Take a look at part one for the build-up to the wedding, including the Baraat – the part where Shawn rode in on a horse (traditionally an elephant) down the street.
After dismounting said horse, the Milni ceremony occurred – literally a ‘coming together’ of the two families. A member from each side of the bride and groom’s family welcomed each other and then went on to try and lift their counterpart off the ground. Some were more competitive than others…
We proceeded into the church and waited for the bride. Sadly I don’t have any photos of Jillian from the church; you will just have to believe me when I tell you she looked great. Shawn scrubbed up pretty well too. Embarrassingly, I always remember what the cynical wedding writer from the film “27 Dresses” said about how he liked to watch the groom’s reaction when the bride enters the church. Shawn was smitten.
The Father and Pandit (a Hindu priest, I believe) guided everyone through the service. There were readings from siblings and bridesmaids, fathers and best men; exchanging of garlands, mangalsutra (a necklace) and rings; even a sacred fire.
As it was such a lovely day, a few of us walked to the reception at Dows Lake Pavillion. Several G&Ts later while having a laugh at baby photos of Jillian and Shawn, the wedding party arrived.
The speeches were funny, yet heartfelt. I know how tough it is to make a speech at a wedding, but everyone nailed it. Miguel, one of the best men, got me choked up mid-way through before making me burst out with laughter.
Everything about the whole day was awesome and the days leading up to it too. Jillian and Shawn’s first dance was pretty special. They had told me beforehand they had been practising a traditional Indian dance and the whole audience was captivated.
We also got an expert dance lesson from Shawn’s sister, Sonia. I spoke about learning some banging Bhangra dance moves. They were all courtesy of her. Move #1: twist a lightbulb. Move #2: twist two lightbulbs. Move #3: the flirty hip. Combine all three and you’ve got it!
To top it all off, there was a dance-off. Team Jillian versus team Shawn. I secretly wanted to be selected and whack out my notorious shapes, but it wasn’t to be. I’m sure I would have stolen the show anyway.
The party went on late into the night and we were treated to midnight poutine. Friends from home will have to Google it. Imagine the best chips, cheese and gravy you’ve ever had.
More dancing, more drinking and more photo-booth photos ensued. It was safe to say everyone had a wicked night.
Somehow, the next morning, my hangover wasn’t nearly as bad as it should have been. I guess the wonderful dinner, poutine and all the dancing helped. Everyone else was looking fairly fresh-faced too for brunch at a local art gallery. A chance for everyone to say goodbye to each other before their journeys onward. And the perfect opportunity to thank Jillian, Shawn and their families for an incredible time.
Hopefully it won’t be another five years till I see Jillian and the others again. Who knows, maybe the Scotland hiking guides will inspire them to. Or maybe I’ll even be living in Canada.