I’ve no idea who Romit and Rupashi are but I was at their wedding nonetheless. This was a fantastical event with much noise, colour and many people. Here is my pictorial account of the special occasion, a fun evening out that was hampered only by the humidity playing tricks with my camera lens.
It all started when the staff at Bolgatty Palace, the hotel next to the marina, decked the buildings and trees out in festive lights.
This was done a day in advance of the event but we all thought the hotel was finally getting round to putting up some Christmas lights! They weren’t, of course, as this was all in the name of Romit and Rupashi’s special day. They even went as far as putting up streamers down the entire strip that leads up to the hotel – some 500m!
In the evening my quiet beer on the pontoon was marred by one hell of a racket, something which sounded very much like a south American brass band. What they were playing was very good indeed and my curiosity was provoked enough to remove myself from my fave sundowner spot and go check it out.
There in the driveway to the hotel were a load of women in very bight saris all dancing and whooping to the brass band’s music. Inside a car, at the back of this cacophony, was the groom. A local friend of mine explained that the band and the merry dancers were leading the groom to the wedding location, yet he never got out the car. If it had been me, with fifteen beautiful women dancing in all their glory in front of my car, I’d have got out and joined them!
The procession made its way to the entrance of the hotel where there was a sound system, hoards of sweaty, dancing guests (plus a camera crew) all getting down to the brass band.
A walk through the hotel reception and we were out in the garden by the pool.
At this point one couldn’t help notice the large stage with a huge tall ship for a backdrop, back-lit from the sea.
The old Dutch Palace, one of the oldest outside Holland, stood at the top of the parade and lead down into the main garden where the tall ship stood at the bottom. Between the two were lights, chairs and food stalls.
And at the bottom to the left was a band playing traditional Hindi music.
Whilst the groom was being held up with his family dancing in front of him in the car, the bride was preparing herself with her group of brides maids.
Their costumes, make up and henna tattoos were outstanding.
The bride was very beautiful but so too were the brides maids!
The funny thing was that she was wearing so much gold, jewellery and costume that her progress towards the stage was rather slow. Trying not to trip up on the many cables strewn across the floor the bride and her maids were stooped over, weighed down by gold and concentration.
As the bride made her way to the stage, so her husband-to-be looked on nervously.
At this point I was struggling to get any decent shots as there were as many people taking photographs at the base of the stage as there were on the stage!
Instead I turned round and took a snap or two of the ‘audience’ which, like any good wedding, was full of excited kids and emotional aunts.
The ceremony was in full swing by this point and it seemed as if the protocol was for the bride to join her husband-to-be on stage, approach the groom who had a garland ready in his hand, and bow her head for him to place the garland around her neck. I was under the impression that symbolically this was the moment Romit and Rupashi were married.
After that it all got a bit blurry as the band struck up another classic Hindu love song and the stage was besieged with adoring family members.
I have it on good authority (Francesca of s/y ‘Easy and Free’) that while most guests departed shortly after this ceremony, the core family members stayed up until well after 4am (all without alcohol you understand), drank tea, danced, ate and relaxed in the luxurious surroundings of Bolgatty Palace Hotel.
Kerala is famous for its honeymoon locations and the hotel has seen many weddings in the past couple of years but this one was definitely the most elaborate, expensive and colourful wedding it has seen to date. As weddings go, it was up there as the most bonkers!