Note, this is the third in a series (I put 1,2,3 up all in a row) so don't forget to start at the beginning!
Ceremony, Part one
From the bahrat we went into the ballroom to see this.
Look at these details!
The room was transformed into a Hindu palace.
The priest referenced that the ceremony is traditionally supposed to take place in the bride's parents home, but 200 guests prevent that! So after we were all gathered, the ceremony began. We were honored that M had indicated that Fi & I sit in the front row with his family (aww) so I had great viewpoint for pictures!
The ceremony began with just the priest, M and S's parents on the stage. Everyone on the stage (sorry, I'm not sure if it was an "altar" or what, so for my ignorant explanations, we'll call it the stage, mkay?!) had no shoes on and the three times FI had to go up on stage, the shoes came off. This was unexpected, so I am sooo happy he wore good socks with out holes!
So the priest was awesome, he explained every part of the ceremony and translated most of the prayers from Sanskrit to English for us. We learned after the fact from my new pal Morahli that this is not standard practice for priests and he said he learned a lot during the ceremony too. The beginning of the 2 hour service was a series of tests for M given by the priest on behalf of the bride's family. M had to recognize all his "outfacing body parts" buy touching them with water when the priest announced them. Basically a Hindu version of "head shoulders knees and toes knees and toes". There was a lot of incense, rice and spices used. Many prayers were offered and when M proved that he was capable (after about 30 minutes) the bride was ushered in. But before her processional started Fi and Willy jumped on stage, sans shoes, to hold up the "wedding cloth" (we still have it, it cost $2.99 form Fabric World) in front of M while she entered.