Black + Indian Ceremony Script

Hi everyone, a couple of people have asked me how I blended both cultures into one ceremony. A lot of fusion weddings have two different ceremonies on different days or the same day but as I touched on with previous posts, we decided to have one ceremony with our immediate family as the officiants.  Since we didn’t have the expertise of religious officiants to give us the scripts we made our own ceremony which made it even extra special.  We researched a lot of things on the internet and took SOME (keyword) advice from our close friends/family.  Thank you Google for allowing us to get married haha! And now to pay it forward for other engaged couples, we are happily giving you our ceremony online for you to hopefully enjoy along with some explanations, thought processes, challenges etc.

  • Wedding Registry – From all the Indian weddings I’ve been to, I’ve never seen a wedding registry which is usually the case for the American weddings.  Who doesn’t love getting gifts?  *looks around* NO ONE!  I wanted a wedding registry but Nelli didn’t.  He said I could have one but it would specifically be for me which I didn’t think was appropriate.  We ended up not having a registry in the end but we did get some very nice generous cards/gifts anyway!  I wish I had something like ZOLA.  Zola is a great website that combines a lot of wedding registry functions into one convenient place.  I didn’t even know they offered free wedding websites, they are truly a 1 stop shop.  You can combine registries from different brands and they have the option to provide cash as a gift (which is what a lot of Indians tend to do).  If your friends want to pool their money which some of my friends did, you have that option on Zola as well.  Also, it may be Indian weddings traditionally don’t have registries because of internet/department store access.  Things are quickly changing as India is becoming one of the fastest growing markets in the world.  I love that friends and family abroad can use their international credit cards and billing addresses with no extra fee on Zola.  Lastly, Zola makes it really easy to send thank you notes!  We lost track of who gave us what and if we had Zola they would have a list of people who bought us gifts.
  • Prayer to Lord Ganesh – I didn’t really want us praying to our respective Gods because I wanted to keep the ceremony non-religious.  Yes, I did have a bible reading but we weren’t asking for blessings from any higher being. We decided as a couple to include the Lord Ganesh prayer because it was really important to Nelli.
  • Mangalsutura – I like to think the mangalsutra necklace is the equivalent of  wedding rings, it’s that important in a Hindu ceremony.  The more I read about what the mangalsutra represents, the less I wanted to incorporate it though.  The necklace is suppose to have 3 knots which represents obedience to husband, parents, and God.  Seriously?! Obedience!?  HAH!  In addition, the saying that is supposed to be chanted says “May your husband live for 100 years”.  What about me?!  In the end, Nelli wrote his own chant in a way that spoke to both of us because he is fluent in Sanskrit (YAY!).  He put the necklace on me without the craziness of the parents/aunties crowding around me trying to tie knots.
  • Declaration of Marriage intention – This is a Catholic wedding tradition that is pretty straightforward.  I think one of the original questions is somewhere along the lines of “Will you promise to raise your children under the Catholic Church”.  Nelli was like “wait WHAT?! I can’t promise that!”  I thought my aunt was going to have a heart attack but she was willing to work with us and suggested that we say something that can be applicable to both religions like “Will you accept children lovingly from God?”  We ended up going with that….Thanks Dede!
  • Walking down the aisle – My parents were so confused as to why the whole wedding party/immediate family was walking down the aisle.  Traditionally, in American weddings the groom waits at the alter and there are ushers (not family members) walking the mothers to their seats.  In the end, I decided not to change anything and have everyone walk down the aisle because it was my way of honoring them.
  • Lessons Learned
    • Triple check to make sure you have all your props at the ceremony location!  Garlands, Broom, Necklace, Sacred Fire!  Our garlands were in the fridge when we were ready to exchange them! OOPS!
    • Be clear on expectations!  I told Nelli our vows should be 1-3 minutes long.  His was 1 minute and mine was 3 minutes!  *Face palm*  I should have said 2 minutes for the each of us so my vows didn’t look so long!  Everybody loved mine though and was laughing/crying all at the same time!  Should I post my vows to the blog?
    • Jumping the broom – I had to pick up my train prior to jumping but Nelli thought I was jumping already so our jumps are a little off…haha no big deal!
    • You may kiss the bride – This is not traditionally done in hindu ceremonies because SCANDALOUS!  We did a quick kiss but I wish we would have just taken our time and enjoyed the moment
    • Family expectations – My in-laws didn’t really have anything to say about the ceremony…probably because it was so far away from what they were used to.  Traditionally, hindu weddings are 3 hours long, ours was 30 minutes!  Some practices or lack thereof our family questioned like everyone walking down the aisle, Me or Nelli not having red powder on our forehead, and Nelli giving me the mangalsutra.  We took their feedback into consideration but we ultimately did it OUR way and they didn’t put up a big fight.  The most feedback I received was from my side of the family which I found surprising!  They thought the script was more Hindu than Catholic but I found it to be numerically even (not that it mattered).  I wouldn’t change our script for anything!
    • Research!  Make sure that every word in your wedding script is something you believe in!  There are a lot of things in a Hindu wedding ceremony that incorporate caste traditions and identify a bride as being married (toe rings, bangles, sindoor, bindi, mangalsutra) – most of these things we cut out of our script.  In these cultures, they place too much importance on a woman being married and even when she’s married – the sole concern is that of her husband.  Our wedding script is just our little way of fighting the patriarchy, discrimination, and making sure our actions match our words.  Set the tone for the rest of your life!
    • SMILE!
  • Helpful Links
    • I really like this ETSY STORE for buying wedding brooms.  I plan to use my broom as a heirloom and pass it down to my brother/sister/kids when they get married.  I started a new tradition and for each person that gets married, they will carve their name in the wood. This broom is handmade out of all natural materials.  Check it out!
    • Here is a YOUTUBE LINK for the music that was played during the mangalsutra tradition.  Nelli wanted this to be playing in the background because it is quintessntial South Indian and he is very proud of his culture and LOVES the Carnatic style of Classical Indian music .

