A Fusion of Love: Part 2
Philadelphia Airport Marriott, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Ami & Anthony’s Wedding
As the sun rose on Saturday morning, Ami was already awake and getting ready for her and Anthony’s Hindu wedding ceremony at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott. When we arrived to Ami’s hotel room, she was already dressed in a beautiful red sari covered in very intricate beaded details. Her sari was a custom design from Maharani Fashions in Iselin, New Jersey.
Most of the jewelry that Ami was wearing bore special sentimental value to her because it was the same jewelry that her mother wore on the day she married Ami’s father. Ami’s makeup was again absolutely stunning.
Ami’s bridesmaids were each dressed in vibrant purple saris also purchased from Maharani Fashions. Everyone worked together to make sure every part of their outfits were pinned in their proper places as each lady got ready for the day’s events.
When each of the ladies were ready, they helped Ami put on all of her final details from an intricate headpiece to her thin, delicate bangles that matched the colors found in her sari. Ami couldn’t help but smile as everything was coming together.
As Ami and her ladies got ready for the ceremony, Anthony was getting ready for the Baraat. Anthony’s outfit was also deep red in color with intricate beading details along the collar and down the middle of the top. Over the red top, Anthony wore a cream colored sherwani with intricate gold details and beading. The cream color was continued in his churidar pajamas; as well as on his shoes that boasted the same gold detailing as the sherwani. Anthony also wore a cream colored turban with red and gold designs.
As the time came for the Baraat to begin, Anthony made his way through the Philadelphia Airport Marriott hotel to join friends and family members outside for a grand processional to the start of the ceremony. His mom was in complete awe seeing her son in his wedding outfit.
This was truly a special time for Anthony. During this time Anthony was surrounded by a great amount of love and support from family and friends. The bridal party even took part in this special event. As Ami’s bridesmaids wore purple saris in honor of Ami’s love for the Baltimore Ravens, Anthony’s groomsmen wore green for his love of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Anthony shared in dances with his mom and the bridal party before leading the processional on an elaborately decorated horse drawn carriage to where everyone would enter into the Marriott to go to the ceremony space. Everyone paraded behind the carriage until they arrived to the place where Ami’s family was proudly awaiting Anthony’s arrival.
After the Baraat, Anthony was greeted by Ami’s family with an aarti in Ami’s mother’s hand in a ceremony called Ponkhana, the welcoming of the groom. During this time a small pot was placed on the ground for Anthony to step forward on to break it into small pieces. This part of the ceremony signifies that he has the power to overcome any of the obstacles that married life may bring his way.
Ami’s parents then led Anthony, followed by the rest of the wedding guests, into the room where their ceremony was to take place. The room was full of vibrant red fabrics and gold decorations. The path to the mandap was covered with a deep red runner speckled with red and white flower petals.
His future mother-in-law led him to his seat under the wedding canopy as all of their family and friends took their seats for the ceremony. After welcoming the groom to the mandap, Rajanibhai Bhatt began the ceremony with a prayer to Lord Ganesh requesting him to remove any obstacles that may arise during the ceremony.
Following the prayer to Lord Varuna, Ami’s family paid respect to the groom, Anthony, through the Var Puja. During this time, Ami’s father washed Anthony’s feet with milk and honey. Ami’s cousins snuck up behind the altar while Anthony was distracted to steal his shoes. It is tradition that the groom must leave the ceremony with the same shoes that he started the ceremony in. If he is unable to find them before the end of the ceremony he would need to offer the cousins money to get them back.
It was soon time for Ami to enter into the ceremony. Excitement grew as she traveled through the hotel towards the door that would take her into the room where Anthony and their family and friends were already in. Before Ami entered into the room, Ami’s brother and Anthony’s cousin, held up an antarpat to separate Anthony from Ami when she took her seat under the mandap.
Ami was led to the altar by her maternal uncles to the room of the ceremony. Each wore a proud smile matching Ami’s as they waited until it was their turn to journey down the aisle to the marriage altar. Three adorable flower girls took their turns dropping more flower petals down the aisle right before Ami’s bridesmaids entered into the room carrying candles in purple dishes matching the color of their saris.
As Ami and her uncles entered into the room everyone stood honoring the arrival of the bride. Each of her uncles surrounded her as they made their way to the mandap. Anthony, still hidden behind the antarpat, had not yet been able to see his bride. After Ami was seated, each of her uncles gave her a quick hug before taking their seats.
Ami’s parents then washed her feet with milk and honey before the antarpat was lowered allowing Ami and Anthony to see each other for the first time that day. Each were overcome with great emotion seeing each other. With happy tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces they exchanged flower garlands symbolizing the unification of their hearts.
The priest, Rajanibhai Bhatt, then joined Anthony and Ami’s hands together while blessing upon them al good wishes for a happy and healthy wedded life. Now that they were married the priest then tied Ami’s sari to Anthony’s scarf to signify that they had been tied to each other in body, mind, and soul for the rest of their lives.
A garland was then placed around Ami and Anthony. Each of the threads in the garland was to bind the two together to fulfill their roles fully and sincerely to each other. Not only is Anthony and Ami bonded together through this ceremony but so are both of their families.
