Feb 28, 2010

Indian Ring Ceremony

The rings. The ritual. Two people desperately in love. The Indian Ring Ceremony or Sagai is a romantic pre-wedding event that takes place in a room full of happy (and hungry) relatives. The bride meets the groom's family and the groom has to get cozy with the bride's. The eager couple exchange rings made of platinum or 18K gold. (In fact, a typical Indian bride is showered with expensive gold gifts from the beginning to the end of the wedding ceremony, starting on Thursday and ending late Saturday night.) After exchanging engagement rings, the young couple receives the blessing of the elders before everyone moves on to the lamb kabobs and lovely coconut ladoo (fudge candy).

A traditional Indian wedding means much more than just sugary sweets, saris and beautiful henna tattoos. The marriage unifies two families and two souls - forever. The exchanging of the rings, and the promise of a shared future - is one of the most important celebrations in modern Indian life.

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Feb 23, 2010

Outdoor Garden Wedding Tips

Indoors with Swarovski crystal chandeliers or outdoors under twinkling lights that sparkle like shining stars on a cloud-free night? Indoors if money is no object. Outdoors if you want to display your favorite wedding favors on a weathered wine barrel, English oak sideboard or Victorian settee. Outdoors if you would rather put $25,000 on a down payment for a four bedroom ranch than on a sit down buffet with bacon-wrapped, roasted pork loin and pesto-marinated boneless leg of lamb. A lovely garden wedding sounds more rustic and romantic? Here are some quick and sensible outdoor wedding tips:

Wedding weather. What can you expect on the day of your wedding.  Sunny, humid and hot?  Guests will be grateful to ushers who usher in ice-cold bottles of water as they are seated.

What about rain?  The ideal outdoor wedding venue has an indoor or covered location waiting just in case.  If the ceremony has to go inside, the tables can be scooted to the back or side of the room.

Nature is nice.  Here in Virginia it's all about the dogwoods.  Beautiful white dogwood blooms color our commonwealth from late March to May.  And azaleas - cotton candy colored azaleas are everywhere in the spring. 

Let's make a toast. Since alcohol is dehydrating, consider serving a variety of lemonades and fruit flavored iced teas. Be sure to have plenty of ice and water around as well. For a fancy cocktail, why not serve a classic mint julep or a mojito?

Bugs beware. Be sure to put out citronella candles or a bug zapper so that your guests won't spend the whole ceremony swatting at the air.

Here comes the sun.  Sunset is sweet - especially if you grew up on the West Coast like I did.  A beautiful blaze of fiery oranges, yellows and reds.  You need to see it to believe it.  Make sure you set up the ceremony so that the sun will be on guests' backs rather than in their eyes.

Follow the rules. Don't forget to contact your city parks department or other local government to get a permit for an outdoor wedding. Be sure to ask about rules concerning trash removal, candle or torch lighting, and pre-wedding photography.