Indian/Mexican wedding in Kildeer an elaborate marriage of cultures
EXCERPT: Daily Herald
Perched atop a papier-mâché elephant on a hand-drawn cart, Ankur Raniwala added his own twist to a traditional wedding ritual.
It's common in North Indian culture for grooms to ride horses or elephants to fetch their soon-to-be brides.
"The whole intention here is trying to keep to the tradition, but do it in a fun way that isn't harmful to any animals," said Raniwala, 31, formerly of Barrington.
Friends and family members dancing to the rhythmic beat of the dhol (traditional Indian drums) accompanied Raniwala in a procession known as the baraat to meet his bride, Veronica Garcia.
The Raniwala-Garcia wedding included Hindu and Catholic rituals, piñatas and henna handpainting, and Mexican and Indian food.
"We kind of took parts of both cultures and put them together to create sort of the best of both worlds," Raniwala said.
The couple met while studying at the University of Chicago; they now live in suburban Los Angeles.
During the festivities, the bride and groom changed into three costumes -- a traditional Indian lehenga and sari, and a white wedding gown for the bride, and a kurta pajama, sherwani and suit for the groom.
Mexican weddings also are steeped in customs and traditions, and some rituals were incorporated into the ceremony.
"In Mexican culture, there's traditionally a Catholic Mass and a lot of little rituals. ... Not as elaborate as Indian culture or as many days," Garcia said.
Music plays a huge part in both cultural traditions, so the wedding party danced to plenty of popular Hindi film songs, as well as salsa, cumbia and bachata tunes.