“The actual ceremony doesn’t take long”, everyone said.
The wedding day starts at 7am when a crack Indian SWAT team of hairdressers and make-up artistes descend upon the house, brushes at the ready. Amid yawns and coffee, make-up colour selections are made, hair is teased, straightened and pinned into place and the burning question of will there be enough pins for all the sarees is answered with a definitive yes. Our hostesses know exactly where to find those pesky pins.
A few hours later, all the girls’ ‘I-haven’t-had-enough-sleep’ faces become 'ready-for-Bollywood-close-up’ faces and the next task of getting wrapped in sarees begins. Balders' wedding number (she’ll have two for the day) proves to be the most difficult given there’s NINE YARDS OF FABRIC (that’s just over 8 metres to us metric folk) to contend with and none of the Indian ladies are exactly, completely, undoubtedly, 100% sure how it all goes together.
The original auspicious ceremony time of 10.46am comes and goes, but it’s okay – we have a revised time of 12.42pm, so we’re well on target to get the bride to the temple on time.
Eventually the bride is firmly ensconced in the nauvari saree and resolves to forego any further liquid intake - a toilet visit is now out of the question due to degree of difficulty.
At the temple, there is prayer and offerings, followed by the 'not very long' ceremony, several hundred little rituals, a costume change, meet and greets and plenty of laughter. As soon as one ritual is finished, another begins and the festivities last a good few hours. Afterwards we dip our faces into the food trough to scoff some fantastic Indian cuisine and secretly delight in the room afforded by our loose fitting clothes - second helpings are easily accommodated. Happy days!