Almost all of us have either attended, or been part of a huge wedding. Do you still remember all the intricate details that were involved during the event planning? I myself have had the esteemed privilege of planning both of my older siblings’ weddings and have experienced first hand how overwhelming it can be. From choosing decor, to picking vendors, deciding between 3 or 5 tier cakes, to have a bouquet or not, and choosing between garlands, the wedding industry has more options to offer than ever before.
Earlier this year I received an inquiry that I couldn’t quite believe. The client stated that they required wedding coverage for a traditional Thamil Hindu wedding. The twist however, was that the wedding would take place in front of the altar at Richmond Hill temple, and that this traditional Hindu wedding would take only 20 minutes! Typical Hindu weddings I’ve completed have never been less than 4 hours. I simply could not imagine all the intricate rituals required of the wedding, along with family pictures, being squeezed into a mere 20 minutes. Hesitant but curious, I accepted the inquiry, being sure to keep a couple extra hours in my schedule free just in case.
I showed up the day of the wedding, dressed in attire traditional enough to befit a temple wedding. Little did I know, this day would change my views on Hindu weddings forever. It started off at the family house where the bride and groom got ready together. Once ready they made their way to the temple where they would sit in front of the altar, surrounded by a crowd of less than 30, all eagerly waiting for the wedding to commence. Did I mention the bride was not South Asian? Yes, she wasn’t South Asian nor was she Hindu, but the level of respect she had during every ritual was breathtaking! There was no backdrop or aisle with flowers, no appetizers or lunch. There weren’t any late bridal parties or extended koorai (wedding attire) changes either. The priest completed every necessary ritual and blessed the couple wholeheartedly. That day there were simply two people in love, and two families uniting.
This wedding made me realize the beauty in simplicity. Not in the sense of a simple saree choice or hairstyle, but simplicity in the sense that even without a a guest list of 500, even without a floating Ganesha backdrop, or lavish table center pieces, the love between the couple and the now united families seen in just 20 minutes, was undeniably, the same.