A Vibrant Traditional Hindu Destination Wedding in Canada
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.
The Ceremony Location
The Liberty Grand was just what the couple was looking for -- elegant and, more important, large enough to accommodate their guests.
A Grand Entrance
Gaurav arrives by horse.
The Groom's Arrival
A guest dances to the beat of a drummer heralding the arrival of the groom.
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.
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.
The bride and groom during their traditional Hindu ceremony.
Walking Down the Aisle
Somina's brother and three cousins carry a canopy of green Dendrobium orchids as she walks down the aisle.
Bangles in traditional red and white hues adorn her wrists; the henna artwork was applied two days before the wedding.
The Bride's Parents
Somina with her parents, Ashok and Neelam Madan.
For good luck, rice is tossed into a fire during the ceremony.
Three long tables, one of which is shown here, anchor the reception: one for the couple, and one for each side of the families.
Somina and Gaurav hired an acrobat to perform during the reception.
Tall vases topped with bangles hold chains of yellow rose petals.
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.
The Bride's Accessories
Somina, seated with Gaurav, bought all her wedding jewelry and saris in India.