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My culture is very much my family.

This is Sonya.

I definitely insisted that you

ask my parents for permission.

And this is Harsh.

I just follow the instructions.

Out of Hinduism

some are vegetarians and some eat meat.

Yeah.

Meat-eaters.

Yeah.

Over the next 72 hours,

theyll dance to Bollywoods greatest hits,

get covered in turmeric,

and ride a wild animal.

I wanted an elephant.

Yeah.

And theyre legal in New Jersey, apparently.

I think it's more about what our parents and

grandparents want, honestly.

I mean I think its really important to them

that the wedding is done in a way that they

think honors certain traditions.

We wont be kissing at the end.

Yeah, theres no kissing.

No.

Even though both their families are Hindu,

Sonya and Harsh come from very different regions

and cultures in India.

The secret trick is the further south in India

theyre from, the more traditional and some

might saynerdythey are.

So I would say...

Culturally, South Indians

the ceremonys the focus of the wedding.

The wedding being somewhat of a

spiritual event.

The surrounding events around it are

quite minimal versus...

Oh, sure.

My familys Punjabi and Punjabis are

known for being loud and boisterous.

In North India, itll be like the marriage

ceremonys going off to the side,

and everbody else is at the bar, eating at the buffet.

And no ones actually watching the

couple get married.

Were committedwell see if we can

pull it offto try to merge the two and

try to do it, you know, in a timely manner.

Today we have the Sangeet.

Its basically a big carnival,

party, festival thing.

Translated from Sanskrit,

Sangeet meanssung together.”

Traditionally, this event was female-only

but in modern times,

both genders participate

in whats become a Bollywood-style talent show.

It has lots of dance performances

from friends and family.

Its really celebratory and its a way

to kick off the whole event.

Its definitely a big part of Punjabi culture

and North Indian culture.

Its less so in South Indian culture.

That being said,

the South Indians definitely bring it.

The morning of the wedding,

the bride and the groom perform the Haldi,

or turmeric ceremony,

in their separate homes.

Family members anoint the bride and groom

with turmeric paste.

Good job!

This ritual purifies the bride and groom,

surrounds them in blessings,

and wards off the Evil Eye.

It has the added benefit of

making your skin glow.

A lot of these traditions are

part beauty, part religious.

In addition to the Haldi,

the bride is gifted a set of 21 red

or maroon bangles for the Choora ceremony.

Your moms brothersso your uncle

helps you put the Choora on.

And then all of your sistersI think

particularly unmarried sisters, unmarried ladies in the

homecome and tie these gold Kalire.

Shaped like coconuts,

Kalire symbolize prosperity.

What I will be wearing is a Sherwani

which is a royal coat of sorts.

Its got a decent amount of gold sparkles

and so youll know Im the groom.

I picked it.

Whats happening now is Im getting some

help getting my outfit on.

It takes a village, as they say.

Red and gold are very traditional auspicious

colors for an Indian wedding and so thats

kind of what Im going with.

Ill be wearing a Lehenga which is basically,

if I had to put it in layman's terms,

its a big skirt and crop top.

Oh Im about to fall! Sorry.

It seems like red goes with my complexion

better than gold.

Going with red.

Oh no! Its starting to pour again.

Lets go!

Its time for the Baraat or bridal procession.

I get to pick an animal of my choosing to

go from my villagethe house next door

to this village to find my bride, right here.

So Im going traditional.

Im going with the white horse

although many people

I wanted an elephant.

Yeah.

By the way, by the way,

do not go till Im on the horse.

That could take me awhile.

So you pull up and my cousins and my siblings

are sort of like, “Well, you know, you want

to come in and take your bride, lets go.

Whats in it for us?”

Theres a couple things

Do they take Amazon gift cards?

They will take Amazon gift cards.

Come on. Lets work on it.

Once he crosses the barrier and my family has

decided that they have been paid enough,

you can come in.

Okay.

Now, its wedding time.

In South Indian tradition,

the bride and groom dont see each other

before certain rituals are performed.

In American weddings,

people come down the aisle and its a big moment

when the groom watches his bride come down.

So we asked Harshs parents if it would

be fine if they would let us see each other,

so we could have that visual.

Arent you glad were going to look at each other?

(Music playing)

Sonya is escorted into the ceremony by her

brothers underneath a Chaadar,

or sheet made from her mothers wedding Sari.

So its really nice to come in with some of

your moms blessings and a little bit of history.

Bit of a tension in there.

You try to kind of angle to get the garland

on first and whoever gets their garland on

first is supposed to have the power,

the upper-hand in the marriage.

(Woman speaking in Hindi)

Sonya and Harsh are now separated

by the Terasalla,

a curtain, for the remainder of the ceremony.

The Jeelakarra Bellam is the main event at

South Indian weddings.

The couple takes a paste of bitter and sweet

herbs and places their hands

on each others heads.

The different flavors are meant to represent

the joys and struggles of life.

Now the curtain can be removed.

(Crowd cheers)

I do pronounce you husband and wife.

(Crowd cheers)

The wedding is like a new start in life.

Its an amazing thing to be able to open

up and be like, “Im taking on a new set

of parents and Im going to love and respect

them just as much as I love and respect

my own parents.”

Sonya and Harsh pulled off their wedding with

a fusion and a twist

and the absence of a kiss.

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