A quintessential goan catholic wedding
Category : Articles
Location  : Goa

I still reminisce with a gush of thrill that unforgettable moment when my husband posed the proverbial proposition, but a tad differently. "What if we get married?" was the poser. I jumped at the prospect of marrying a long- time friend but was not sure how to respond. My yes was in the form of a coy "It would be nice." From that day onwards our life veered towards leading one life, that of becoming man and wife. After overcoming a series of objections from both the families, we finally decided on the date of our wedding after a torrid courtship of over two years.

I vividly remember my fiance telling me that his family was rather traditional and expected my folks to visit their home with the formal proposal. I for one who had been brought up in more liberal environs had thrown all tradition to the wind. But here I was on the horns of a dilemma wanting to marry someone who I had probably loved all my life and hence decided to fall in line only for LOVE!

After much ado, both our families met to chalk out the modalities for our big day. Elders from both the families deliberated about the arrangements, expenses etc. We did not have any formal engagement, but yes my prospective husband came to be known as my fiance from the day we got our stamp of approval from our parents.

The first set of wedding preparations involved getting the hall booked well in advance. Following which the wedding theme and decor was decided. I met up with my tailor to design my gown along with the bridal trousseau. The tailor accompanied by both the families went to hand pick the fabric for the bridal dress as well for those of the flower girls and bridesmaids. About the same time, the wedding rings were purchased. I bought the ring for my groom and the groom bought one for me, which were to be blessed on our wedding day.

In keeping with tradition, a red and white printed cotton dress had to be stitched for me that I was to wear a day after our wedding night. Amid much fanfare, I was invited to my fiance's house with the tailor waiting to take my measurements, after which firecrackers were fired much to my chagrin. But that's tradition I had been told.

We then decided a date for our civil registration and I had to drive down to my fiance's town for the same. This was it.....it was official that we were legally wedded before the eyes of the law. Amid much jubilation both the families congratulated us and each other with a sigh of relief. A huge step indeed in my life.

My fiance and I then enrolled for the mandatory marriage formation course, that highlighted among other things the meaning of marriage, procreation, family relationships etc. this was to imbibe in us a sense of seriousness of the institution of marriage . Our wedding banns were read in our respective churches in conformity with the Ecclesiastical Law on three consecutive Sundays, just weeks before the wedding.

Another time- honoured tradition is the wearing of glass bangles of hues green, red, and yellow. I forewent this tradition as it made no sense to me and would not do it even under familial duress. These bangles were to be particularly put on by the bride's maternal uncle, which heralded the fact that the girl was on the threshold of marriage. This practice is usually accompanied by song and merriment.

Ros or bathing in coconut milk is veritably a messy tradition but a necessary evil. Legend has it that this ceremony is meant to bid farewell to single life and is probably used for purification. Very close family members and friends are invited over to the bride's and groom's houses respectively with songs sung, probably teasing the bride and the groom. I remember I was drenched to the bone with coconut milk poured all over me from head to toe. The next thing I remember was making a dash for the bathroom to shower myself clean and get ready for the day ahead that was supposed to be my big day.

My fiance's family also had what is called beggars' lunch in memory of the departed souls of the house, who are supposed to be represented by beggars. Funny as it may seem, one could not see any beggars around but nonetheless it was called the same.

And finally, D-day arrived. I had butterflies in my tummy but my fiance was as cool as a cucumber. I rose early, prayed to God for much needed strength and started my day. My first call was to my tailor followed by a call to my beautician. They arrived well before time to dress me up. I was the most nervous bride on the face of this earth, so much so that I ended up with a bout of loose stools. I was sick with anxiety. I managed to put up a brave front when the pesky photographer and videographer arrived. Elders from my family began streaming in to bless me before I left for the church. I had to reach well before the time of the nuptials and there I was waiting for my knight in shining armour or should I say shining black suit.

My groom finally arrived well on time and we were ushered into the church by the parish priest flanked byour parents. It was finally sinking in........I was indeed walking down the aisle with the most important person in my life! The song 'You by my side' began to ring in my mind as I walked to the altar to say "I do." After the church nuptials, that lasted a little over an hour, had been solemnized, we were declared man and wife...What God has put together, let no man put asunder," thundered the main celebrant. I was delirious with joy! We walked out of the church, arm in arm, man and wife!

Our embellished wedding car carried the placard "Just Married" and whisked us off to our open air reception floor. We arrived fashionably late much to the consternation of our folks the reason being I had stopped by the beauticians' to touch up my makeup. All said and done, the master of ceremonies and a dear pal made me feel at ease and put that smile back on to my face and a spring in my step during the wedding march. Music rent the air, food, drink and merriment was the order of the day. It was a wrap after the final kiss thus closing the chapter in the most memorable day of my life-my wedding day!

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