Mimi and Tanner, coming from Hindu, Baptist and Catholic backgrounds, wanted to honor and include all the traditions in their ceremony so they contacted Guru Shukla (a Hindu Priest) and myself to work with them to create a ceremony that would do exactly that. I have worked with Guru Shukla before and his ceremonies are always special for he takes the time to explain to all assembled what the significance is of each portion of the Hindu wedding ceremony. Because at their root all religions profess the same values, it is much easier than one might expect to blend the Hindu and Christian texts and traditions to create a beautiful ceremony - and this wedding was quite touching with the mix chosen by Mimi and Tanner.
Here is a photo of Guru Shukla as he sets up the stage for the Hindu portions of the ceremony. Normally, a Hindu wedding takes many hours, but our ceremony had to be limited because of time constraints.
The ceremony took place in the beautiful old Forest Theater on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill. The theater dates back to 1916, when it was first used as an outdoor theater. Hewn from the rock of the hill on which it sits, there is a marvelous old world charm about it that I love
This photo is Guru Shukla in the side entrance to the stage. You can see the stones used in the wall from the building of the theater.
This next photo is the amphitheater seating cut into the stone, going up the side of the hill. (It is much more steep than it looks here.)
And here is the actual stage itself, set up for our ceremony. The ceremony took place within the yellow rose petals strewn on the ground. The chairs on each side were for the parents to sit and participate in the ceremony. The dark spots in a line on the right center of the photo are actually leaves that mark the Seven important elements of a couple’s life together and therefore the seven steps that are required to begin them. Looking carefully at the far chairs, you can also see the two garlands that the Bride and Groom will exchange during the ceremony.
Because the ceremony was to be about including everyone, there were no specific dress styles required. Some wore western style clothing and some wore saris, but all the bridesmaid dresses were soft neutral tones that picked up the various colors of the stones. I thought Mimi’s dress was one of the most exquisite wedding gowns I had ever seen and she looked beautiful in it. It had the perfect feel for their wedding in Nature. And Tanner’s tennis shoes - what a great, unexpected touch!
Mimi and Tanner were initially attracted to each other because of their shared love of philosophy so it came as no surprise when they told me they wanted to write something to each other and keep it secret until the wedding. As you might imagine, their choices were personal and touching and Tanner’s was a poem he wrote for Mimi. Couched inside both readings were secret meanings that only they understood and I could see that they were both affected by each other’s words. It was another sweet part of the ceremony.
Mimi and Tanner are soon to move to New York to start out on a new phase of their lives, but I know they will always hold a special place in their hearts for the unique way they chose to begin their married life. Being pronounced husband and wife in both the Hindu and Christian traditions, they go forward with the blessings of all those who love them dearly.
Other vendors on hand to make the wedding a success;
Wedding Planner - Cara Zuelke of A Southern Soiree (what an INCREDIBLE job she did!!)
Photographer - Meredith Davenport of Christian Oth Studios
Sound Equipment - Ken Holmes of Joe Bunn DJ Company
Musicians - Elegant Ensembles