Yesterday was Todd and Priya's rehearsal. They currently live in Santa Fe, New Mexico but met in Portland. They found me on-line and called to see if I was a suitable officiant for their wedding. They wanted to blend her Hindu background with his rich family traditions. Since I had co-officiated with a local Hindu priest a few years ago Priya felt comfortable with my taking on their ceremony. Her brother would help with all the Hindu pieces - all the rituals including the lighting of a small fire around which the couple would walk. We communicated back and forth for several months and today was the first time we met - at their rehearsal.
What a great group of people! Both families were amazingly warm and cordial. One of her aunts invited me to visit them in Calgary, Canada! The rehearsal itself took care of some last minute details and was sweet and swift as it started raining at the very end. A lovely after-rehearsal party followed, including everybody who had come from out-of-town, which was just about everybody. I did talk to one of Priya's friends who still lived in Portland. Todd's Dad sang a song he had written for the occasion, accompagnied on the guitar by his other son. Eliza, Pria's new sister-in-law, introduced a getting-acquainted game: she handed everyone a card with someone else's name on it and one had to go around looking for the person. It really did break the ice and more people were talking to people they didn't know up until that time. Very noisy, fun, social environment. I don't think I have been to a wedding party with such cordial, loving people. Even the groom's father kissed me when I told him what a great song he had written!
At 9 p.m. the women went up to the ninth floor for a Henna party - with champagne, chocolate-dunked strawberries and sweets. The men retired to the bar for male bonding time. The Henna party was a gas! Four Portland Henna artists drew elaborate designs on feet, hands, palms, arms. At 10 p.m. the bride's Mom arrived with saris for women to try on, but by that time I was leaving.
This morning, the day of the wedding, I looked through all my Indian garb and took out two saris I received as gifts probably 33 years ago. The blue one with a rich floral design fits me better than the fancier one with gold trim, so, in the end, I decided to wear it. Yehudah and I followed the instruction booklet and managed to garb me in this elegant sari and I am now sitting here typing while wearing it. It takes some getting used to - not to feel stiff and awkward in all the fabric, especially the piece draped on my left arm. But it could become a habit!
Off to the wedding - on the rooftop of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts!