Thursday, September 23, 2010

South Asian Wedding Show

The South Asian Wedding Show could be heard pumping out thundrous techno-raga beats from all the way down the conference centre corridor and around the corner. From the ticket booth, we caught sight of flashing laser lights and clouds of fog from the smoke machines. Once inside the turnstile, we could barely hear each other for the din.

I haven't been to a ton of weddings, but from what I saw at this show, South Asian weddings put boring old white-people weddings to shame. Deep shame! There are various religious and cultural traditions which fall under the South Asian umbrella. From what I witnessed, this show covered weddings mainly in the Hindu tradition. I tell you, those Hindu kids know how to party!

The hall was bedlam. It was so crowded in the aisles that it was a challenge to get from A to B. Despite the fact that I'm obviously not of South Asian descent, the salespeople behind the tables were more than happy to pitch to Ken and I. He's half-white-half-Asian so maybe they thought we were engaged and our wedding would be in his family's tradition, which could be anything seeing that he's ambiguously brownish.

When I was two steps into the hall, a woman thrust a promotional postcard at me, held flat like a plate, a miniature iced chocolate cupcake balanced on top of it. I accepted the card and immediately downed the yummy cupcake. The next booth was promoting, and sampling, Johnny Walker Scotch Whiskey. We declined the booze, but helped ourselves to the plate of bite-sized dark chocolate pieces. The next booth after that was selling security services. After determining that we both work for a business that is rather under-serviced in terms of security, the sales guy gave us his card and his shpiel. Then, just as we were turning to go, he said "Would you like some chocolate?" He stepped aside revealing a plate full of Hallowe'en treat-sized candy bars. We declined, having had our fill already. No shortage of sweets there!

There were several dj-and-light-show services, all vying with each other for the loudest, flashiest booth. One of them literally drummed up an audience with a trio of live traditional drummers. Another advertised that their services included "pyro". Man, where were they when I was planning my wedding? We could have blown the lid off the church with some wicked fireworks! That would have been totally rad.

The sample table settings on display were extravagant, as was everything there. My favourite was the company who offered "silk" canopies tented over each individual table. There was a fake peacock (made with real feathers, I'm sure) perched on the edge of one of the canopies. Seriously, it makes me want to renew my vows just so that I can plan a wedding in which fake peacocks figure prominently in the decor.

If Ken weren't allergic to horses, he could ride in to our second wedding on a white horse. This is a Hindu tradition, and sure enough there was a white horse in the hall, munching on hay and looking rather annoyed by all the comotion. He was wearing a fancy red headpiece with gold ornamentation, and his front two hooves had been painted with gold sparkly nail polish. Hoof polish? Anyway, since I grossed out enough of you with my snake stories, I won't get into detail about how the horse sneezed all over Ken. Let's just say that Ken, and the guy standing next to him, were not pleased.

Lastly we took in a fashion show. Here's a link to the official photos from the show. Click on the small photos for more detail. It would take too many words to describe these outfits properly. If I had to put it in a nutshell, they were: silky, sparkly, elaborate, amazing. South Asian style is very different. I didn't like everything I saw, but many of the outfits that were jaw-droppingly beautiful.

I wish I had some Hindu friends who might invite me to one of these unbelievable weddings. If the show was impressive, the real thing must be even better!


DarcKnyt said...

You know, this has little to do with your story overall, but I'd like to say that was a nice opening. A very nice opening. :)

Jameil said...

LOL @ ambiguously brownish. DUDE! My South Asian friend? I need to get her married YESTERDAY!! I'm so ready!!

whatigotsofar said...

You know what, South Asians do the whole relationship thing better than anybody. They have the biggest craziest wedding because they're big crazy parties. They also do the "I've got a friend you should meet thing." Honestly, white people suck at setting up. South Asians are the best at it. If I ever need to find a girlfriend, I'm asking brown people and only brown people to set me up.

LL Cool Joe said...

Sounds like a fun time was had by all! Glad I don't have to compete with those dj's!

And you don't really sad "rad" in real life do you? :D

LL Cool Joe said...

say I mean!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I think riding in on an elephant would be cool too!

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: Thank you! That's high praise! :-)

Jameil: You've got to get yourself one of those fantastic sequined gowns. It's absolutely mandatory.

WIGSF: I know a brown woman who went ahead with an arranged marriage, and she is as happy or more so than the people I know who selected their own partners.

LL Cool Joe: I do say it, but always with a wry smile, or possibly air quotes.

Ron: I would have been soooo happy if there had been an elephant at the convention! Actually, I rode an elephant once, if you can believe it. It was at the Toronto Zoo a long time ago. You could pay to ride an elephant once around a small enclosure, to raise money for a new display or something. It was not all that exciting, in the final analysis. The elephant was just wandering along, and then we got off again.

Just Plain Tired said...

Wow, I can't imagine a pyro event at a wedding. Sounds like they throw one helluva party though. ;)

DarcsFalcon said...

I've always found the wedding customs of different cultures to be really fascinating. So many symbols!

Sounds like a fascinating trade show. :)

Sparkling Red said...

JPT: Just my luck- the only time I was invited to an Indian wedding it was Islamic. Very understated. No DJ, no pyro. Maybe one of these days, though.

DarcsFalcon: Yeah, weddings sure are interesting. Soon I'll be going to one that incorporates some Chinese traditions. I don't know what to expect, except for sure there will be a lot of food!