For a full script please see link below ❤

Continue reading “Black + Indian Ceremony Script”

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Ballin’ in Bali – Honeymoon time!

Top 5 things to do in Munduk and Ubud

  •  Munduk
    1. Brahmavihara Buddhist temple
    2. Stay in Munduk Moding Plantation (Villas, Spa, Coffee Plantation tour, Village bikeride)
    3. Waterfalls (Git Git and Munduk)
    4. Hindu temples (Lake Tamblingan, Ulun Danu Bratan)
    5. Lembuyang rice fields
  • Ubud
    1. Mt. Batur volcano hike
    2. Cultural Dances (Kechak at Uluwatu temple and Legong)
    3. Hindu Temples (Tanah Lot, Pura Lempuyang, Tirtha Empul Temple, Besakih Temple)
    4. Monkey Forest Temple
    5. Downtown Restaurants (Clear Cafe and Kaffe)
  • If you have time go to Java and see Borobudor Buddhist Temple!

Out of all our travels so far, going to Bali with Nelli is my absolute favorite….it was fitting that it was also for our honeymoon!  Nelli really went out of his way to ensure it was an enjoyable experience and that each of us got what we wanted out of Bali.  The above list only represents a FRACTION of what we did the two weeks we were there. We visited so many more places, temples and waterfalls but I chose my favorites above.  As you can see, we were quite busy but there was also plenty of time for relaxation (we had 3 spa sessions and stayed at the BEST hotels) which is important for me (read: spoiled).  We also got sick (as usual) so that really slowed down our days and it was nice to lounge around our villa recovering from our coughs!  Please bring A LOT of cough medicine when you travel internationally – I still haven’t learned my lesson and didn’t bring enough!  Here are some tips and tricks related to our favorite activities in Bali.

Continue reading “Ballin’ in Bali – Honeymoon time!”

30 days post our Wedding – Pt. 3

Apparently, there is a word limit on posts so here is Part 3 of my crazy Black/Indian/Filipino wedding weekend.  1 month down…a lifetime to go!

Saturday Recap (Wedding Day!)

We woke up around 8am again for hair and makeup.  All the immediate lady family members went first so I had some more “me time” to relax and write my vows.  I finished my hair, makeup and getting dressed around 1pm and I absolutely loved the way I looked – especially the fresh jasmine in my hair which smelled so good.  I didn’t have too much time to admire myself because I was running an hour late in terms of being at the venue (why I could never be on time for things, I’ll never know!). Once we arrived, I don’t think I caught my breath until the wedding was over – My photographer immediately swept me away for pictures most of the time,  I was busy prepping the jasmine garlands for the baraat, finalizing the song changes with the DJ, writing my vows on a piece of paper and then before I knew it I was walking down the aisle haha.

