Tag Archives: weddings

[UK 2011] It’s a Hindu Wedding: Ajay + Angel

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The main reason why we were in the UK finally arrived: the day of Angel’s wedding to Ajay. To give you a tidbit of their love story, Angel met Ajay when we were about 19 or 20. Ajay did a kind of a modern knight-in-shining armour (note the British spelling, hehe) thing for Angel, avenging her from a douchey sort-of ex-boyfriend. They’re living proof that love does conquer not only distance, but also a vast difference in culture and upbringing. Ajay is Hindu and was born and raised in London while Angel is a “good” Catholic girl who was raised with people like me, so that does not bode well in terms of maturity and social skills (though she did turn out better than most of us :P).

I always think about them whenever I encounter this quote:

“Absence does for love what the wind does for a flame: it extinguishes the weak, and feeds the strong.”

The day of the wedding started early for us, with most of the wedding party heading to the venue to prep. Dale, on the other hand, went with Angel to the salon because a male “family member” should be with her at all times. Well, that or Dale just really wanted some pampering time. Pat and I got into our Indian suits, which really did not suit us at all. Yeah, they were pretty, but mostly worn by the middle-aged wedding guests, while the girls our age wore saris. No big deal, Sam worked his magic on our faces and damn she’s good!

Pat and I with the glowing bride. Thanks to a professional makeup artist, we simulated "glowing" too.

Here’s some more pictures of the bride, and details of her wedding gown.

The beautiful bride checking her hair.

Beadwork adorning the bodice and the skirt of her gown.

I feel like I, or even the official photographer, didn’t take enough photos of the bride pre-ceremony. I don’t know, maybe I’m just used to the Filipino (and Western) way of everyone fussing over the bride and taking a gazillion photos of her. But it’s less stressful this way, I guess. Personally, I just wish I had better pictures to show you.

The guys looked very dashing in their tuxes. They played a prominent role in the ceremony, since Angel only had biological sisters and the Hindu ceremony calls for male members of the bride’s family.

Dale, Vince, Jerome - the brodesmaids!

Before it was time for the actual wedding ceremony, there was a ritual of the groom’s family dancing towards the bride’s home. I’ve seen this in many Bollywood movies (okay, in “Bride and Prejudice”). In this case, since the bride’s actual home is a long way from London, the reception hall served as a makeshift home for the family of the bride– sans the bride– to welcome the groom’s family. Sadly, there were no elephants, but I got over it quickly.

Sincerely hoping that was Ajay under the veil.

After a lot of hugging, it was time to go down and prep the bride. Four of us girls (me, Pat, Princess, and Sam) were carrying the canopy which Angel will walk under and we hid with the bride until it was time to go. And then… the bride was revealed to everyone. Fortunately, there was no dancing involved in this part.

I am excellent at canopy-holding!

The bride and the groom

The wedding ceremony was in Sanskrit, which not even the bride and groom understood fully. Or at all. Some of it was translated in English, but there were jokes or maybe stories in Hindu that we just had to smile through. Other than that and the priest’s unfortunate see-through pants (unfortunate for us at the front), the ceremony was beautiful, colorful, and unlike anything I’ve witnessed live before. It was fascinating to see the difference in a Hindu traditional wedding vs. a Filipino one.

The look of la-la-love!

I like how much the families are involved in the ceremony. They have roles not limited to the start and end of the wedding.

The "bros" had a lot of things to do during the ceremony

I knew this wedding was a long time coming– and haven’t we been celebrating for a week now?– but I couldn’t help thinking the entire time, “This is it. Finally!” Not even ashamed to admit, I teared up a little bit. Angel was the first one to get married in our group and I wouldn’t have missed this for anything.

After the ceremony, we had to wait a while before the bride and groom enters the reception, so Pat and I had time to transform from these:

Prim and proper in our Indian suits

…to these!

"Slut up!" was the theme of the reception

This picture does not capture how short this dress is. Thanks sis!

Ajay made a cute intro video for the reception which I can’t post here in all its awesomeness, as it’s password protected. It’s one of the most unique wedding videos I’ve ever seen. It starts with Ajay sleeping on a hotel… pshh, it’s not going to be as good when I just narrate the thing. Just take my word for it, it was mega-awesome. Perks of having a professional filmmaker for a husband.

By this time, I’ve mostly forgotten about my camera and just ate, drank, danced and repeated the three in varying rate and frequency. I probably did the drinking the most because a) the lychee martini was delicious and b) Ben the bartender was Aaron Ramsey-cute. My lame attempts at flirting got me nowhere, so I did what I did best: talked about football. Which mostly got his attention away from the other simpering females who knew nothing of last season’s results. WIN.

