I have already witnessed and documented more than one wedding at Neemrana fort but this one was surely different. The backdrop was indeed a fort palace in India but at times it felt like we were all at the races or on vacation in Balmorel. It was the very first time I saw a groom wearing not a sherwani but a tuxedo on the horse during his barat, and it was surely a rare opportunity to see men in kilts at an Indian wedding. This is one of the beautiful things about destination weddings I guess. I could have sworn I saw Hugh Grant there at one point but he wasn’t there when I looked again.
The party started with a mehendi afternoon of music and dance which was a good opportunity for the families coming from the UK and India to mingle and get to know each other. We then took a break and the barat was to start at 6:30pm. Now you know how it is with Indian weddings and the notorious Indian Stretchable Time (IST). If you say six thirty you should actually plan for seven thirty, but not this time. The groom’s side, being proper, showed up on time at 6:27 all dressed up and almost ready. I say almost ready as no one could have prepared them for the drumming and the band. It was the funniest thing to see but they did eventually warm up and even danced.
The wedding itself was the morning after and was a full fledged south Indian spectacle at the beautifully decorated amphitheater, after which the three of us managed to escape for an hour for a few fun pictures. If I remember correctly it was “Rent yourself a palace for the wedding and go take some pictures in the crummy village” in Fergus’s words. It was a blast!
A palace wedding at neemrana fort
It was not very difficult to feel under-dressed at Anu and Fergus’s wedding. Say what you want about the Brits but they sure know how to dress up. I was on the phone with my wife at one point and remember telling her I am at a party with a bunch of James Bonds having Gin & Tonic and listening to Indian music while the beautiful women wearing flowers in their hair were taking all the attention. “We could not possibly outdo the grandeur of Indian outfits” said to me one of Fergus’s uncles, “so we figured it is best to be English”. Simple and very convincing logic. I was in tears when Christopher gave his best-man-speech and said it was good to scratch the surface but very dangerous to be there if you are a whale as this is when you get harpooned. I could not see through the lens with tears in my eyes. Good old fashioned British humor that I only enjoyed on TV until now. Hard to believe but I’ve never been to England. Maybe it is time to go!