the first 3 rows of chairs at the Hindu ceremony to save primo seats for our family & wedding party. (Font is Freebooter Script)

South Indian Hindu Ceremony Critical Steps

There are several critical "steps" of the Hindu ceremony. Each region has different traditions, and although I am not a very good spokesperson (I'm still learning too), I think it's important to teach others. I've tried to sum up some of the most important parts of the ceremony, which seem to be common to most regions.

KAPPU: Holy thread is tied on the bride's wrist to ward off evil spirits.

EXCHANGE OF GARLANDS: Symbolizing their unification as one soul in two bodies, it is an inward acceptance of the very fragrance of each other. (knottie sunrise925 on left, knottie Tejal on right)

THAALI/MANGAL SUTRA: The equivalent of the wedding ring in western society, the thaali (South India, made of thick yellow thread) or Mangal Sutra (North India, made of black beads) is the wedding necklace. It is the symbol of a married Hindu woman. Different shapes and sizes are used by different communities. After it is blessed by the priest, the groom places it around the bride's neck.


It took me a very long time to find all these pictures of South Indian thaalis (the couple is using a mangal sutra). There are many different types of thaali/mangal sutra. I'm focusing on the Tamil Nadu traditional thaali as that is what I will wear. If you have other pictures you would like to share, please email me!

SAPTHA PADHI: The groom holds the right hand of his bride and together they walk around the fire promising each other a lifetime of harmony, friendship, equality, and fidelity. (Equivalent to marriage vows)

With the first step, we have started on the course of our lives as householders. Let us walk together.

Walk with me the second step for strength.

Walk with me the third step for gaining wealth and prosperity.

Walk with me the fourth step for enjoyment and happiness.

Walk with me the fifth step for progeny and longevity.

Walk with me the sixth step for the joys of all seasons.

Walk with me the seventh step for everlasting love.

PRADHAANA HOMAM: Paying homage to Agni, the fire God, is done by feeding the fire with ghee, twigs, and rice. The fumes are supposed to cleanse and purify the couple.

TREADING ON THE GRINDSTONE: Holding the bride's foot, the groom helps her tread on the grindstone kept on the right side of the fire. The priest says, "Mount up this stone. Let thy mind be rock-firm, unperturbed by the trials and tribulations of life." (Left: knottie SouthIndianGirl)

Most of these pictures have been taken at a friend's recent wedding in Pune, India. The pictures of the thaalis were found through Google with the exception of the couple's picture (our friends).

NOTE: This is not a complete wedding ceremony or altogether accurate. I have abbreviated to keep it as short as possible while still being informative. If you notice glaring mistakes, please let me know!

Full Text for a South Indian Wedding Ceremony


How to Wrap a Sari

My wedding sari was given to me by my fiance's parents. It is Kanjeevaram or (Kanchipuram/Kanchi) silk, which is one of the finest forms of silk and uniquely made in Kanchipuram, a small town in Tamil Nadu, India. These wedding saris are known for their intricate embroidery with genuine silver that has been thinned out into a thread and woven through the sari. Beading is not traditionally used.

Picture 101

MY SARI!!! It is the traditional deep red wedding color. The silver embroidery is polished to be a golden (jeri) color and is in the form of peacocks, a traditional motif in India. (My brother walked me down the aisle.)


Jay & I bought kanchee saris for both of our moms (a scaled-down version of mine). Left: my mom's sari, bangles, petticoat, & shoes.

Picture 208

We also brought back Bensari silk saris for my bridesmaids. It was such a colorful day!

Some other saris we picked up. I changed into the purple one for the second half of the reception.

IMG_0226 Jay changed into a sherwani.


More info here.

The most important jewelry in the wedding ceremony is the mangalsutra or thaali (different names depending on the region of India), a necklace equivalent to Western wedding rings. (see above)

Left: My wedding ensemble! 22kt necklace, earrings, and bangle...a gift from my future in-laws! It's absolutely stunning! I also have a few other 22kt bangles and I will borrow even more from my mother-in-law.

Right: My tikka, which will lay in the center part of my hair. A bindi (meaning "dot") is the forehead decoration and symbolizes wisdom, concentration, and protection.

A fairly good picture of my necklace and tikka. I was putting in my earrings at the time. Also, a decent picture of my simplistic henna design. (Coincidentally, this is the only pro pic I have so was on my photog's blog.)

Toe rings are another sign of a married woman in India. They are worn in pairs on the second toe of both feet. Traditionally, toe rings and anklets may not be made of gold because gold has a "respected" status and may not be worn below the waist by Hindus.

I have numerous bangles to wear with several different saris (mendhi party, wedding ceremony, and last half of reception). These are not very expensive, and a really fun addition to the festivities.

The red shoes were my shoes for entering & exiting the Hindu ceremony (no shoes on the mandap!). I bought them in India, and they match my wedding sari perfectly!

Hair and makeup for the Hindu ceremony.

