I will describe the ceremony as I recall it, although there were so many aspects to it that I'm sure I will miss some. It was a traditional SriLankan ceremony.
The wedding started with the grooms family, his attendants, and traditional Sri Lankan drummers and dancers waiting for Justin. He was taken away from the hotel minutes before and was to make a ceremonial enterence. He was driven up in a car, decorated with flowers and got out of the car and greeted us all. The dancers/drummers proceeded him into the hotel. We walked behind, hotel guests gathered to watch and take photos. It was that cool!
We all made our way up tenth floor where the wedding was to take place. The dancers/drummers proceeded us again and when we came to the enterence of the hall, a younger cousin Harshana's, washed Justin's shoes and then Justin dropped a ring into a glass of water. The symbolism of the washing of the feet was a welcome to Justin and the dropping of the ring (not their wedding rings, another ring) symbolized Justin's appreciation. Once this was done, we walked in to greet Harshana's family. We were then taken to the area where the marraige recording would take place. Justin and Jay were seated at the table. I stood beside the table. The dancers/drummers came in again as Harshana was escorted in by her parents, followed by her attendants. She wore a gorgeous dress and a long veil. After the dancing/drumming, she was seated at the table with her father, her mother stood beside them. The registrar performed a legal ceremony and vows were recited. Both fathers and the bride and groom signed the paperwork. I then came around and lifted Harshana's veil and hugged her and welcomed her to our family and then I hugged Justin. This was the legal portion of the ceremony.
At the right time, we moved to the traditional portion of the ceremony. Justin and Harshanawere ceremoniously helped by their fathers, stepping with their right foot first, on to a platform, called a poruwa. Their were a number of things that happened here.
The exchahange of rings, the betel leaves signifying seven generations, the tying of the pinkie fingers signifying unity, the gifts to the parents as a show of respect and thanks for raising the bride and groom, the feeding eash other milk and rice signifying that they will take care of other, the lighting of the oil lamp and presentation of the saree all occurred on the poruwa. After the ceremony was done, a coconut was chopped in half with a big machete! Some dry ice was put into white liquid to make it bubble over, signifying boiling milk, which is for prosperity. The cake was then cut, Justin and Harshana fed each other cake, then their attendants and other family came up and took a piece of cake and ate it. The cake was coffee flavored, so delicious! Celebration music started playing. Later came the food - huge amounts of delicious Sri Lankan food and then dancing.
Bride and Groom, Harshana is holding her extremely long veil train.
The wedding party table.
I loved my saree.
Harshana's hair was full of flowers and the back of her saree was stunning.
This group all attended Concordia College together.
Jerry and Carol made the long trip to see Justin married. Carol's saree was beautiful.