A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Wedding Mania – The reception

Posted by Pepper on March 7, 2011

For some reason, the in laws wanted to have the reception before the wedding ceremony. For my folks, that concept was rather unheard of. But eventually, they did agree. The mania, in a rush to surface, began even before we left for Chennai, where the reception and wedding ceremony were to be held.

We were to reach Chennai a day prior to the reception. On the morning of the departure, I was woken up by mom at 7 am. We had our flight in the next few hours. The moment I opened my eyes, I felt the world around me spin. The  bed I was lying in had turned into a fast paced swing. The walls seemed to be tilting and oscillating, going back and forth. My head felt like it weighed a thousand tons and every object in my vision was doing a dance of its own. It didn’t take me too long to realise that I was terribly dizzy. To make matters worse, I had to deal with severe nausea and ended up retching and throwing up uncontrollably. As expected, my sudden sickness at such a crucial time made my parents hit the panic button.

Medicines were ingested, prayers were said. We left for the airport. I felt weak and limp, but tried to wobble on my unsteady feet. We landed in Chennai. My father in law, along with my family took me to some doctor. Severe vertigo he said, along with low BP. He asked me to take complete rest that day, told me to follow a particular diet, and give me some pills. Hopefully he said, I’ll be okay by the time I have to get on to the stage.

We reached my hotel room and I was made to sleep. Slowly, the other guests started arriving. Seven of my close friends flew in from Mumbai. Everybody was given strict instructions to not disturb me. So I don’t have much of an idea of what happened that day.

The next day, the day of the reception i.e., I woke up feeling a lot better. I still felt weak and had occasional bouts of dizziness. But the nausea was under control and I thanked God for that.

So yes, the fun now officially begins. In the afternoon I was whisked away to the hall in which the reception would be held. Two women arrived to deck me up. The make up was put on. The sari, a very Non-South indian-non silk kind, was draped. It felt heavy as expected, but more than that, it felt a little odd. Like it hadn’t be draped the right way. The pleats seemed formless. I made the usual blunder of ignoring it then. My hair was then tended to. The women insisted I add volume by doing a simple blow dry and leaving it at that. I wish I hadn’t agreed. My mane looked like it had been awkwardly inflated and puffed up.

Once I was ready, the photographers arrived. And then came the painful part of taking pictures. These guys insisted I pretend to be the loony, docile and coy bride that I wasn’t. He asked me to cup my face in my hands and smile and do things I had sworn I wouldn’t do. The worst part was that those guys spoke only Tamil, with a few words of English. My attempts to communicate with them were futile. So I gave up and tried my best to cooperate. But each picture would take about five shots to get right. Because every time I’d end up laughing hysterically, instead of flashing the shy smile that I was expected to. A senior photographer was called and he told me ‘Medum you be laughing too much. Please be sad’.

After a few minutes, the sister came in giggling and told me the guests had started arriving, and my recently taken mock shy bride, falsely coy and blatantly artificial pictures were being displayed on the huge screens in the hall. I was horrified, but more than that, I felt sorry for the guests.

Mint came in, took one look at me and laughed. I should have guessed what a sight I was. Or was it my agonized expression that made it so funny? I don’t know. Take a look at one of the pictures.

And then we were called on to the stage. I needn’t say what followed. Every Indian who has gone through a reception, or even witnessed one will know it already. We had to stand there, faking a smile, developing a serious jaw ache for what seemed like eternity. 1200 guests. Each one wanting to take a picture with us. At one point, after going through the while process of standing and smiling for an hour, I mustered the courage to look at the queue waiting to get on to the stage. All I saw was a slithering python, sliding towards us in slow motion. It brought back the dizziness.

Now this is the worst part – there was a fan standing right behind where I was on stage. The result? A few sections of my hair going wild and flying in all directions, as though experiencing euphoria that comes with the first taste of freedom. This kept annoying me no end, and I constantly pushed away the stray strands that made their way to my face. But I hadn’t even seen the worst part. I realised how awful I looked only after seeing the video. But the rest of the world could see me when it was happening. Why couldn’t anybody come and switch off or take away the fan from there? For them, the whole thing only seemed comical and my in laws laughed as they saw the video. Me? I am still pissed and still trying to forgive the world.

I continued smiling on stage and reached my endurance limit. Unfortunately, I could do nothing to escape it. How can any human keep that smile intact, every second for hours? It was as though the world would explode the moment I stopped smiling. Understandably, the back began to ache, the weakness returned and brought with it a an added sense of grumpiness. At some point, the smile was replaced by a murderous glare. All I had to do was sprout an extra pair or arms, hold a blood soaked dagger and stick to my tongue out and I’d have the world falling at my feet in worship. They’d think Goddess Kali herself has descended on earth.

