paper anniversary trip, instagrammed

our first wedding anniversary is coming up in a few days on August 5th, since we’ll be hosting P’s family starting this Friday, we took last weekend to explore the southern tip of Africa. the past year has gone by SO FAST, it feels like we’ve been married closer to a month than a year. we stood at the bottom of the world on different oceans, ate our weight in oysters and champagne and went on a serious hike through a national park next to the ocean where we were alone with dolphins, almost walked into a blue duikker, and caught a glimpse of a Knysna Lourie. to get positively GUSHY: i feel incredibly lucky, sometimes i can’t believe our life is real.

this one of the songs from our wedding. a few of our talented friends performed it and i was in heaven listening to them.

2011 in review.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

2011 was a great year for us and I’m thanking my lucky stars. Here is a review of our incredible year.

We ended 2010 with P’s first trip to India to meet the extended fam. We rang in the new year in a penthouse in London with our good friends Jon and Katie (who are headed here soon….yippee!). Soon after that we left Berlin for a weekend to watch my best friend since I was 13, Clare, get married in Minnesota.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I loveThe cold Berlin winter in February proved to be too much and I ran off to Turkey on a last minute vacation with two friends, we ate tons of food and bought diamonds. In March we met up with a couple faves in Budapest for some fun and managed to send out our wedding Save the Date video we made.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

In April I went to the US to finish up planning our wedding and we went on a romantic weekend trip to Nice with lots of filet mignon et Champagne.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

In April, P took me on a trip to Paris as part of our Europe Farewell Tour 2011. We biked around the city using the Velibs, saw the Eiffle Tower which we had both seen before but never together, held hands, and talked about our future in South Africa.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Pat’s friends threw him a surprise bachelor party and I got to help. I made sure he took the days off work and they bought him a round trip ticket from Berlin to NYC to take him on a weekend of white water rafting and beer drinking. The night before they sent him a video to tell him about the surprise. What an amazing group of friends.

 Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

In June and July we found new renters for the fabulous, huge, old, high ceiling’d apartment in Berlin. We planned a farewell party to celebrate our marriage with our Berlin Tribe. Clare and Jake came to visit us. We staged a photo booth (the BEST most worth-it DIY project I’ve done till date) there and set the pictures to this annoying song that wormed its way into our hearts when it was played and replayed after Germany won EuroVision in 2010.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

After that we  embarked on the task of saying goodbye to our poor but sexy city and friends. We had one last eat at our favorite restaurants, and even did a few “Berlin-y” things we had not done as happens when you live in a city.  We had an epic weekend with our friends Nick and Rachel that started in a secret pop-up restaurant with quail-egg sushi, made it past the bouncer and into Berghain, and ended at dinner Sunday at a Sri Lankan restaurant in Freidrichshain.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

I boarded a plane for the States to get married, but first I got upgraded to first class (transatlantic-ly!) and met my sister, cousins and girlfriends in NYC for a bachelorette party. We ate at Shake Shack, brunched, shopped, stayed at the Gansevoort, had dinner at Stanton Social, and danced the night away. It made me miss living in NYC soo much but then I remembered that when I lived there I never stayed at fancy hotels.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love


Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Then, finally it was August and time to get married. My entire family came from India, friends came from all over the US and the world to come and celebrate with us. It was so special and truly one of the best months of our lives. And my sister threw me a bridal shower I’ll never forget.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

We went on a honeymoon to Bali where I got a very bad case of food poisoning but it was amazing none the less.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Then, we moved to Johannesburg. I went on safari in Kruger National Park, we went to Cape Town and Durban.We learned and bought a manual transmission, and moved into a house with a pool and a tennis court. I started blogging seriously and got into photography.  I made lots of new friends through blogging. I took a course and now I very proudly shoot on manual mode and can’t wait to continue learning and expanding (my lens collection hehe). We celebrated thanksgiving, AND I started doing Help Portrait, and then we celebrated Christmas in our new home.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

It’s been an amazing year and I’m so thankful, I’m only disappointed that I didn’t photograph or blog our two years in Europe. My sister comes for three weeks on Friday and we’re going to have SO MUCH FUN. Here’s to a wonderful 2012 and a Happy New Year from our family to yours!

On planning a Hindu/Catholic ceremony and pictures from our wedding

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

When we were writing our wedding ceremony there were precious few resources for inter-religious (Hindu/Catholic) ceremonies like we wanted ours to be: something that embraced centuries-old traditions that our parents taught us to respect while also speaking to us as two people living in 2011, which also addressed the big sore spot of marriage inequality in a dignified way without making our wedding a gay rights rally (as much as we love gay rights rallies). This is what we came up with and it couldn’t have gone any better. My favorite parts were when our friends sang and played the songs and poems we picked, the Hindu tradition of the married women from the maternal side of my family putting vermillion powder in the part of my hair, and also the Catholic tradition of Intercessions (where a friend states specific prayers aloud for the group to hear and affirm), and of course stating our vows to each other in front of our friends and family. I added all the readings and linked to the songs below. It took about 50 minutes in total, a reasonable amount of time methinks. We also had a donation to the Human Rights Campaign as an option in our wedding registry.

