An American and an Indian Get Married in Mumbai: Lauren and Amol’s Wedding

Amol and Lauren recently got married in Mumbai over New Years Eve with over 500 of their closest friends and family. The festivities spanned multiple days and included a mehendi ceremony, a haldi ceremony, morning and afternoon wedding rituals, a cocktail party reception… and more! We’re delighted to share photos and videos from this transcendent experience with the world.

Mehendi Ceremony – December 29, 2017 – Jade Banquet Hall in Mumbai

A mehendi ceremony occurs two days before the main wedding. Its primary function is to adorn the bride with intricate mehendi (henna) on her hands, arms, feet, and legs. Legend has it that the darker the henna stains the bride, the more her husband will love her! In reality, it’s a nice way to force the bride to relax before the wedding craziness starts, since she can’t use her hands or feet for a good twelve hours once the henna has been applied. Other guests are also invited to have the artist draw henna on their hands as well – even the groom can partake! Our mehendi function also included Indian dance performances from friends and family members. Eventually, most of the guests got on their feet to dance too.

Haldi Ceremony – December 30, 2017 – Yadav family home in Mumbai

The haldi ceremony occurs the evening before the main wedding. Groom and bride are sequestered in their respective residences, while their friends and family apply a paste of turmeric to them. Sometimes the bride and groom can even return the favor by applying the turmeric right back! Turmeric is both auspicious and also ensures that the skin is bright and glowing for the big day. Although the bride and groom aren’t supposed to see each during/after the haldi ceremony, Amol and Lauren found a technological solution to circumvent this traditional practice thanks to FaceTime!

Morning Pre-Wedding Rituals – December 31, 2017 – Nityanand wedding grounds in Mumbai

The main day of the wedding begins with each family – the bride’s side and the groom’s side – performing preparatory puja (rituals) to bless the space and thank the family members and friends for attending to support them. Although bride and groom are not officially supposed to see one another yet, Amol snuck into Lauren’s quarters to say hello and check on her.

Afternoon Wedding Ceremony – December 31, 2017 -Nityanand wedding grounds in Mumbai

The main ceremony is scheduled at a very precise time (muhurta) – in our case 4:57 pm – according to astronomical alignment. Lauren wore a very traditional nauvari (nine-yard) sari. Marathi brides typically wear a shade of yellow for the wedding rituals. With the help of a pundit (Hindu priest), Amol and Lauren exchanged rings, walked around a ritual fire, and gave one another flower garlands to symbolize their new life together. Altogether, the rituals took a few hours to complete. There are many roles for members of the bride and groom’s party during the rituals, so most of our family and friends also got to take part in the ceremony.

Evening Reception – December 31, 2017 – Nityanand wedding grounds in Mumbai

Following a delicious four-course meal, Amol and Lauren made their first official appearance as husband and wife at the evening reception. They took the stage, alongside their parents, to receive every single guest who came from near and far to attend the wedding. Since it was New Year’s Eve, the night culminated in a spectacular fireworks show.

Post-Wedding Rituals – January 1, 2018 – Yadav family home in Mumbai

The day after the main wedding rituals, the new couple has to complete another set of rituals to establish their lives together in their new home. While Lauren and Amol couldn’t do this at their actual home in North Carolina, they decided to complete this step at Amol’s family home, once again with the help of the pundit.

Cocktail Party – January 1, 2018 – Madh Island Resort in Mumbai

For the Western-style reception, Amol and Lauren hosted a night of dinner, dancing, and champagne under the coconut trees. Many guests also gave heart-warming speeches about the bride and groom.

Ancestral Village Visit – January 2, 2018 – Mahad, Maharashtra

After a new couple is married, they often go to their family’s ancestral hometown to pay their respects. Amol and Lauren took the five-hour journey along with Amol’s parents to rural Maharashtra to see where Amol’s father and grandmother grew up. They were greeted by many excited locals who came to wish the new couple well.

Honeymoon – January 4-9, 2018 – Conrad Rangali Islands, Maldives

Lauren and Amol decided to honeymoon in nearby Maldives islands. They stayed at the Conrad Resort, where they luxuriated in a villa complete with private beach access and outdoor shower. They also enjoyed snorkeling, traditional Maldivian music, and dining at the world’s first underwater restaurant, Ithaa!

Check out the teaser video of all the festivities below:

Author: Amol and Lauren

Amol is a neuroscientist at Duke University with a penchant for Indian philosophy. Lauren is a PhD candidate in sociology and research fellow for Hindu life at Duke University, vegan, yogini, crazy cat lady, pursuer of wanderlust.

One thought

  1. Oh my, Lauren and Amol— so wonderful to read everything here about your beautiful wedding and to see your pictures. I especially loved the video! Almost felt like I was there. Thank you for transporting me and for sharing your love story. “Faith, hope, and love remain: the greatest of these is love! “ Best wishes for a lifetime together. Love and blessings, Aunt J

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