Back in January of this year I was blessed by the opportunity to start coordinating Rashmee & Ashwin’s wedding. I knew it was going to be like a wedding I’ve never done before, not only because it would be my first traditional Indian ceremony, but also because of the amazing people that would be gathered around them to celebrate their special day.
Because Rashmee and Ashwin live in Chicago, all my correspondence with them prior to the week of the wedding was either over the phone or by email. Thankfully, despite the time difference, we made it happen. Rashmee and Ashwin really knew all they wanted to happen at their wedding, were decisive, and very focused on making sure all the traditions and customs they wanted at their wedding came to fruition.
The week of the wedding, at their walk-through at the Nixon Library, was the first opportunity I had to meet the Bride & Groom in person. I honestly felt as if I knew them forever. Their love and respect for each other encapsulated everyone in their presence and I knew that I had just scratched the surface as to their depth of character. It was truly breathtaking to be with such amazing, calm individuals…. I found out later that Ashwin is a pediatrician. Man, that didn’t surprise me at all! I could just picture him being so great with kids!
After all their details were finalized and the rehearsal behind us, the only thing left to do was to pray that the weather stayed perfect and beautiful for their outdoor ceremony in the Nixon’s Rose Garden. Thankfully, their day was truly a perfect one! The sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot, and guests all clambered into the Rose Garden awaiting the Barat procession, which did start promptly at 3pm! Yeah!!!
When Ashwin arrived at the Rose Garden, he was greeted by Rashmee’s parents who received him with open arms and the traditional Suswagatam. He proceeded to the Mandap and the ceremony officially began. Guests were truly engaged, enjoyed fresh lemonade and nuts to munch on, and awaited the arrival of the gorgeous Bride. Rashmee was escorted in by her family, minus her parents and siblings, who awaited her at the Mundap. She was greeted with several hugs and kisses, and a bit of tears, and proceeded up to the Mundap where her groom’s vision was impaired by a sheet. When Rashmee was revealed to him, Ashwin’s eyes lit up, and made my stomach leap for joy as these two would now be unified as one.
The symbolism the Hindu ceremony involves was so ornate, and very, very different from that of the traditional American wedding ceremony. I was impressed with all the times the parents, and elders, for that matter were honored by the Bride & Groom during the ceremony. I loved the Saptapadi, the seven steps of marriage vows, that the couple took around the sacred fire, and of course the Mangal Sutra, which was the culmination of their marriage ceremony. Wow, it truly was an amazing ceremony. The Pundet (officiant), also was very sweet and made sure to have all ceremony elements completed by the time we all had requested. So yeah, the reception did start on time, which I heard is very rare in traditional Indian ceremonies…
While guests enjoyed find Indian cuisine and refreshing cocktails, by White House Catering, Rashmee & Ashwin finished up pictures with Jeff at Anderson Image (who by the way was FANTASTIC)! The couple then changed into their Reception attire and were greeted by a standing ovation into the East Room for their fabulous reception. Kumba Entertainment, did a fantastic job keeping the flow of the evening and even created the dance environment that keep feet “tapping and dancing” I should say, all night long! It really was, a wonderful wedding!
One thing I fell in love with were all the gorgeous colors involved with their wedding. Usually weddings have just one color scheme, but traditional Indian weddings involve so many colors. Rashmee used everything from red, yellow, purple, pink and blue. The bright colors really created a festive, fun-filled, joyful environment! Look at this cake, as an example! Stunning!!!!
Congrats Rashmee & Ashwin! Thanks for giving me the oppportunity to be a part of your very, very special wedding! Many blessings, and kiddos, to both of you!!!!!