And oh, the videos. The amazing animation, special effects and graphics of the video definitely deserve a mention. On all the screens present in the hall, people could see interesting scenes being played out. Animated characters driving on the highway, and pointing to big hoardings with our pictures plastered on it. Our faces replacing fruits and flowers and hanging off trees., big hearts coming together with our faces flashing inside.  There even was a shot in which my head splits into ten segments and hovers around the atmosphere, before coming back and becoming a whole. I thought the video guy must’ve been a genius to think of this. Wonder how he knew that is exactly what I felt was happening to me.

I was truly glad when the evening came to en end. The only good part of the whole deal was Mint. While we were both standing on stage, he put his sense of humour to good use. Through gritted teeth and forced smiles, he’d whisper his comments to me. Comments that would be so amusing, they’d make me pray I don’t seem like the lunatic bride due to my sudden bursts of laughter.

The food this time was great! Unfortunately I was too exhausted to have much of an appetite. I  tasted everything and we had the customary pictures of the bride and groom feeding each other. And more pictures with family in the end. I was relieved when it was all over, but anxious all the same. Early in the morning the next day, we had the wedding ceremony.  Till then..

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45 Responses to “Wedding Mania – The reception”

  1. The reception…Oh, the pain!

    Next time I have one ( just for argument sake baba ), will definitely do it sitting on a chair.

    Tiring is all I remember, with all the forced smiling of course.

    And hey, whats wrong with the saree and you..looks perfect to me 🙂

  2. Oooh, the saree looks lovely and I’m guessing it was heavy from all the work on it?

    Glad you were fine on the reception day. And yeah, I know the plight that comes with attending to 1200 guests. Mine had a similar number too. After sometime, it felt so hard to even move my face muscles any way! People in the first row (read: my cousins, aunts :P) were making smiley images in the air to tell me to smile 😛 What an effort that was! And yeah, appetite or not, on your big day you just cannot eat!

    • Pepper said

      The sari was heavy. Though not as heavy as my previous lehenga 🙂
      Yours too?? Same here. My family in the front row kept reminding me to smile. Such tedious effort!

  3. R's Mom said

    Thats a very Tambram custom I think..having the reception before the wedding…loads of my relatives have done that in recent past..and honestly Pepper..even without seeing your face..I am sure you looked goregous from the photo which you have put up 🙂 and LOL on the standing through out and taking photos..it sure is the worst thing ever 🙂

  4. S said

    I observed that there are these quintessential elements of an “indian” wedding.. be it anywhere in the country 🙂 my sister went thru the same exasperation smiling, rather not coyly, for pictures.. and the horrendous video… with things flying here n there.. and the pictures of bride n groom feeding each other 🙂
    all memories came gushing back 🙂

    u look pretty and petite in that picture 🙂

    But reception before wedding? ye toh kabhi nahi suna!

    • Pepper said

      Ye South India mein hota hai. 🙂

      Yes, almost all Indian weddings have the same elements. Oh, I am petite. Don’t know if that is good or bad?

  5. Ashwathy said

    Reception ceremony BEFORE the wedding? Even I feel it’s a li’l weird….but yea some ppl have it that way…

    ROFL @ medum u are laughing too much, pls be sad!!! Hahahah!!! 😆

    OMG!! Wot special effects in the video !!
    There even was a shot in which my head splits into ten segments and hovers around the atmosphere, before coming back and becoming a whole. I thought the video guy must’ve been a genius to think of this. Wonder how he knew that is exactly what I felt was happening to me.
    That video guy is priceless….uski charan sparsh karna chahiye!! 😛

  6. Saritha said

    Wonderful saree,loved the colour.Me too didnt like the photographer asking to pose for the pics,i hated that part,told them i don’t want.

    Most of weddings in andhra starts with reception first then the marriage and most of the marriages are during midnight 12.00 to early morning 3.00,where only bride,bridegroom and pundit are not sleeping rest everyone will be sleeping.

    • Pepper said

      Oh is it? At that hour, I don’t know how even the bride and the groom are awake. Maybe its only the pandit reciting the mantras all to himself 😛

  7. Seriously receptions are the worst and i had two of them….Damn!! by the end of it, my smile would not come back to his normal size. If anyone spoke to me post reception, they were greeted by my 43 teeth. First day of honeymoon – see camera, show 43 teeth…it was only by the end of the honeymoon that i could look at a camera and show only 28 teeth

  8. Bikram said

    oooooooooooohhh lovely sorry to hear about the feeling sick part but all’s well that ends well ..