I can’t even imagine all the details that Jessica my amazing wedding planner made sure happened prior to the wedding start but I’m sure it was 10x what I did so I would have been super lost without her.  The favorite part of our ceremony was reading my vows – I tried not to cry but I couldn’t help it, I even heard multiple sniffles from the crowd.  Even though the ceremony felt 30 minutes long, it was so memorable! Even the little teeny hiccups I am still smiling about like how the garlands were still in the fridge, or how my sister kept adjusting my veil everytime Nelli put something around my neck or how my vows were considerably longer than Nelli’s or how or when my brother almost got burned from moving the fire holder.  I just hope that when we get our wedding pictures I don’t look like a snotty mess from all the crying I did – it truly was a beautiful ceremony merging all our traditions and everybody else thought so too 🙂 Continue reading “30 days post our Wedding – Pt. 3”

30 Days Post Our Wedding – Pt. 2

Happy 1 month anniversary to me and Nelli HAHA!  This past month flew by but I definitely wanted to take the time to reflect on our wedding and the days leading up to it.  We spent 1 year and 2 months pouring over the details to create a wedding that was truly us and we accomplished that without a doubt.  I promised a part 2 and 3 last time I talked about my wedding at the 100 day mark so here it is 🙂 Continue reading “30 Days Post Our Wedding – Pt. 2”

Feature on Growing Up Gupta

Hi everyone, two weeks ago we were featured on Nikita’s website and talked a little about our relationship background and things that we’ve learned from being in a interracial marriage.  We usually don’t like to give advice but I couldn’t resist as I love her blog and she serves as a great example of what it’s like to be in a black/indian family. We spinned the article and just talked about our experiences and what we love most about each other which is what my blog is all about.  Read the link below for more details ❤IMG_3771

http://growingupgupta.com/interracial-intercultural-dating-african-american-woman-indian-man/

100 Days till our Wedding! – Pt. 1

Wow….I can’t believe we are exactly 100 days till our wedding…we are entering the double digit countdown ahhh!!  It seems like it was just last April when we got engaged and we thought we had all the time in the world.  This past year or so, wedding planning has taught me so much about myself, Nelli, and how we work together as a team.  It’s been challenging and stressful to plan a wedding (ESPECIALLY a multicultural one) and I didn’t get it before but now I do.  Some of the key decisions that we made for our wedding are:

  1. What’s the definition of FUSION – We wanted ONE ceremony.  This was really important to me and Nelli.  A lot of fusion weddings have 2 ceremonies to celebrate each culture.  I really like that idea and think it’s a good way to incorporate everything but for me personally, it didn’t speak to me.   It was important to me to show our close friends and family that we are committed to blending our cultures in our marriage and we were going to showcase that through one ceremony.  We got a lot of doubters and I myself am working tirelessly to ensure that the ceremony script is seamless but I have a great feeling that it will turn out beautifully.  I think it’s also nice to have one ceremony, because we will be hand pick a few traditions that mean the most to us and have a significant message that we believe in.  I also love the fact that me and Nelli are working together to develop a script from scratch so it will truly be unique and represent who we are and what our union represents.  Lastly, the officiants will be family members and not priests or pastors and I think this is a great idea to make the overall ceremony more personal.

Continue reading “100 Days till our Wedding! – Pt. 1”

Our Trip to Trinidad (The Blindian Connection)

Our experience in Trinidad was one of a kind and definitely felt like we were at home.  The beginning to our trip was a tad rocky though.  We arrived a day earlier than Phylicia so we stayed at a hotel close to downtown.  As soon as we hopped off the plane and headed for customs our jaw dropped:  the line to get out of the airport looked miles long.  We ended up staying 4 HOURS in the airport just to get through customs – very frustrating time for us and other people.  It was utter chaos: people were skipping, complaining, cutting, arguing; this debacle ended up being front page news in Trinidad next day.  Luckily, our trip only went uphill from there.

The taxi ride to our hotel was lovely, there were 2 other ladies in our car who were coming back to their homeland Trinidad and were able to give us tons of advice about where to eat close to our hotel.  Even though we were emotionally drained, our stomachs weren’t so as soon as we layed down our bags in our room we took a short 5 minute taxi ride to the street food they recommended.  We ended up getting a couple Trinidad staples (corn soup, potato pie, roti, etc) and shared it between us.  The food was delicious, veg friendly, Indian oriented and very cheap.  The next day we had breakfast and explored a little of the surrounding areas before Phylicia’s friend’s cousin picked us up.

Continue reading “Our Trip to Trinidad (The Blindian Connection)”