The reception on the final day was the most Western event of the whole wedding, and Western dress was the order of the day, so there were no more anxious moments, anticipating unravelling saris.
We started with what is usually called ‘pre-drinks’ – and which I thought would be the only drinks at a dry weddding – but how wrong I was! We gathered in a hotel bedroom for Champagne, gin, beer, rum, whisky … basically everything we’d bought at the state liquor shop, and which now had to be finished before we left the next day.
Then, when it was time to go, a whole host of sneaky drink- holders appeared; wine was poured into water flasks, whisky into hip flasks, gin into water bottles … there was even Bristol Cream sherry being secreted away for a surreptitious swig during the evening.
At the hotel, we enjoyed the sunset in a beautiful courtyard –
The bride and groom had a sumptuous sofa on a dais –
but there was no time for them to sit and enjoy it as there was a very long receiving line, and endless photos for them to get through –
Hundreds of waiters circulated with delicious nibbles – I particularly liked the tandoori paneer – and a selection of mini mocktails … although they weren’t ‘mock’ for very long once the hipflasks came out.
The food and beverage manager was very keen to give us a tour of his kitchen, where he can feed 5,000 people a day, he told us proudly. That’s a mind-boggling number for someone like me, who has to plan ahead to cook for any more than four people. He gave us a demonstration of how to cook a naan in a tandoori oven
And then showed us the wedding cake, just having the final touches applied … macarons, my favourite!
After dinner, Sam gave a brilliant Best Man’s speech –
and there was rapturous applause and a few moist eyes by the end.
After the groom’s speech, it was time for the choreographed dance routines. There was one by the bride’s family, the groom’s family, the bride and groom, the British Asian friends, and finally a surprise dance by the non-Asian friends, who had been practising in secret for several days –
Luckily friends’ parents were exempt from this … luckily for us, and luckily for the audience.
Then the dancing proper started – wild and loud and involving a lot of leaping and waving your arms in the air. I could manage the arm waving, but my leaping was more like prancing; sprightly but definitely not wild.
And instead of dancing around our handbags, we danced around the photographers, who were still in the thick of it, right up to the bitter end, snapping away. Their stamina and dedication were truly impressive.
And that was it … three days of celebrations were over, and I’d worn five outfits, eaten my body weight in paneer, learnt several new dances, and above all, had a fantastic time.