Destiny Banquet Hall
Mathura and Thomas’s fusion wedding took place at Destiny Banquet Hall in Toronto. When weddings spread across multiple days the only thing that will save you is timing. Problems arise when the pacing of your day is dependent on your large family keeping up. And there is some definite truth behind Indian standard time. Everyone wants a piece of you on your wedding day. And Southasian weddings, when that spreads across two days, they’ll want more. Not entirely sure if there is a good way to take a step away and find your happy place again. But for your sanity, try anyway. As much as you love everyone there, they will understand.
The images in this post are from the couple’s Hindu wedding ceremony which occupied their first day. My day started with morning prep and the couple’s respective houses. The bride’s family had a beautiful garden in the backyard. So I had no issues doing all the pre-wedding portraits outside. The groom’s prep was a bit different. Thomas was not Indian and neither was his family. As a result, all of them had an interesting experience dressing up for this occasion. Tomorrow will be Day 2 which includes the western ceremony and reception of this multi-day wedding. So he’ll have the upper hand then.
The groom’s arrival, or baraat, kicked off this Hindu wedding ceremony. This involves a lot of dancing as the two families meet for the first time outside Destiny Banquet Hall. Father to father, mom to mom, sibling to sibling, and so on.
Inside the grand hall was a beautiful mandap. The wedding mandap acts as an alter in Hindu ceremonies. This mandap was quite extravagant utilizing both coloured drapery and hanging floral garlands. Thomas had his own puja “prayer” before the bride arrived. Since he wasn’t familiar with this custom, the bride’s brother joined him and translated along the way. Once the bride had her grand entrance, the parents joined the couple inside the mandap. The ceremony begins with lighting the fire. A Hindu marriage is a union, not a contract. The bride and groom exchange garlands similar to how they exchange wedding rings. It expresses the desire of the couple to marry each other. The groom places a necklace of black and gold beads on the bride as a gift to her.
During the saptapadi, the bride and groom have their garments tied together. While joined, they walk seven steps together as a sign of friendship. They also make seven circles around the fire. Each round signifies a blessing from the gods. Finally, the groom applies a red powder to the bride’s hair. This symbolizes her new status as a married woman.
We were originally planning on doing bride and groom portraits outside the venue after the ceremony. However, the late-night rain forces to relocate indoors. Luckily the decorators who built the mandap were kind enough to leave it up long enough to get some great photos of the married couple together. That’s Day 1 down. Don’t forget to check out Day 2 tomorrow.