When I came to India, one of the things on my bucket list was to attend an Indian wedding. Not only did I get to attend one, I got to be a part of the bridal party in the most unexpected wedding I could have imagined, but one I will remember (before the alcohol got a little too much) for the rest of my life.
The wedding started as a joke between a gay Irish man and a British woman talking about Brexit and her wanting an EU passport. It just so happened that an Israeli man staying at the same hostel was listening to the conversation was a minister. He could actually officiate the marriage, to make it legally binding with a wedding certificate and all. That is where the planning started for a wedding to happen the next day!
I was asked to be the best man at the wedding for the groom, who preferred to be called the bride. I had literally only just met him, but we just clicked and got along like a house on fire. It’s not often I find someone who can match my energy, but this beautiful soul certainly did! We had planned to go sari shopping the following day for his wedding dress, however being the party animal he is, we ended up ordering drink after drink at an early lunch instead. Over drinks we started to create the wedding playlist which was a mix of classic wedding songs, Punjabi wedding songs, Bollywood music and Irish music. There was the opening of a new restaurant called Elements on the same night, so perfect for the after party.
We had started creating hype about the wedding and inviting literally every person we knew. Before the wedding the festivities had started with dancing and drinking with everyone in the hostel getting involved. It was so great to see faces full of happiness and sharing love. A wedding is such a great way to bring people together from all over the world and I have made some great friends through it.
We had so many people getting involved and the bridal party continued to grow. The ceremony was held on the rooftop at Lost Hostels, and I can’t recommend this hostel enough. It is such a great place with good vibes and more of a party hostel than others in the area. The people are so welcoming and get everyone involved so that even the most introverted of people can feel welcome and a part of the group.
By the time the ceremony was about to take place, we had approximately 40 people on the rooftop to witness the wedding of true love for Europe. Even the hostel workers got involved to witness this amazing event and helped to make it all happen. The wedding was done with beers in hand by all and the best ceremony speech from the minister that I have ever heard, which I have included here for the world to see the talented words of the young mister Yoni;
On behalf of Lizzie and Liam, I would like to thank you all for joining us in the lovely yoga roof of Lost Hostel in Varkala this afternoon.
For taking the time and making the journey, and for all the effort that it takes – not only to walk up all those steps, but to be a part of each other’s lives. Take a look around, most of the people you are gathered here with you’ve met in the last several days or weeks. Lizzie and Liam met just last week, and I met the two of them just a short 24 hours ago.
So, what you’ve created just between the two of you has such broad reach on all of the people you’ve touched.
Lizzie and Liam have invited you here to this beautiful place to show you a glimpse of an important piece of their love, immigration technicalities. May your love and Lizzies ticket to the rest of Europe, be everlasting.
What we are celebrating today is not the beginning of a marriage, but a marriage already in progress. This ceremony is a symbol of how far they have come together in just one weeks’ time and a symbol of the promises that they will continue to make to each other throughout their lives.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “you know all those things we’ve promised each other and hoped for and dreamed of but mostly the fact that I’ll help you get Irish citizenship so when Boris Johnson embarks on completely and ruinously dismantling the geographical landscape of the modern era that you may continue to travel the world? Well, I mean it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time.
Before this moment you have been many things to one another – travel companions, drinking buddies, the chicken to one another’s chicken.
But now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never be quite the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this – this is my ticket to Europe; and this – this is my wife, primarily by order of law.
Nothing is easier than standing here and saying these words, and nothing is more difficult than living them day to day.
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time in exactly the same way. That is impossible. Yet that is what most of us expect. We forget the ebb and flow of life and of love and of relationships. We insist on permanence, on duration, on continuity.
But in love, as in life, the only stability is in change, and growth, and in freedom. And there is nothing that represents this more beautifully than the way that you’ve met – travelling this world. You must constantly adapt to change, to discomfort, to the unknown. Just that from this day on, you do it together. You support one another and lift each other up no matter what.
Having considered all of these things, do you Elizabeth, promise to do your very best each day to create a loving, healthy and happy marriage?
Lizzie – I do.
Do you Liam, promise to do your very best each day to create a loving, healthy and happy marriage – and most importantly be there every step of the way as Lizzie embarks on a lengthy bureaucratic process to acquire Irish citizenship?
Liam – I do.
No one but you can declare yourselves married. You have begun it here today in speaking your vows before your friends, and you will do it again in the days and years to come, standing by each other, sharing the highs and lows of life.
My hope for you is this;
May you have many long years to delight in each other's company, and to love and be loved by the friends who have come here today to support you.
May you each make meaningful impact, learn from your failures and growing in your accomplishments.
May lives challenges be met together with courage and optimism, and may your days be filled with laughter, imagination, trust, friendship and love.
As goes an old Irish blessing;
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm on your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May he hold you in the palm of his hand.
By the power vested in me, by the nearly expired but definitely still valid ordination from the Universal Life Church, it is now my honor and delight to declare you husband and wife - you may seal your vows with a kiss!
From reading this you can see how incredibly talented this young man is in writing his vows and bringing in the personality of the two vibrant souls into their ceremony. I can only hope that if one day I ever get married that I can have Yoni at my wedding as well.
After the ceremony we all started to learn dances from all over the world. Everyone got involved in the Irish Jigs and learning some traditional Indian dances. When we started to get a little too loud for the hostel it was time to head over to the opening of the new restaurant. For some reason everyone looked to me as the leader and trusted me to guide a group of 30 people! Naturally I got lost and ended up attempting to get through a kitchen door before we found the right way to get there.
We got there at about 8pm and the party was absolutely insane. As the groom had me drinking with him for the past 8 hours and keeping up with him, by this point I was past drunk and have barely any recollection of the party other than it was completely manic. Since moving to India I have barely had a drink. Maybe 6 times in the last 6 months, so drinking that much really knocked me around but overall I had a brilliant time and got to take part in such a funny wedding. I doubt I will ever have the opportunity to become best man again, so it was an experience that I will truly cherish, along with the beautiful people that were involved.