Blending traditions: Hindu and Catholic wedding

I woke up this morning and wondered, “Can you ‘Throwback Thursday’ in a blog post?” Then I thought, “Who’s going to stop me?”

So today I bring you one of my greatest hits, the Hindu Catholic wedding of Josh and Sonya from November 1st, 2008.

When Josh and Sonya first came to me and told me they wanted a ceremony that combined her family’s Hindu wedding traditions with the Catholic traditions that his family expected, I was a little worried. I knew next to nothing (OK, actually nothing) about Hindu wedding traditions and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull all of the elements that I needed together and be able to make it flow. However, I got a lot of help from Sonya and her family and we came up with a ceremony that both families really loved. Afterward, I was even complimented on my Hindi pronunciation by more than one member of her family!

In case you’re curious, Josh and Sonya were married under a mandap, the ceremonial canopy, with both sets of parents seated underneath it next to the couple and their wedding party. In the photo above, you can see the flower garlands (malas) they exchanged and wore during the ceremony. We included two scripture readings, one Old and one New Testament, along with giving the guests the opportunity to share the Catholic “Sign of Peace” by greeting each other with a handshake and saying, “Peace be with you.”

They took the ritual seven steps around the fire together during the Saptapadi and offered rice to the fire as part of the Anjali. I was able to briefly explain the significance of each ritual for those unfamiliar without slowing down the ceremony too much and everyone enjoyed a song performed by Sonya’s sister near the end of the ceremony.

Despite being a little overwhelmed at first with this one, it turned out to be one of my very favorite wedding memories as both families seemed to take so much away from the experience and truly enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about each other’s cultures and beliefs. Now, I love to blend different rituals together to create a ceremony that expresses the unique backgrounds of my couples and I never hesitate to take on ceremonies that seem challenging. I just see them as opportunities to WOW another pair of families with something truly special.