I can't believe that it has taken over a two and a half years before we got an opportunity to attend a traditional Indian wedding. The son of our landlord got married last week and Mona and I were invited for the wedding. The marriage was on a Thursday morning followed by a lunch. A large wedding reception was scheduled for Friday. We were leaving for Hong Kong on Friday and decided to attend the lunch on Thursday.
The wedding turned out to be a traditional south Indian wedding. The actual wedding ceremony started at 7:30am in the morning on Thursday and lasted about 4 hours. During this time, there were several different poojas (prayers) and rituals. Lunch service started at 11:30am. By then, there were about 3000 guests. No, I did not add a zero by mistake. I do mean three thousand guests. So naturally, lunch had to be served in shifts. This was quite an experience.
The dining hall consisted of long tables with folks sitting on one side of the table. Each table could accomodate about 20 people and there were at least 20 tables. So about 400 people were being fed in one sitting. We took our seats after one group of people had completed their lunch. An army of waiters and servers worked with speed to clean the tables, cover them with white sheets of thick paper and place a huge banana leaf on the table in front of each guest. The etiquette is to sprinkle a bit of water from your glass and wash the leaf clean with your hands.
The vegetarian meal consisted of nearly 20 courses and included a few different vegetable curries, roti, poori, pulao, plain rice, bhajiyas and a couple of different sweets and desserts. Servers made their way down each row serving each person. The food was delicious but the experience was truly unique.
We missed the wedding reception the following day but passed by the venue on our way to the airport! This one also looked like a grand affair with lights and decorations and probably a similar number of guests!
Now that is a big fat wedding.