Inspirational pictures for an Indian wedding...

ProFootball Hall of Fame Dinner

Because our Hindu ceremony was in the morning and our Catholic cermony wasn't until the next afternoon with evening reception, we decided we hadn't yet planned enough we added one more event.

The set-up for that night...minus the stage & the chiavari chairs.

Buffet Menu: veggie burgers, chicken sandwiches, garden salad, fries, cookies, & cherry delight (health food)

Invitations - postcards from (This is the original draft, but it's similar.)

P1000374 Our welcome!!!

My outfit (YAY)...and Jay's outfit (BOO!) Yes, we have a truly mixed marriage.

DSC_0063 IMG_0154

CIMG3405 cute are my parents?

Catholic Ceremony

July 5, 2008 - Our Catholic ceremony was held at St. Peter Church in Canton, my lifelong parish (left).

FIRST READING - ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12 "Two are better than one: they get a good wage for their labor. If the one falls, the other will lift up his companion. Woe to the solitary man! For if he should fall, he has no one to lift him up. So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm? Where a lone man may be overcome, two together can resist. And a three-ply cord is not easily broken."

Our wedding bands! I really thought I'd want the matching band to my engagement ring (Jeff Cooper), but I really fell in love with the channel set diamonds. Jay chose a tungsten band that won't get scratched & isn't too expensive to replace if it gets lost (and it WILL get lost).

UPDATE: It DID get lost...& replaced...within the first 2 weeks of returning from our honeymoon.

Ceremony decor: (Left) arrangements for the altar & (right) arrangements for the pews/aisle.

Left: The "runner up" dress & my prototype veil (actually bought from Occansey Designs for a steal). Middle: Shoes I bought from Shoe Buy. Right: Purse from - Isaac Mizrahi $16.99

Earrings, hair comb/broach (thanks knottie victoria-la-la), and a pin from Ebay for my "something blue"...Blue Jay...get it?

Hair and makeup ideas.

Flowers for bouquets. they will have bear grass looped through and ruscus as the greenery.

Bridesmaid dresses in "claret" red from Mori Lee style 721, ordered from Anything Bridal for a steal (store price was $140, A.B. price $93)!

Product Close Up

Tuxes from Men's Warehouse - Reaction by Kenneth Cole three-button, notch lapel with ivory vest & tie for the groom, diamond red vests & black ties for the groomsmen, and black diamond vests & black ties for the Dads.Boutonnieres for the boys.

We can't do rice, birdseed, or flowers, and I don't like how sticky bubbles can get. I'd love to recreate these bells, but I'm working on how to do this (economically and practically). CIMG3413 DSC_0098

The getaway car! It's a 1942 Cadillac limo in navy's unbelievable!


July 5, 2008 - The reception was held at the McKinley Grand Hotel in downtown Canton.

Left to right: Lobby, ballroom for dinner & dancing, and prefunction area for cocktails & live piano music.

Our signature drink was a deep red to go with our wedding colors.

Picture 264 Picture 263

Wedding picures of previous generations were displayed near the guest book. Everyone loved seeing our very different families and traditions side-by-side. Beautiful!

This basket of bangles was next to the escort cards for the ladies entering the reception. (Bangles from Ebay vendor Jaipur Fashions)

Flowers for the reception (not centerpieces, just a couple of accent pieces).

Left: My DIY table numbers (Font = Mutlu) with a swarovski crystal at the end of the flourish on each number...I'm so sad it didn't photograph!

Right: I bought round beaded placemats similar to these in RED and GOLD from Bed Bath & Beyond for $4.99 during their after-Christmas clearance. They sparkle like crazy under our candlelight centerpieces!


Chair sashes were gold organza material -- modeled by one of our guests at the end of the night.

Speaking of cake...ours will have a henna design and surrounded with candles.


Here it it! Our beautiful cake!!! Also, this is a great shot of our zardosi tablecloth!


I bought two of these gold zardosi table clothes on Ebay. One for the head table and one for the cake table.

Thank You Gifts

Personalized Family Trees for our parents. My dad is a HUGE genealogy researcher...a hobby he developed since retirement. I thought it was really special because we are combining two very different families, and our backgrounds mean a lot to both of us.

For my bridesmaids...North Indian juttis (shoes) & bangles, both brought home with us from our trip to India.

Also, initial brooches on their bouquets from Pat Catans, Victoria's Secret pajamas & slippers, and pearl and peridot bracelets.


Prost to the Host Blog

831 Photography Blog

Occansey Designs Testimonials

2nd Mile Productions Video Recap!

