A Traditional Wedding
About the Couple: Most Indian weddings are very large affairs; however Serena and Ashish wanted to keep theirs intimate, with 80 of their closest friends and family. Check out this beautiful, traditional Hindu wedding held at Serena's parents' home in Philadelphia.
Jewelry plays a key role in Hindu weddings. Serena chose to wear beautiful bangles that would match the colors in her dress. She wore a stacked set like this one on both wrists.
Serena wore a traditional lehnga that her parents bought in India. Customarily bride's lehngas consist of more red and pink tones but Serena liked having the touch of teal in her wedding attire.
A Bold Color Scheme
Serena transformed her parents' patio into the perfect ceremony location by incorporating this rich color scheme. They used large rust-colored drapes to add drama.
Lavish Chair Decor
Their florist adorned the chairs lining the aisle with this arrangement of white roses, 'Stargazer' lilies, and red ranunculus.
A Home-Style Aisle
Serena walked down the stairs on the back of the house to meet Ashish. They used the same rust fabric and large flower arrangements to highlight the pretty aisle.
Ashish wore a traditional three-piece suit called a sherwani. He chose this one because the detailing matched Serena's lehnga. He topped off his look with the customary headpiece.
The Start of the Ceremony
To begin their ceremony, Ashish and Serena worshiped Lord Ganesh, the remover of all obstacles and provider of wisdom. Ganesh is one of the best-known and most worshiped deities in Hinduism.
The Giving of the Bride
The giving away of the bride is known as kanyadanam. Serena's mother pours out a libation of sacred water symbolizing the giving away of the daughter to the bridegroom. Her parents' hands are under hers and the water drips into Ashish's.
Ashish gives Serena the mangalsutra, which is the wedding necklace symbolizing marriage, love, integrity, and good luck.
The Exchanging of Rings
Serena and Ashish also exchanged rings during their ceremony. They had their oldest cousins marry them and their brothers served as the witnesses.
Prayers to God Agni
Serena and Ashish offer prayers to God Agni represented by the fire. Prayers are offered by placing ghee, rice, and flowers in the flame. The couple then walked around the flame four times while holding hands, which symbolizes devotion to Truth and a proper way of living; financial prosperity; fulfillment of desires and love; and the detachment from the physical world and material things.
A Family Ceremony
Serena and Ashish's parents were very involved in the entire ceremony and were seated at the front with them.
After the ceremony was over their guests moved into the house for dinner and dancing. Their guests enjoyed a mix of Indian and American music.
Florist: Shoba Rao at Elegant Affairs; www.elegant-affairs.com
Photography: Amanda Hein Photography; www.amandahein.com
DJ: DJ Ladla and Kris Graham; www.djladla.com
Dress: Ritu Kumar; www.ritukumar.com