Served on a plantain leaf was a touch of jewellery, the silk of Kanchi, the smell of flowers, the songs of marriage accompanied by the beats of thavil, the blessings of elders and of course, delicious south Indian food!
The wedding took place at Hassan, a town in Karnataka named after the goddess ‘Hassanamba’. It was a two day affair that had us catching up with old friends, eating mouth-watering food and witnessing the wedding traditions and rituals.
The bride, Spandana, looked extremely beautiful and elegant. Having known her for almost 8 years, it was a pleasure to attend the wedding! We headed to Hassan on a cloudy afternoon and reached just in time for the ‘Bale Shastra’. The ensemble of Nadaswaram and Kanchi created a perfect wedding atmosphere with their music.
The Bangle ceremony, known as the ‘Bale Shastra’ in Kannada is a function where the bride’s hands are filled with bangles. You could see a medley of silk sarees as relatives and friends gathered around for the ceremonies and to do ‘aarthi’ for the bride and groom.
That evening my friends and I dressed up in festive Chudidars. I designed a dress for myself for this– A cream kurta with elaborate floral embroidery featuring a side slit that revealed the green chudidar pant underneath. The dupatta had pretty tassels that added an elegant touch to the entire ensemble! The material for this dress was a gift from a dear friend of mine, and was from Kolkata. I love the quality of silk and the fineness of the embroidery, and seeing a design of yours come to life on it was so gratifying!
I wore a kundan mang tika and peacock earrings to accompany the dress. My hair seemed to have a naturally soft volume that day, and this helped me make a nice side puff! I am a firm believer in not over-accessorizing, and hence I skipped the necklace. I also wanted my neck to be bare because the dress had a nice deep neckline to it. My mang tika was slipping out by the end of the day and I had eaten away all my lipstick while gorging on dinner! Fortunately, our photo sessions were over before things started falling apart :p
The bride added her own grace to a violet-berry Kanjivaram saree. Her earrings in pearls and gold were envy-worthy! It had a delicate gold parrot above a chandelier of pearls. Her jewellery was just as beautiful as the saree!
While having dinner that night, my friend mentioned how there were subtle differences between weddings in cities and smaller towns. Here, people would start speaking to almost everybody, asking them where they were from and how they knew the bride. He remarked how in cities, you would be sitting next to someone for dinner and not even speak to them! It was a very interesting and insightful observation indeed. Eventually, we made quite a few acquaintances there and it felt very homely 🙂
The next day, we made it a point to wake up early and get ready! We took close to 2.5 hours to dress up, and that was because we had to drape sarees, and none of us were good at it! We added our own techniques to it, implemented some learnt previously from the bride herself, and re-iterated the process in front of the mirror till we got those perfect pleats and a good drape! The bride was always the one in charge of draping sarees for us whenever we attended other functions. She was good at it right from college! We missed her direly that morning. And this is why we made it a point to wake up early. Surprisingly, we got ready well before time and actually sat and waited for the men to get ready! That was a time when we sneaked in a little photo session and some selfies!
I wore a black banarasi saree that my mom got on a trip to Banaras! She loves travelling and shopping for artefacts specific to those particular regions! We benefit from this in that we get to wear articles of clothing that have come right from a state that is famous for it. Agreed, you can get that in Bangalore as well, but isn’t there something special about, say, a Banarasi saree from Banaras? It is not just the fabric that makes it special, but the memories and significance attached to it! Other advantages are getting it at a lesser price and also getting something unique, something that has come right from the weavers!
The saree that I wore had a weave with diagonal stripes of alternating bottle-green and gold – it was contemporary with a traditional handloom weaving technique. To go with the silk saree, I wore gold jewellery as I felt it would be apt for a South Indian wedding. A three-layered gold necklace and jhumkis from Tanishq and jali bangles completed the look for the saree. I had never worn a gold jewellery set for any wedding before, and I was wondering if I would be able to carry it off well, but in the end I loved the traditional look that it gave. I borrowed my mom’s chain and joked about how I wouldn’t come back home if I lost the jewellery! Fortunately, I got back everything that I took with me, except a few hairclips that always get lost!
I had also applied Mehendi the previous night, and knowing how cold it is in Bangalore these days, I was experiencing chills while I slept with the mehendi as it seemed to be absorbing away all my body heat! Lesson learnt!
After getting ready, we made it just in time to eat a wholesome breakfast and be there for the muhurtham! The most fun part was showering the bride and groom with rice – a ritual called ‘Akshata arpana’, to bless the newly wedded couple with prosperity. It was then followed by the ‘Arundhati nakshatra darshana’ – a custom where the bride and groom look at the north star to seek blessings for steadfastness in their life.
My heels had started killing me by afternoon. Managing the saree was also becoming difficult and I had started losing all my grace in elegantly carrying the saree by afternoon. I was so glad to change into a Kurta, and I cannot even tell you how swiftly I changed! I think its best to get a pair of kitten heels for such occasion, unless of course you are proficient in the art of wearing heels.
We headed back and stopped en route at Coffee Day for a small break. The hazelnut cappuccino there made me feel so much better! The journey back made me reflect on my delightful experience at the wedding – getting ready together with friends like we did back in hostel, being a part of one of the most important moments of your friend’s life, and enjoying all the delicious food! I was gifted a beautiful red saree too, which I am eager to wear soon.
Now it’s time to start preparing for the next wedding 😉