I got so by the end of the night, I fell asleep on the ride home. Then the carriage turned back into a pumpkin. 🙂

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A Colorful Night of Indulgence (Iche’s Bridal Shower)

Richelle Lani “Iche” Taruc, my fellow UP KEM alumna turned work mentor is set to get married on Oct 22, 2011. Before she does that, however, the girls from the team decided to give her a bridal shower. Nothing too risqué — just a night of fun, relaxation, with a bit of naughtiness. Egay and I spearheaded the shower and we couldn’t decide between a chocoholic or a spa night theme, so we decided to do both. Hence, the “Indulgence” theme.

We initially wanted to go with this color palette:

I was not 100% sold on it though, as I am not a pastels kind of girl, but the brown does go wtih the chocolate theme of the party and the subdued colors could be very relaxing for a spa night. Because of some cute and cheap serving plates that we saw when we were buying supplies, we decided to change our color scheme to this one:

Well, more or less this scheme. We had to work with what SM Makati has to offer us. (No, they don’t have it all because they don’t have neon green Japanese paper.)

I didn’t manage to get a picture of the invite we gave to Iche. Just as well, because the layout was hastily photoshopped and we had to work with a black and white printer (thanks, office!). What I did was buy Meiji Black chocolate , popped it out of its box, and wrap the thing in the custom cover I printed in the office. It’s not the most original thing — I’ve actually done this before, but as a souvenir and not as an invite.

Only Iche got this special invite. The guests were all notified via Outlook (hey, budget!) on what to wear, where to go, and what time. I asked them to come an hour earlier than the bride-to-be so we can prepare and be ready when the guest of honor arrived. The venue was at the Linden Suites in Ortigas, which had pretty great suites that have their own kitchen and dining area. Marj got us an employee discount via her brother-in-law, which was awesome.

Since there was no time for the grand decoration ideas Egay and I had in mind, we just stuck to the very basics of the plan.

Letter lamps made from paper cups, tea lights, and japanese paper (Photo by Mils)

Citrus-colored “Almost Married” banner

The food, plates, and even the drinks also added to the decoration as most went with the color palette.

All sorts of sweets

Make your own s’mores – it was a hit!

Colorful cocktail mixes

The night started with pampering. We contacted Nails At Home to do mani-pedis. Their rates are reasonable, and their pedi comes with a foot soak and a foot rub. The manicure came with a hand massage and it felt sooo good. You have to add 30 if you want polish. They use Orly nail polish.

The bride getting her pamper on

For appetizers, we had crackers with two kinds of spread (honey butter and pesto) and cocktail hotdogs. Dinner was a simple fare of salad greens, roast chicken, and rice.

The chicken was delicious!

After dinner, it was time to turn the party up a notch so the cocktail drinks were served and we started the games. But not before we had Iche change into Ria’s gift, a really nice satin teddy of salmon pink.

The first game was for the bride-to-be. We printed five different faces, one of which was her husband-to-be, two were of celebrities, and the other two were… special. Jing, Dada, Marj, Leah and Bebang each carried a face. Iche was blindfolded and lipsticked and she had to choose a face to kiss. It was hilarious! Her first choice was her fiance, which was really cool, but then she changed her mind and went and kissed the last person she wants to kiss in real life! I was literally on the floor, clutching my stomach with laughter.

Eenie meenie… (Photo by Mils)

The next game, hosted by Jing, was Vow Mad Libs. I printed out the standard vows (I [name], take thee to be your lawfully wedded…) but removed some words for the group to fill-up. The guests were divvied up into four groups, I think, and were given sheets with numbers and what kind of words they had to answer (verb, adjective, etc.). Then Jing and I gave them the cheat sheet with the vow and they had to read the completed work. “I will lick you as long as we both shall live” came up on one of the vows, along with the name “Rodolfo”.

The last game was the male genitalia sculpture contest. I had my bets on who would win (Marj), but Pat surprised us all with her eerily detailed clay penis that impressed the judge, Egay.

Busy with their penises…

After more drinks, snacks, and gossip, it was time to call it a night. Some others stayed up and talked about god knows what (probably more gossip), but I was too knackered to participate. The best thing about holding this party in a hotel is that you could drop to sleep anywhere in the room.

The morning was mostly for chilling, with a bit of breakfast of milk tea and honey butter toast. Then it was time to leave the magical world of the hotel and face reality, but not before I had a long soak in the tub. 🙂

[UK 2011] Stonehenge! Mehndi Night! Pimms*!

*not really a significant part of the day, but just two exclamation!topics felt wrong. Also, the Pimms was awesome.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

If I haven’t mentioned it in past posts or you’ve never watched Bollywood movies with a wedding in it (you totally should), traditional Hindu weddings last a few days. The fifth of May was reserved for Mehndi Night. We focused on the ‘night’ part of the event so we thought, hey, why not make the most of our morning and go to Stonehenge? After all, we can’t consider this UK trip complete without visiting it. Never mind that Salisbury was hours away by train. We booked a tour that would take us quickly through the charming town of Salisbury, with the climax being the Stonehenge tour.