My Favorite Knottie Bios

2BRottweiler/Mrs.Rotty/Mrs.Rotty's How-To Guide

PDXPhotoGrl 2DucksInLove/mrs2DUCKSinlove

MissBliss28 CaitlinNicole88 TDiddy2

Velveena DublintoMadras Ego

Rani-a Tejal Deepak&Derek

DublinToMadras Anasara hainesherway

zeenarah SouthIndianGirl

July 2008 Knotties SouthAsian Bio

Vendor Information

Rehearsal Dinner Location & Hindu Ceremony -- Metropolitan Centre -- A+ for food, D for communication Chef Scott is amazing. He can make anything your heart desires. (He made excellent Indian food for us without ever even tasting Indian food in the past.) He is affable and a genuinely thorough and hard worker. Unfortunately, the facility manager is very difficult to work with, and my calls & emails to him and the frequently-changing catering coordinator were rarely returned at all and never in a timely manner. I was very frustrated in the final weeks before the wedding and even wondered if I needed to make a last-minute venue change due to many factors leading to my lack of trust in them. However, everything came together and I suspect appeared seemless to our guests, which is what is really important to me.

Hindu Priest -- Sreedhara Sree, Shiva Vishnu Temple, Parma, Ohio -- A+ for being so accommodating! Priest Sree was an amazing asset. He was sometimes difficult to get ahold of, but persistence is required when planning an Indian wedding. He was willing to adjust the wedding ceremony any way we wanted and brought everything we needed. He is such a kind man and made my family feel comfortable in a novel situation.

Catholic Ceremony Location -- St. Peter Church, Cleveland Ave. Canton Ohio -- A+ for a beautiful church! St. Pete's is such a gorgeous establishment in Canton, and I couldn't have imagined getting married anywhere else. It photographs incredibly, and my Indian-in-laws couldn't stop staring at the gorgeous marble tile mosaics and soaring ceilings. Truly an excellent example of a 130-year-old Catholic church.

Catholic Priest -- Monsignor John Finnegan -- A+ for smooth ceremony, mentorship, & acceptance Monsignor is the kindest, funniest human being. He has done so many weddings that you don't have to make any decisions... just relax! He'll tell you what music is best, where the photog can get the best pictures, and even where to shop for jingle bells!

Reception Location -- McKinley Grand Hotel -- A+++ for an all-inclusive package, beauty, & MELINDA! Receptions can be a multi-vendor event, but not at the McK Grand. I always knew I wanted to have my reception at this historic hotel, but their all-inclusive package really sealed the deal. However, the BEST part of having a wedding at the McK Grand is MELINDA...a.k.a. wedding coordinator goddess! She became more and more invaluable as the days ticked away. By the end I was calling her cell phone while shopping at Flower Factor just to see if I should get tea lights or votives. This woman is wonderful, and ran around like mad making sure every request was satisfied during the reception (and yet she was so invisible that no one else knew she was there). She was my lifesaver & will be a friend forever.

"Football Dinner" Location -- Pro Football Hall of Fame -- C for awful food & poor service but cool location

Invitations -- Indian Wedding Card -- A+ for beautiful, unique, and a perfect blend of two cultures/religions

Photographer -- Callie Mercury, 831 Photography

Videographer -- 2nd Mile Productions -- A++ for cool people, helpful guidance, & a stellar video Brian & Susy (a.k.a. 2nd Mile) were such a wonderful addition to our wedding, and I can't imagine our weekend being as perfect without their presence & product. We will FOREVER talk about how Brian was the calm source of knowledge on our big weekend...with guidance on where to stand before our introduction to the reception and how to remove deodorant from Jay's tux sleeve. These are moments we probably would have looked at each other dumbfounded as to what to do. Because Brian was there, we felt much more at ease. Jay will forever tell our friends and families "Brian Morris is a stud!" When we received the video (4 months later), the packaging was beautiful (Susy's work)! Seeing our weekend put to a soundtrack was just amazing. We laughed with the toasts, cried with the vows, and got up and danced again to our first dance. The artistry and quality of Brian & Susy's work is beyond words.

Florist - Anderson's Flowers

Disc Jockey - Bill Manos (please email me for contact info)

Jeweler - Shane Company, Portland Oregon (ask for Gail!)

White Wedding Gown - Amsale Bridal and Formal, Cincinnati Ohio

Alterations - Village Cleaners

Bridesmaid Dresses - Mori Lee style 721 Anything Bridal

Tuxes - Kenneth Cole Men's Warehouse

Mehndi (Henna) Artist - Maya Anjum

Mandap - Sandhya Phanindra (please email me for contact info)

Chair Rental - Canton Chair Rental

Cake -- Joanne Slider -- B, but now living in the Pacific Northwest!

Personalized Family Trees -- Sophie's Place Designs -- A- for a beautiful keepsake but not exactly as pictured online

Free Invites, Thank You Cards, Postcards, etc. etc. - Vista Print

Registry - Bed, Bath & Beyond and Crate & Barrel

Honeymoon to Jamaica - Unforgettable Honeymoons, The Caves Resort, Couples Swept-Away


5 Nights at The Caves Resort

6 Nights at Couples Swept Away

Jay opening our first present!

What Peanuts character are you?