On August 13th, at the Wente Vineyards in Livermore, Rad and Piper tied the knot in a beautiful traditional/fusion Hindu Ceremony. The ceremony started with a traditional Baraat, where Radha rode her bicycle from the entrance of the Winery to the tent where the ceremony would take place. It was an amazing show, as there were almost 400 guests involved in the baraat and ceremony.
In front of the tent, I lead a prayer. I asked everyone to be seated, and then performed the ceremony. The ceremony was very traditional, complete with a prayer to Ganesh, the Mangal Mantras, the Hastmelap, or joining of the hands, the Chedda Chedi, or tying of the knot, Jai mala, or exchange of garlands, the exchange of the Mangalsutra,the Vivah homa, or sacred fire, with the Mangel Fera, or circling of the fire. They had some traditional repeated vows and a ring exchange, and ended the ceremony with the seven steps.
This beautiful melding of cultures was exciting to be a part of. I made sure both brides and their families were represented, and were happy with the traditions being honored. At the end of the day, it is all about what the couple wants, it is their ceremony, and it is a celebration of their love.
On August 14th, Aashika and Alex were married at the beautiful Grand Island Mansion in Walnut Grove. Surrounded by family and friends, I was able to incorporate Alex’s Greek and Celtic heritage within the Hindu ceremony.
I began the ceremony with a prayer to Lord Ganesh, to bless the marriage. I then recited the Mangal Mantras, or prayers to the planet Mars, which represents strength and passion. I incorporated the standard I dos, and they both gave the right answer :).
The bride’s parents then came up and joined us for the Brahma Vivah, or the water ceremony. Aashika’s parents poured water into Alex and Aashika’s palms, symbolizing the passing of family heritage to the next generation. We then performed the Vivah Homa and Mangal Fera, the fire ceremony and the circling of the fire.
To honor Alex’s Greek Orthodox culture, I placed the crowns, or stefana, on their heads. To honor Alex’s Celtic background, we performed a hand fasting ceremony, where the two were bound by the cord of love.
They exchanged some beautiful personalized vows, and performed the ring exchange.
They performed the seven steps, and I removed the crowns. I pronounced them married, and they took their walk down the aisle.
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