    You enjoyed and had fun excellent .. and the FAN well Why did you not call someone and tell them to change it .. easy done .. anyone 🙂

    SO now the D day mmmmmm tell tell 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I didn’t ask anybody to take away the fan cos I didn’t realise how horrifying it made me look. I thought it were just a few strands of hair misbehaving, and that wouldn’t be such a drastic problem. If only I could see myself then … 😦

  9. Chatterbox said

    Wow! you must have looked awesome in that Saree 😛

    I guess smiling for what feels like ages for all the guests is the most difficult and tiring part of every wedding 😀

    I too had felt the same way,but me and hubby both were trying our best to keep each other entertained with comments and jokes with gritted teeth to keep us smiling all through the function 😛 😛

  10. Ram Pyaari said

    lols that was such a fun desciption (fun for me though, certainly not for you ) hahahaha…and that bit about’medum please be sad’ was howlarious!!!

  11. ajay said

    The cameraman asked you to be sad!? 😀 What one has to go through in their wedding! To keep smiling for everyone would have been the most difficult part.

  12. Comfy said

    Oh the video and the fun animation that gets added.. aah what can I say about them. But But give it time. They will be the best entertainment when you are desperate need for laughs. 😀 😀

  13. neha said

    lol..I can so relate to the reception video thingy..I had a big fat bengali wedding, and the video person had done similar stuff(hearts with our faces bouncing together, racing each other and what not), and to top it off, some bengali songs playing in the background. Now, because im a maharashtrian, and dont understand any bengali, they sounded so hilarious coupled with the animation!! And I actually barfed when i saw later how much i have smiled in the video 😐

  14. Your post is interesting as always 🙂 But i find the reception preceding the marriage still very odd…never seen it before! I can imagine how weird it would be to be wished by 1200 guests when you are not even married 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Yes we found the idea quite odd too. But as I found out, it isn’t that uncommon in the south 🙂 Being asked to face 1200 people and pose for snaps is weird, whether you’re married or not 😀

  15. oi drama queen. you look perfect! that saree is so beautiful!

    The reception is not reception per se, but is the reception of the groom( or called maapillai azhaipu. maapillai-> groom, azhaipu -> welcoming). As the weddings are traditionally conducted by the bride’s side, this ceremony was intended to welcome the groom and his family, and give an occasion for the two families’ extended families to mix well. Later on, because of time, energy and money constraints, the engagement got added to this “reception” as well.

    the other modern version of reception(after the wedding is entirely different from this one, but for some reason people mix it up, probably because both are called reception.

    so as it is with customs, this one assumed a meaning of its own too 🙂

    700 + 1500 + 500. That’s the count of people in our case, with whom we had to pretend that we were oh so overjoyed to meet them *sigh*.

    do you know you are becoming the queen of tags/post prompts. Every time i read a post here, and it makes me want to write down my experiences too! you write so damn well.

    • Pepper said

      Drama queen? Who me? *Looks innocently*

      Oh, so that’s what its all about! Thanks for educating me, again! If they told us the history behind each custom, it would make everything so much easier.

      You had to deal with 2700 people??? *FAINTS* And you’re still alive? We should celebrate!
      Please, please go and write about your wedding. Such things should not go undocumented. Beside, I’d love to hear your funny takes on it 😀

  16. Oregano said

    lol the horrors of marriage!

  17. mahes said

    From what I can see, you look lovely. We did not have reception but had my fair share of torture during engagement. I think ‘Mappilai Allaippu’ aka ‘Groom’s arrival’ to the mandap eventually morphed into reception. Many people attend only the evening function and wish the couple. It’s very common in Tamil Nadu.

  18. hmm from the 3/4 of what I got to see in the pic…I must say you look pretty and I for one know you don’t like pretty people…dontcha? 😉

    sigh you went through all that for just getting married? 🙄 Your post makes me feel less guilty for eloping and getting married only among friends 😆

  19. scorpria said

    If there’s one reason I’ll never marry again, it’s the pain of the celebrations and the fake smiles :d Ooooh..of course another reason is that I have a good husband too 😀

    Good read…waiting fr th next post 😉

  20. soulmate said

    Good to break the rules… Reception before the wedding…
    Lovely saree it is… Congrats..

  21. […] and reminiscence. A flash back episode made me revisit the wedding madness. The cocktail party, the reception, the wedding ceremony, all brought back some fun […]

  22. Shweta said

    You are simply H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S!!!

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