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It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words. But in the case of Somina and Gaurav's love story, it's numbers that do the talking. "Gaurav had seen my profile picture on an online-dating site, but he wasn't able to contact me until he paid a $40 membership fee," Somina says. Just 3 months later, he asked for her hand in marriage, and 8 months after that, they tied the knot in spectacular fashion at a Hindu celebration in Toronto. Neither is from Toronto -- Somina is from London, Ontario; Gaurav is from Long Island, New York -- but they decided to throw a wedding there because they liked the cosmopolitan feel.
Here, the bride and groom exchange garlands of hot-pink Aranda orchids during the ceremony; hanging from her bangles are gold ornaments (kalira) tied on by family members for good luck.
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The Ceremony Location
The Liberty Grand was just what the couple was looking for -- elegant and, more important, large enough to accommodate their guests.
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A Grand Entrance
Gaurav arrives by horse.
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The Groom's Arrival
A guest dances to the beat of a drummer heralding the arrival of the groom.
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Greeting the Bride
The groom, riding in on a white horse, and his family gather to meet the bride and her family before the ceremony starts, a Hindu tradition.
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The Bride's Attire
For good luck, Somina slipped 42 bangles on each wrist the morning of the wedding -- and kept them on for 40 days. She also donned a traditional lengha, a four-piece outfit of silk and velvet weighing close to 20 pounds.
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The bride and groom during their traditional Hindu ceremony.
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Walking Down the Aisle
Somina's brother and three cousins carry a canopy of green Dendrobium orchids as she walks down the aisle.
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Bangles in traditional red and white hues adorn her wrists; the henna artwork was applied two days before the wedding.
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The Bride's Parents
Somina with her parents, Ashok and Neelam Madan.
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For good luck, rice is tossed into a fire during the ceremony.
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Three long tables, one of which is shown here, anchor the reception: one for the couple, and one for each side of the families.
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Somina and Gaurav hired an acrobat to perform during the reception.
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Tall vases topped with bangles hold chains of yellow rose petals.
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Long tables and traditional round tables were used at the reception and were decorated with a mixture of tall arrangements, as well as short ones like these, which held tulips, roses, orchids, and hyacinth.
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The Bride's Accessories
Somina, seated with Gaurav, bought all her wedding jewelry and saris in India.