Room and Kartik celebrated a beautiful fusion Hindu wedding ceremony. They initially started off their wedding festivities by getting formally engaged with a small Puja earlier in the year and a few weeks ago Rooma had a small Bengali Holud + Mehndi filled with vibrant colours and plethora of performances. 21st August 2015 was when they finally got married and their ceremony was one for the books.
Rooma and Kartik had a fateful encounter on October 13, 2013 at the Hindu Temple in London on the 9th day of Durga Pooja (festival celebrated in honour of the Hindu goddess Durga over a period of 9 days). Rooma and her brother were serving lunch to everyone so they were the last ones to eat and there was hardly any empty chairs in the dining areas. So although they would normally sit with their family for lunch, on this day her brother decided to join a family friend’s son (who happened to be Kartik’s best friend and roommate at University) at his table which had some chairs available. This also happned to be the table where Kartik was eating. She followed her brother to this table. The rest, as they say, is history!
Rooma stated that sometimes she sits back to take a moment to think about the astronomical odds they overcame just to meet. They went to different universities in different cities. When they had met, Kartik had moved to Calgary for his co-op terms and had come to London to see his family for that weekend only. His flight back to Calgary was just a few hours after they had met. Thie was the only time he had come home during that entire internship period in Calgary.
So it had to be that weekend in 2013, the same day, the same location, the same time and that very same table. All the stars aligned perfectly for them that fateful day of Durga Pooja!
Kartik kept the proposal very intimate. It all happened in his house in London. They were on their way to a sushi lunch, when he realised he had ‘forgotten’ something and he had Rooma come over to his home to ‘help him look for it’. When she walked in, to her surprise, she was surrounded by pink rose petals and candles everywhere. He also had heart-shaped shortbread cookies on the table that he had made with the help of her mother-in-law and a picture of their love-lock which he had placed on the Ponte Milvio bridge in Rome. The rose petals and candles spelled out the big question, “Will you marry me?”. Before Rooma could say anything, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him!
It was so perfect!
He’d also learned how to say ‘I love you’ in Bengali and it was the sweetest thing.
And of course he had arranged for a celebratory lunch for them with sushi from their favourite restaurant. This is a day she could relive all over again! They also had a big Indian engagement ceremony three months before they got married.
Rooma answered some questions below regarding their wedding planning and offers advice for other multicultural couples planning their wedding.
I come from a Bengali family and Kartik is from a South Indian Tamil Iyer family, but we decided to have a fusion ceremony rather than two separate Tamil Iyer and Bengali weddings as we felt that this would not be a true reflection of our future household where both their cultures would be intertwined.
Most Indian weddings have very similar core rituals and the same Vedic chants in Sanskrit with a few cultural difference that vary from province to province. The result for us was a beautiful ceremony that merged and honoured both both our traditions and families – it was just beautiful!
Kartik and his family received a traditional Bengali welcome; I dressed as a Tamil Iyer bride in a silk Madisar 9 yards saree while also wearing my traditional Bengali conch-shell and red-coral bangles – Shakha & Paula. We had beautiful music coming from traditional South Indian instruments – the Nadaswaram and Mridangam; Kartik tied the Thirumangalyam around my neck and also applied Sindoor (vermillion) on the parting of my hair – symbols of our marriage from both the Tamil Iyer and Bengali cultures respectively.
Every ritual was deeply symbolic and reflected the involvement of the whole family in our union. We’d also printed brochures for each one of our guests with a description of every ritual that was to take place so they could understand and appreciate their significance.
It was such a beautiful blend of both our cultures – more beautiful than I had imagined.
Advice to other multicultural couples
Planning a multicultural wedding is fun, exciting and also nerve-wrecking sometimes, but the key is to respect, accept, and celebrate each others’ cultures and traditions – both Kartik and I educated ourselves on each other’s
We saw this as a merger of two families so we also had regular meetings with both our families who were very supportive – this effective communication was key so that we were all on the same page from the very beginning. In simple words, be patient, understanding, and on the day of the wedding, don’t get caught up in the details – just concentrate on the bigger picture and focus on what really matters to you.
Relax and savour every single moment of the day because it goes by so quickly – nothing else matters. Don’t worry about absolute perfection because it’s the things that sometimes don’t go as planned that turn out the best. Just have fun and live the moment, because it will be over before you know it. Spend a lot of time with family and friends in preparation because these memories will last forever – we took lots of photos and videos of the whole process!
Is it harder to plan a wedding when the couples are from different faiths/culture etc?
Planning a multicultural wedding is a balancing act. Fortunately for us both of our families were very welcoming and eager to learn more about each other’s culture and traditions. So in the end we were successful in highlighting and celebrating the essence and beauty of both our cultures and families very well.
All our ceremonies were full of rich traditions and vibrant colours. We are so blessed to have such supporting, loving and understanding families. It was truly a labour of love and could not have been possible without the love, tireless energy and support from our families and close friends – many of whom had travelled a long long way from various parts of the world to be with us and support us!