The Indian wedding ceremony is marked by numerous customs and elements with the mandap being the focus. Featured bride Rashna says, “The ceremony is where my culture was really put on display.” She took full advantage of the Bronx Zoo’s unique architectural features to create a captivating atmosphere that expressed her and Sean’s modern sentiment for tradition.
Part 3: Ceremony & Mandap
A remarkable scene awaited guests as they gathered into the Keith W. Johnson Zoo Center. While the building is used for scientific study and exhibition, it has a dramatic and spiritual feel. Rashna remarks, “The space is so beautiful and features a soaring dome with arches and niches. It really added an amazing affect to everything.”
The bride chose décor that brought warmth and intimacy to the cavernous interior. The aisle was lined with gold lanterns containing ivory pillar candles and greenery. “I knew I wanted my mandap to be covered in white florals,” she says. Constructed of woven wisteria branches, the four-pillar structure featured lush greenery embellished with cascading white delphinium and stock. Gold lanterns at the base highlighted the gorgeous blooms, adding a sense of enchanted romance to the setting.
“Each ceremony is different, depending on the region of India you are from. I’m South Indian. This was represented in many ceremonial aspects,” Rashna explains. “And similar to Western culture, the bride comes out with her family and is presented to the groom. Here’s where we spun tradition. I was already there waiting under the mandap for Sean to come to me.”
The bride and groom joined each other on their royal chairs. Their parents were seated on side chairs and a pedestal with a sacred fire was positioned at the center. A Hindu priest led the ceremony, guiding the couple in performing the important rituals that sealed their bond for life. Rashna points out, “As we were receiving blessings, I put the floral garland around Sean’s neck, and he put it around mine. It symbolizes marriage.”
The strongest relationships are built on acceptance and understanding. Rashna and Sean’s union reflected this thought in so many ways. She looks back and says, “My favorite moment was the ceremony. Having Sean respect my culture and beliefs meant the world to me. The ceremony proved he really did love me in my eyes.”
Stay tuned for next week when Rashna shares the final chapter in her Real BB Wedding Story.
Couple’s Vendor List
Venue: Bronx Zoo
Photographer: Dideo Films Photography
Bride’s Attire: Traditonal Kanjeevaram silk saree (ceremony) and reception lehenga by Tarun Tahiliani
Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin (ceremony) and Tamara Mellon (reception)
Groom’s Tux: Allen David (reception)
Cake: Butterfly Bakeshop
Caterer: Moghul Caterers and Bronx Zoo
Hair: Liz Lazo
Makeup: Patricia Longo
Music: 74 Events
Lighting: Frost Productions