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February 5, 2013

My Beautiful Indian Wedding

2012 will be a year that I will never forget. I graduated from the College of William and Mary, the first African American president was re-elected decisively, and I tied the knot. That last one barely made it in, actually. My wedding was little more than a week away from being part of 2013.

I never wanted a wedding. Growing up, I romanticized the idea of something private, just as my relationships had always been. I wanted what was supposed to be the most important day of our lives to actually be about us. Far too often, weddings are about anything but.

In this case, I was wrong. My wife’s parents organized a beautiful Hindu wedding for us at their temple in Richmond, VA. They brought in family from India and all over the United States. I was deeply moved to see their acceptance of me and us on such display, and I was also moved to see that nearly everyone my family invited was excited that we were going to have a Hindu ceremony. Many considered this their one chance to see an Indian wedding in person, and that was worth the trip in and of itself.

My wife and I were not exactly social butterflies during our four years of college, so we have only a small circle of friends. I was honored to see all of our closest friends were in attendance and even some whose paths we don’t cross nearly as much. I am very glad they came.

My wife and I had no idea what to expect of our wedding, but it ended up being as close to a model wedding as I can imagine. As is becoming increasingly common these days, our marriage brought together not just two different families, but two different cultures. Neither side of the family knows much about how the other lives from day to day, but for that day — our day — there was only mutual joy. Inside the temple and the reception hall, there was a diversity of ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and income level that came without controversy, drama, or even acknowledgment. I wonder how many hundreds, thousands, or perhaps even millions of events take place across America that are just as diverse, just as loving, and too non-newsworthy to enter our collective psyche about who we are as a people. I’m eternally grateful to have witnessed it firsthand.

I offer my deepest gratitude to everyone who took part in making our wedding day what it was. To everyone who planned or organized, who cooked or cleaned, who brought gifts or offered kind words, who took pictures or had their pictures taken, who traveled and sat through our three-hour ceremony, I have given a piece of my heart.