With guidance and offerings from family members Ami and Anthony light the Sacred Fire for the Mangal Phera. Ami and Anthony circled the fire four times. Signifying the four basic human goals of dharma (virtue), artha (wealth), kama (family), and moksha (enlightenment).
As Anthony promised lifelong protection to Ami he offered her a mangalsutra, a sacred necklace. After placing it around her neck he placed kumkum, a red colored powder, on the crown of Ami’s head. These necklace and powder signify the mark of a married woman and are a symbol of Anthony’s love, integrity and devotion. Although not a Hindu custom, Anthony and Ami then exchanged their wedding rings.
Anthony and Ami then stood before their guests as husband and wife. Many guests clapped as Ami and Anthony stood all smiles while holding hands. In tradition it was then time for Anthony to help Ami touch seven betel nuts on rice with her right toe while they each recited the seven vows during the Sapta Padi. To each other they vowed respect, patience, honesty and faithfulness through the ups and downs of their journey through life together.
Following sharing these vows together, Ami and Anthony shared in their first meal as a married couple. They each sweetly fed each other kansar, various small sweets. Once they enjoyed this first meal, all of the married women from Ami’s family came up to the mandap to whisper words of luck and prosperity in her ear.
As the ceremony came to an end the priest blessed Ami and Anthony on behalf of the Gods and Goddesses with everlasting happiness before they left the marriage altar. While guests enjoyed lunch, Ami and Anthony posed for a few formal photos with the bridal party and family. We even caught a shot of Anthony searching for his shoes.
Ami’s parents and family then walked the newly weds from the ceremony room to where a flower decorated car waited for Anthony and Ami. Ami’s brother drove the couple in the car over a coconut in order to break it as part of a ritual before we took Ami and Anthony back inside of the hotel to capture more loving photos of the two of them.
After photos with Anthony it was time for Ami to change into her second outfit of the day. Her elaborate sari from earlier in the day was replaced with a rich purple sari that was decorated with incredible beading designs. With her hair and makeup freshly done to go with her change of outfits, Ami was still as beautiful as ever.
Once Ami’s jewelry was changed, her and her bridesmaids joined Anthony and his groomsmen in the reception room to practice a dance they would be performing for their guests. They then joined their guests during cocktail hour with a visit from the Nittany Lion. Students from CAPA High School provided guests with the opportunity to have their caricature drawn during this time as well.
Inside the reception room, the tables were draped with bright white linens. Everywhere in the room you looked you saw pops of vibrant purple decorations and uplighting. In the center of the tables were white and purple floral arrangements with small votive candles that offered a warm glow. All of the floral designs were created by Kalpuna Patel of SAJAWAT. Each of the guests’ chairs were covered with a white chair cover with a purple sash around the chair back.
Ami and Anthony’s sweetheart table was on a platform in the front and center of the room. Framing the platform were elegant purple and white drapes between pillars that created a grand space for the Mr. and Mrs..
Once their guests were ushered into the reception room, each of the members of the bridal party and the Nittany Lion made their entrances into the room. Ami and Anthony made their grand entrance and then shared in their first dance to “Everything” by Jonathan Clarke. As their song drew to an end, DJ Ravi Jackson mixed in to their Chammak Challo mix. Each member of the bridal party joined Anthony and Ami on the dance floor in a performance for the guests.
Ami’s cousins then performed two special dances for the couple and their guests before it was time for Ami and Anthony to share in special dances with their parents. As Anthony danced with his mother to “Momma” by Boyz to Men there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Ami and her father then shared in a very special father daughter dance before Ami surprised her dad with a cake for his 65th birthday.
Following heartfelt speeches from Anthony’s two best men, Ami’s father gave a speech that left each person in the room hanging on his every word. Guests then enjoyed a delicious dinner buffet before watching as Ami and Anthony cut into their four-tier wedding cake from Carlo’s Bakery.
Each of the tiers were decorated with piped purple swirls and silver ball accents. Ontop of the cake was a beautiful topper of a bride a groom dressed similarly to how Ami and Anthony were earlier in the day for their ceremony. They each sweetly fed each other a piece of the cake before making a speech of their own to their guests.
Now that dinner was enjoyed and the cake was being cut to serve, guests made their way to the dance floor to continue the party in celebration of Ami and Anthony’s marriage. Guests danced the night away making incredible memories that are sure to last a lifetime. If they got tired and needed a quick break, the guests paused their dancing to take a few fun photos in Ami and Anthony’s photo booth.
As the final song was played and day three of Ami and Anthony’s wedding celebration came to an end, Ami and Anthony truly enjoyed seeing all of their friends and family together.
We wish Ami and Anthony all the love and best wishes through the journey in married life! It is clear that they are truly head-over-heels in love with each other.
To couples planning their future wedding, Ami and Anthony leave you with this advice:
“Embrace the process. Planning a wedding is stressful, frustrating, and takes a lot of time. But the time spent with your family and friends, and seeing the whole day and the events come together, make it all worth it. Also, the wedding flies by, enjoy and cherish every moment.”