Greetings from India (Part I)!

Lois here, updating from Australia. I've had an amazing past two weeks I want to catch you up on (including Nicholas's two weddings in India and Australia!). Here's part one:

The family arrived in Chennai last week around 3:00 a.m., and we were immediately enthralled by just the drive from the airport to the hotel—an awe inspiring feat in traffic flow of cars, auto rickshaws, bicycles, and pedestrians alongside multiple animals.

Nicholas and Lakshmi came in early Sunday morning after their overnight flight from London. The wedding celebrations began immediately with henna paintings on the hands and feet of family and friends! I met Lakshmi's wonderful helper (our bridesmaid) and friend Inynat. It was great to meet Lakshmi’s family; from my point of view she is an only daughter, thus she can have no “sisters.” Yet here in Chennai, she is extremely close to her extended family, many of which are her “sisters.”

Tuesday morning the wedding celebrations began with a religious ceremony in the Lakshmi's family's apartment complex. This ceremony was chanted in Sanskrit, many rituals performed with many flowers being sacrificed for this event. It was beautiful. Chris described this event as loud, colorful, and mysterious.

Later that afternoon, we all moved to the wedding event, with a formal greeting and engagement ceremony. There was Indian music, magnificent flowers everywhere, and a pond water lilies strung with gerberas and chrysanthemums. Truly magnificent. We joined this ceremony on low brass seats where we sat cross-legged a little longer than we would have wished before resting for the formal evening meal.

Throughout the day we met family and friends from around the world who came to celebrate Nicholas and Lakshmi's wedding.

Part II of the wedding ceremony and photos coming soon.