Processional “If You Ain’t Got Love,”* by Mason Jennings
Performed by Maureen Ayers Looby and Red Fabbri
*without the second verse about his child, hello

Welcome
Rev. Gregory Kalscheur, S.J.

“Love” by Rabindranath Tagore

Read by Archana Sinha
Love adorns itself;
it seeks to prove inward joy by outward beauty.
Love does not claim possession,
 but gives freedom.
Love is an endless mystery,
for it has nothing else to explain it.
Love’s gift cannot be given,
it waits to be accepted.

Song “Ave Maria,” by Franz Schubert
Performed by Maureen Ayers Looby and Michael Leukam

1 Corinthians 12:31-13.8a
Read by Tulin Sezer

Strive for the greater gifts.
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have
love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic
powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, but do not have
love, I am nothing.  If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my
body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or
arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or
resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
Song “Home” by Edward Sharpe
Performed by Maureen Ayers Looby, Clare O’Donnell Coldren, Bridget Ayers Looby, and Red Fabbri

Reading and Reflection
Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a; 8-6-7a
Rev. Gregory Kalscheur, S.J.

[I hear] the voice of my beloved!
Look, how he comes, leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking
through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise my love, my
fair one, and come away.”

O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see
your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is
lovely.
My beloved is mine and I am his.
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.

Marriage Rites            Pundit Ravi Tiwari

*Hindu marriages can take anywhere from 3 to 7 hours. We culled it down to this, and the Pundit had 15 minutes to get it done.

Jaimala

The couple exchange garlands, signifying the union of two bodies and two souls into one entity, and their mutual acceptance of one another.

Kanya Daan
The bride is given away by her parents.

Gath Bandhan & Mangel Phere (Circling the fire)

The bride and groom are joined by tying together a corner of their outer garments, symbolizing the bond of marriage.  After this a small open fire is lit and God is invited to witness the marriage.  The four pheras symbolize the four goals of married life: Dharma, to remain true to one’s beliefs and values; Artha, to provide for one’s family; Kama, to obtain emotional and physical fulfillment; and Moksha, to achieve enlightenment and liberation

Sapta Padi (The Seven Sacred Steps):

The seven steps are the most important part of the ceremony. Prayers are recited as the couple walks the seven steps together, symbolizing that they are now lifelong friends who share the same aspirations:

Together we will share the responsibility of home and family.

Together we will develop mental, physical, and spiritual strength.

Together we will prosper and share our worldly goods.

Together we will fill our hearts with great joy, peace, and happiness.

Together we will raise strong and virtuous children.

Together we will remain faithful and life-long partners.

Together we will cherish each other and our families in sorrow and happiness.

Sindoor Daan

Sindoor is vermilion powder. After the above pledges are made, the dulha applies sindoor to the forehead of his dulhan. He puts places the powder in the parting of her hair. This is the traditional mark of the Hindu married woman. Then the married women from the bride’s maternal family put Sindoor in her hair.

Once the wedding rituals have been completed, the couple touches the feet of their parents and elders to ask for their blessings.

Exchange of Vows & Rings   (I’m not going to print them here)

Intercessions            Read by Red Fabbri

*after each prayer the group, usually a congregation but in this case just our friends and family at our wedding, responds with ‘Lord, hear our prayer.’ It is quite moving and it is my favorite part of any Catholic mass. This is also where we chose to acknowledge things we hope the world will change.

Please respond with “Lord hear our prayer.”

For Namrata and Patrick, that their marriage be filled with love, patience and humor, and that they may be a lifelong source of fulfillment and happiness for each other. Let us Pray.

For their families and friends, who came here today to share in their joy. May they continue to bless others with the support and wisdom they have shown to Namrata and Patrick throughout their lives. Let us Pray.

 For those who couldn’t be here today and loved ones who have passed away, especially N.K.  Singh, Kusum Singh, and Brian and Betty McGroarty. Let us Pray.

For those unable to publicly express their love through marriage, that society will cherish the willingness of two adults to make a lifelong commitment to one another. Let us pray.

For captives of poverty and war, disease and discrimination. That our leaders will seek to lessen their burdens, and that each of us work for a more compassionate world. Let us Pray.

Nuptial Blessing and
Presentation of the couple Rev. Gregory Kalscheur, S.J.

Recessional            “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”* by Jatin-Lali

*we needed some Bollywood, hello??

wedding photos by bryan newfield

our wedding.


weddings are fraught with so much pressure to be perfect. the perfect details, the perfect favors, the perfect vision…perfect weather even. well our wedding wasn’t blogosphere perfect, but it was PERFECT. and with that i’ll leave you with our highlights reel. the most awkward part is in the middle where we have to stand awkwardly in poses for the camera.

8th october, 2011

Namrata Singh// A Suitable Boy in Bali

.

p and i had a blissful honeymoon in bali which included sweeping vistas, romance, reading, and some decidedly un-sexy food poisoning for me. we are both reading (i am re-reading) a suitable boy by vikram seth (pronounced ‘sate’). it is even better the second time around. i felt like i did when i read east of eden, in that i never want it to end.