Nicole and Jay celebrated their wedding nuptials July 4-5, 2008. It was a few months ago, but I have ogled over their stunning celebration since July. I had to share it! This goes without saying, but having more than one wedding celebration requires meticulous organization and patience. Not only were the two celebrations intricately detailed, but they were both culturally contrasting in traditional practices. How did Nicole find the time to plan TWO weddings while going to law school full time and living 2500 miles away from her wedding location? It’s magic, I’m sure of it.
On the fourth of July, Nicole and Jay honored the groom’s family by doing a Hindu ceremony. During this ceremony, the strong traditions were upheld and the colors were as bold as the commitments. The bride and groom’s family share this sacred time to reflect on the vows Nicole and Jay were about to take. Please enjoy the details, as they left a permanent stamp in my mind.
1. The necklace, earrings and bangle are all 22kt gold. They were a gift from her in-laws. What a great gift! The tikka is the ornamental piece of jewelry that lays in her part. The bindi symbolizes wisdom, concentration, and protection.
2. The bride and groom place Jillakara Bellam (paste of brown sugar and cumin spice) on each other’s heads. This symbolizes the future sharing of joy and sorrow. The priest prays for stability and continuity in their marriage.
3. The groom holds the right hand of his bride and together they walk around the fire promising each other a lifetime of harmony, friendship, equality, and fidelity. This is equivalent to marriage vows. Each step represents something different.
With the first step, we have started on the course of our lives as householders. Let us walk together.
Walk with me the second step for strength.
Walk with me the third step for gaining wealth and prosperity.
Walk with me the fourth step for enjoyment and happiness.
Walk with me the fifth step for progeny and longevity.
Walk with me the sixth step for the joys of all seasons.
Walk with me the seventh step for everlasting love.
4. The night before the Hindu wedding ceremony, the Mehndi ceremony was done. The Mehndi ceremony is a traditional custom done prior to the wedding. Elaborate designs are painted on the hands and feet of the bride (and her close female friends and family). Traditional bridal patterns include peacocks and paisleys, as they symbolize passion. It is also believed that the deeper and darker the henna stains, the mother-in-law will love the daughter-in-law more and the marriage will be a happy one. This ritual signifies the strength and power of love in the marriage. It is considered a good sign if the bride keeps it as long as possible.
5. During the ceremony, the bride and groom are say a prayer and give an offering of flowers and rice in a sprit of sacrifice and equal partnership. The bride and groom must not separate as long as the fire of life burns within them. The fumes from the fire offerings are said to have healing and cleansing effects on the couple.
6. Her wedding sari was a gift from her fiancé’s parents. It is made from one of the finest silks and came from the town of Kanchipuram, India. The embroidery is detailed and done with a silver thread.
7. The bangles were worn throughout the different ceremonies.
8. The tray of fruit and flowers is a pooja tray. A pooja tray is a blessed tray that holds the offerings used in the ceremony. In general, pooja trays are used in every ceremony that has a request for a blessing. One the tray, there is a Ganesha statue, flowers, rice and a coconut. Ganesha is the most popular prayer deity and he removes any future obstacles. The rice, flowers and coconut are offered to Ganesha. However, coconut is one of the most favorite foods.
9. As the guests enter the ceremony, they can participate by using the various auspicious items. (From left to right) The yellow/orange is sandalwood paste. Both male and female are invited to use this perfumed paste on their wrists and necks. The red powder is kumkum, which is made from dried turmeric and slaked lime. It is used to make the red dot on a woman’s forehead as they enter the ceremony. The grey powder is vibhuti, which is used to make a grey horizontal line across the men’s foreheads is considered sacred and holy. The dish at the bottom contains rock candy. It’s offered as a sweet to people entering the ceremony.
On the 5th of July, the families joined together one more time for a traditional Catholic Nuptial Mass.
1. She puts on the last of the details of her Catholic ceremony ensemble. Her dark hair makes the perfect backdrop for the sparkly drop earrings.
2. To make the wedding weekend even grander, the Catholic ceremony was held at Saint Peter’s Church of Canton. This church is impressive in size and the grandiose detailing makes it a spectacular place to pronounce their love.
3. Bold and beautiful flowers were used for the bride’s bouquet and centerpieces. Vibrant reds, oranges and yellows added a punch of color against the ivory dress. Bear grass was looped between the calla lilies, roses and ruscus for an elegant and modern look. The groom had an calla lily boutonnière to compliment the bouquet.
4. To continue the celebrations, the reception was held at the McKinley Grand Hotel in downtown Canton. Her hairclip is shown when the veil has been removed for the reception. The happy couple dance for the first time as husband and wife. Her husband, Jay dips her elegantly in her Amsale dress. 5. The bride wore a fingertip length veil with stain trim to complete her silk A-line Amsale dress.
6. The couple peeks out of their 1942 Cadillac limo getaway car.
7. This three tiered cake with a henna design steals the spotlight as candle light flickers and dances on the gerbera daisies and lilies.
There were many more details that I wasn’t able to capture. You can check her knot bio for all the extra details, including a video that made me tear up.
I hope you were taken away for a few moments while looking at Nicole and Jay’s pictures. You can definitely see there was magic in the air.
(All photos were used by Nicole’s permission. Thanks to Callie for capturing the true spirit of the wedding and making their love for each other and the support of their families the focus in your work.)