Friday, April 12, 2013

Lea and Rupal live in Austin, Texas and planned to marry at Rupal's sister and brother-in-law's home in N. Raleigh on April 6, 2013. Rupal grew up and went to school in North Carolina and his parents live here. Rupal emailed me in February to see if I could officiate for them. They found me on-line, probably because I have done many Hindu-Christian interfaith weddings. I was so happy that I was available for their date and so we made plans to Skype on February 5th which we did. We discussed what they wanted for their ceremony and the services I could provide. They mailed in their check and contract and we got busy putting together their ceremony.
Rupal told me that the wedding would be in his sister's yard in N. Raleigh. The above is not what I had pictured in my mind! When we drove up to this grand estate, there was a security gate beyond which was a pond and gazebo then the road would up to the "guest house" with 10 garages, tennis court and pool. Behind that was this mansion above! It was simply gorgeous! I stopped by the guest house where Lea was getting ready and her make-up artist and hair stylist, Donnie Whitsett of IC Beauty, was there. We had just done the wedding of Hewan and Clarence together a couple of weeks earlier!
Rupal, Lea's father, and her brother-in-law, Beau, constructed this wonderful mandap with direction from Lea for the placement of the fabric! Inside was the table with the fire, or Phere, in Hindu weddings. The gentleman tending the fire is making sure it does not catch the table on fire!
Rupal's parents arrived. His mother, Joystna, is in a wheelchair and his father, Harshad, was by her side.
Before the guests arrived, Brent and Anna Deitritch, Live View Studios, arranged for a "First Look" where the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony. Lea's father, Amador, and Rupal's brother-in-law, Himanshu, held up a scarf in front of Rupal while Lea walked up to the other side of the scarf.
Then they dropped the scarf and they saw each other for the first time that day. In a traditional Hindu wedding the bride arrives to the ceremony hidden out of sight behind a veil so they cleverly adapted this custom to a "First Look" staging.
These young ladies provided lovely music for the ceremony are students of the math and science high school that Rupal attended. They were good!
The guests started tricking in and filling up the chairs but most stood around visiting until we shooed them into their seats. It was a full house!
Our director, Shelby Fisher, got everyone lined up to process in. Rupal's sister, Parul, with her husband, Himanshu, were first to walk.
Then Jaci, sister of Lea, with her husband, Beau, escorted in Janet, mother of the bride.
 Time for the groom and ring bearer and me. 
What a beautiful day it was. There was a slight breeze and the temperature was perfect.
 Sonia, our flower girl, did an excellent job and threw lots of petals on the aisle.
 Here comes our beautiful bride and her proud father!
 I stepped out to speak to their parents. 
 Here we are blessing the baby that will be born to them in July.
Then it was time for me to tell their story! It is a good one too. Everyone enjoyed hearing it, especially our ring bearer, Viraj!
It was time for the couple to make their marriage vows while walking around the sacred fire in the Hindu tradition of Phere. They take 4 rounds in all. These rounds show that each of them consents to the marriage in the Hindu tradition. The bride leads the groom during the first three rounds, but in the fourth and last round, the groom leads her.
This signifies that the bride would be free to take lead in matters of everyday life, but finally it would be the groom who would lead her through life.
Then we celebrated Saptapati where the bride and groom took 7 steps together around the fire and made promises to each other with each step.
The Mangalsutra is a black necklace that is placed on the bride by the groom and symbolizes the married status of the woman in Hindu tradition.
 Then in the American tradition, they exchanged wedding rings.
 The legal moment! The Pronouncement of Marriage! 
 Some cool refreshments were in order! 
Rupal and Lea, what a wonderful wedding you planned all the way from Texas! It could not have been more beautiful and wonderful. You are a terrific couple and your love shines all around you. I wish you all the best life has to offer and special blessings for your little one!

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