Monday, October 1, 2007
My First Indian Wedding
I was reading National Geographic recently when I noticed the headline "My Big Fat Indian Wedding". I immediately took notice and began to read the article, as it pertains to my business.
I first became interested in the Indian wedding market while doing the International Food & Hospitality Show last year here in Bangkok. I was approached by several Indian attendees who suggested that this would be great for the Indian families looking for something unique and special for their children's wedding. Up to that point in time, I knew very little about Indian weddings other than what I had seen in Bollywood movies. I had an opportunity to go to India for the first time last December, and I have to tell you, it was amazing! Beyond the culture shock of people driving the wrong way down the street, the abundance of cows EVERYWHERE, and the sheer chaos, I absolutely loved it! We had a local wedding planner in Delhi who was able to get us into two weddings.
Instead of telling you about the displays we did and how the guests reacted (very positively!), I have to tell you a little about the wedding ceremony itself. I remember seeing a man entering the premises on a white horse (whom I quickly realized was the groom) wearing a turban and perhaps one hundred ten rupee notes clipped to his shiny outfit. He was accompanied by an enormous band not unlike one you might see at a gigantic parade. People were jumping up and down, singing and clapping like it was the greatest day of their lives. I've been to weddings before, and they were normally subdued. This was like nothing I had ever seen in my life! Unfortunately, at that point I had to return to my carvers and make some last minute changes to the display. When I got back to the ceremony, I noticed the bride, covered in more jewelery than I thought was humanly possible, exchanging garlands with the groom. There was something about that that just made me so fascinated. After exchanging garlands, there was a line that must have been a mile long of guests giving their best wishes to the new husband and wife, accompanied with their pictures being taken with the new couple on a gigantic couch placed on a stage surrounded by a display that would not have been out of place at the Oscars. It was a stunning mixture of wealth, culture, humility, love for family, and just plain over-the-top bravado. This was not the India I envisioned while growing up in Brooklyn!
We currently have a contract pending with one of the biggest fruit companies in the world (whom I cannot name just yet) to provide our services to the Indian wedding market. I am so excited not only about the opportunities for us, but for the opportunity for me to spend more time in India! www.carvinginstitute.com