I woke up on Sunday with the alarm, and blearily rose to prepare myself. After showering, I spent an unusually long time working on my hair, but it wasn't doing quite what I wanted it to do. Ultimately, I just pulled back the sides in a couple of barrettes, and hoped that it would stay. I dressed in the dark (as Sharif was sleeping peacefully), and grabbed everything that I would need for the day ahead. Laura and I met in the living room, and we headed out into the dark right on schedule.
We reached Rohini's parents' house just minutes after 6:00, and we were the first bridesmaids there. An auntie gave us coffee, and Ro's mom showed us up to the master bedroom, where we'd be dressed. They had brought in a woman for the sole purpose of dressing us in our saris. I was the first up, which means that I was used as the guinea pig in deciding how exactly the saris should look. Ro was brought in to pick a style, and chose the one that best showed off the trim on the fabric. Then everything got pinned. (It seems that the inexperienced sari-wearer needs a lot of pins in order to stay clothed.) By the time I was fully dressed, all of the bridesmaids who needed assistance had arrived. While work continued, I practiced walking. I had to kick my feet a little to keep from stepping on the skirt, and I had to hold the fabric in a certain way in order to walk up and down the stairs.
Saris wrapped and makeup done, we got to go downstairs for some breakfast and to witness Ro's hair and makeup processes. Ro looked beautiful and . . . not so much freaked out, but certainly overwhelmed. (Apparently other people thought she was being SO CALM.) Her hair was finished, her veil affixed, her makeup applied, and we got out of the house just slightly behind schedule. (Before we left, Ro's grandfather led a prayer. Her dad stressed to him several times that it should be a short one. He complied.) Ro and Laura and I got into my car to drive to the church, with video cameras focused on us from a range that made me nervous about pulling out of the parking space, for fear of hitting someone. Papparazzi! We hit just about every red light on the way there, but we did get there.
The room in which we were to wait had a chalkboard on one wall, on which there were lists of "clean" and "unclean" animals. All I remember is that the vulture is unclean. Useful!
After Ro was helped into her dress, we went down to pose for pictures. There were approximately seven million different groups that needed to be shot, including every possible combination of her multitudes of family. It was a little crazy, but they managed to finish up before the ceremony was scheduled to begin. Finding my way back to our waiting room, I managed to run into my parents and Erica & Michael, and I waved to Ann & Dave through a window. A little later, during a brief glance over a railing down to the area with the sign-in book, I saw Lacey and Sharif, and got to greet them from above. Almost all of these encounters involved me posing for a photo.
Once it was time for the ceremony to start, everything went quickly. I walked down the aisle with Kevin (to the sound of "La Vie En Rose," which made me happy), concentrating on walking the right speed, holding my flowers at a photogenic angle, not tripping on the steps. I made it to my designated spot without incident, and my job became very easy. Stand, face the bride, smile, don't fall over. I was surprised to find that my eyes actually teared up a little when Ro made her entrance with her father. Ro and Will promised their lives to each other, the pastor gave a homily about Love and sang a little U2, rings were exchanged, there was a kiss, nobody fell down the stairs on the way back out.
After hugs and cheers, it was time to make our way to the reception. Laura and I were the first members of the wedding party to get there, which meant that we had a little time in the "bridal suite" on our own- eating samosas and tiny quiches, downing bottles of water, and sitting on the couch. Everyone else showed up soon enough, and we had a sparkling cider toast. (Once I demonstrated my keeping-a-bottle-opener-in-my-purse skills, that is.) We then had to line up again, in order to be announced to the reception. We were seated at high tables, facing the rest of the room, and our food was brought to us while everyone else visited the buffet. Jenny made a toast, Sam made a toast. Ro and Will didn't get any dinner that I could see, as they used that time to change into their Indian clothing. I got to mingle with some people that I hadn't seen in years, and meet Jake & Denise's second baby! When they returned, Rohini and Will were draped in garlands, a couple of songs were performed, and the couple were showered with rose petals. (Well, technically, they sat still while four little girls pelted petals at their heads from a few inches behind them. It was hilariously adorable.) By the time the program was over and we were able to just vist with people, I was about ready to drop. I can't imagine how Ro and Will must have been feeling, as I got to sit and chat while they had to continue posing and smiling for picture after picture. I eventually got to hug them each goodbye and Sharif drove me home in my car. We got home a little after 5:00, I think, and I definitely felt like I'd been awake and active for 13 hours, on 4 hours of sleep.
And now Rohini is married! To Will! If you'd told me a decade ago that this would happen, I don't know how I'd have reacted. (I'd have been happy, I mean, but amazed.) It's pretty fantastic. Congratulations to both of them. I know they are and will be happy.