Coorg (or Kodagu) is a district in the southwestern state of Karnataka and is known for its unique wedding traditions. Though we have photographed Indian matrimonies before, we had never documented a Coorg wedding before we photographed these nuptials! So were very excited when Minal and Chris had a Coorgi ceremony at the Silver Springs Civic Center a couple of weeks after their civil wedding at the National Cathedral.
One of the most interesting things that we discovered about a Coorg wedding was that the ceremony had no priest. Nor did it have a sacred fire! Both are the norm in other Hindu marriage celebrations. In fact, a Coorg wedding does not even have an exchange of vows! Instead, it starts with the couple, dressed in their traditional and colorful clothes, praying to their ancestors for the blessing of their union. Following this, each guest showers the bride and groom with grains of rice and feeds them sweet, saffron-flavored milk. Both gestures are meant to wish the bride and groom prosperity and good fortune during the married lives.
After the ceremony, the bride’s and groom’s uncles teamed up to give fun speeches. They had prepared a riotous back-and-forth banter about the couple. Each made competing cases advocating why the couple should belong to their family. Promises were made and increasingly equally amusing gifts were offered. By the end, they had the crowd literally holding their sides laughing.
The wedding reception was as wonderful as the rest of the function. Everyone enjoyed dancing to a mix of various Bollywood tunes and the latest Western pop songs. Even elderly aunties and uncles dressed in beautiful Indian attire got onto the dance floor and shook a leg!
Thank you, Minal and Chris, for entrusting us with documenting your beautiful Coorg wedding!