On board the tour bus!

The first sight of Stonehenge was actually the most exciting bit. It was like, we were there! It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site! These stones are ancient! They’re probably the portal to a Narnia/hell/center of the Earth! Or not!

First sighting

And then when we were finally there, it was okay for five minutes, but afterwards… it is not for me. /Cesc voice

Kidding aside, it did get a bit old in the end. The audio tour was fascinating, but you can only take so many pictures of rocks without lapsing into cheesy/cliche camera magic poses in front of it. Still, one other thing ticked off my list of places to see. (Only 1,087 more to go!)

Can't touch this (Hammer time!)

Not built by the Druids, according to the audio tour.

There was a lot of sheep around. Yeah, that’s worth blogging.

After a bit of souvenir-shopping, we hopped on the tour bus and went back to London (via train, not by the bus). We barely had enough time to clean ourselves up (actually, there was virtually no primping involved) before we had to go over to the Arora’s for the Mehndi Night. The Mehndi Night is when the bride gets henna done on her hands and feet. The females of the bridal party also get their mehndi done.

Angel's mehndi. Really cool.

Sounds fun, right? Only if you weren’t treated differently from the other guests because you’re not one of them. Not only did we keep getting cut in line by random aunties – this was actually okay, respect for elders and all – but the mehndi lady herself was not at all too keen on putting mehndi on us non-Indian folks. Well, so-orry, but we were the bridal party, like it or not. Anyway, it was 50% annoying and 50% humiliating. But moving on…

What made it all worth it was seeing the bride so happy

My mehndi - didn't turn out so bad in the end

You have to lemon juice the hell out of these things though, to make them turn out darker after the excess peels off. The belief is that the darker it turns out, the greater the love your significant other has for you or something like that. Mine was practically faded by the time of the wedding (day after next), so yeah, no great love for me. Or it could be due to the fact that I have perpetually cold hands and feet and the mehndi gets darker with more body heat.

Can't be tamed (Sidenote: Woah, Pat, that cleavage is top class!)

And since I mentioned Pimms in my title, I guess it’s only right that I post a picture of it. After all, it helped us breeze through the night and turned Dale into a social butterfly extraordinaire.

Should have stocked up on this!

[UK 2011] Sangeet!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

We woke up to a bright blue, cloudless sky– a rare occurrence in London, or so everybody kept telling us. Not that it mattered. We could have woken up to a gray overcast and we’d still think everything was peachy.

The view from our hotel in Croydon that first day in that wonderful city

Our first foray into the outside world involved the search for something to eat. As soon as we got out of the building, we realized that even with the blinding sun, the brisk winds of London made my decision to wear slippers a pretty bad idea in hindsight. We rushed to the warmth of a supermarket where everything was new to my eyes, so I wanted to buy a whole bunch of stuff. Thankfully, I have not adjusted yet to the cost of living there as compared to this third world country, so I only got what was necessary at the time. Pat and Dale, however, somehow managed to quickly acclimate.

Jerome enjoys Saintsbury's yogurt section

This day was reserved specifically for the Ajay & Angel’s Sangeet, so after breakfast and staying too long in the shower because the hot water felt really, really good, we headed out to the Arora house to prepare. Since it was our first day out, Angel thought (rightly) that it would be better to take one of the red double-decker buses instead of the train even though the latter will be much faster. This alone is fairly exciting, as riding a double-decker bus in London is in my bucket list.

I might have taken a couple dozen pics of double-decker buses on the first day. 😛

Enjoying the sights on the top deck of the bus

When we got to the Arora house, we learn what a Sangeet really is… It’s a dance-till-you-drop, how-dare-you-rest, come-on-get-up-and-dance-again pre-wedding party. Ajay’s brother kindly showed us a few Bollywood videos to educate us. Seems easy enough, except consider this: we just had a long flight, the Sangeet was a few hours long, and Pat and I were wearing insanely hot, but high and painful heels.

Pat and I, after a professional makeup artist got ahold of us. See those heels? Killer!

Despite the heels and the general fatigue, we had a great time. No, we didn’t exactly follow the Bollywood-style steps, but no one really cared. We just danced, danced, danced. And ate and drank and between. Oh, did I forget to tell you about the open bar?

The then bride-to-be wore a knock-out one-shouldered dress that was yellow at the bottom, but gradually faded to white on top. The bodice is peppered with crystals in a sort of swirly design. The groom wore a rust-colored formal Indian menswear called a Kurta.

The bride and groom opens the dancing

At the end of the night, our energy levels dropped from vacation adrenaline to zero. I’m talking about falling asleep on our seats here. Or in my case, looking longingly at a partially-hidden corner, where I could curl up and nap. I realize now that I’ve forgotten how it is exactly that we got back to our hotel, but we did.