This is post #2 in the series. Start reading from the beginning here.
October, 2014. The wedding was in 2 months. Shonan – their friend of almost 2 decades – was tying the knot, and flying off to Belgium to spend the rest of her life with Adesh. Her send-off into the world of marriage needed to be nothing short of spectacular. Because that’s what Shonan’s always been – a spectacular human being. Big heart, quirky likes, strong opinions, and a love for cake so deep that she has a slice every single day.
They’d already done the bachelorette trip, roaming the European country-side a few months ago. Now they wanted to throw her a bridal shower, and it needed to be as unique and quirky as Shonan is. Something…extraordinary.
“Didn’t Shon have her heart set on a sit-down dinner at her wedding?”
“Yes, but that was impossible because…hello, impractical at a big Indian wedding!”
“Why don’t we give her a sit-down dinner at the bridal shower? It’s just a handful of guests. Possible, right?”
“Yes. And…she loves picnics. Why don’t we throw her a 7-course picnic, but only as a sit-down dinner?”
“You mean – place name tags on seats, have menus, fancy cutlery – just like at a formal dinner but instead of sitting at a table, we sit on the floor like we would at a picnic?”
The idea for a 7-course picnic was born.
Bridal shower games were googled, more ideas on personalising the party were thrown around, tasks were delegated.
Next on the agenda was the venue. All the bridesmaids were well-versed with Shonan’s love of fountains – she’d spent her whole bachelorette trip looking all over Europe for the perfect fountain for her bhabhi to include in her wedding invite! Even her pheras were to take place next to a fountain. The bridal shower venue definitely needed a fountain. Natasha, one of the bridesmaids, suggested her terrace for the party. It would allow for complete privacy, they’d have all the time in the world to set it up exactly how they wanted it, and – it came with a fountain. Jyoti, another bridesmaid who runs her own event planning business, took on the responsibility of having the venue decorated.
“What about the food?”
And the bigger question – how to include Shonan’s favourite things in edible form. The most obvious item to include on the menu was cake, because she loves eating cake with a fervour. But her appreciation for intricately cooked food was something a generic menu would not be able to match. The rest of the food, they decided, needed to be crafted with the help of the caterer. Maybe Byblos, the new edgy restaurant at High Street Phoenix, would be up for this task? A note of their name was made on someone’s phone.
“We need a Save The Date card. You can’t have a party like this without one!”
Natasha took on the task of designing the card (how hard can it be? she wondered), and suggested roping in her sister, who runs an animation studio, to design a menu befitting the “fancy tea-party” feel of the bridal shower.
Venue, games, food, invites. Check, check, check, and check.
December, 2014. The day of the bridal shower was here. Save The Dates had been sent out a few days ago, and all the bridesmaids arrived at the terrace in dresses and flowers in their hair. Natasha had brought beautiful roses from her farm, and Jyoti’s florist had set it all up. The venue was decked up with floral arrangements, acknowledging the bride’s love of flowers.
Each bridesmaid had been asked to bring along a flower they love the most, so that Shonan could go home that night with all of her friends’ favourite blooms in an odd-looking but brimming-with-love bouquet.
A long-table had been placed in the centre, and was flanked by low seating on both sides – giving it a picnic vibe. And in true sit down dinner style, the most exquisite cutlery was laid out, with place cards and a menu crafted specially for this occasion.
All of Shon’s loves were interwoven into each of the courses – from the cheese platter to the edible flower salad. Earl Grey chocolate cake combined two of her loves – chocolate and tea! And The Englishman was included for her fascination with all things English.
A floral table runner lay underneath the table setting and vintage candles glowed softly in the middle, making one forget which country they were in for a while.
All that was left to do now was wait for the bride to arrive.
Today was one of the rare free days she was going to have this month. With the wedding just a few weeks away, it seemed like there was always somewhere to be, someone to meet, some party to attend. Which had also meant getting dressed up like a soon-to-be-wed every single day. It had been a tiring week.
Today, she had to head out of the house just for a while to run yet another wedding-related errand with her sister-in-law, Ruchi, who was thankfully keeping her sane through this wedding planning phase. Shonan picked out an old, comfortable dress, and was out of the door in less than 5 minutes. Ah, what a relief to not have to bother with playing dress up!
The sun had almost set when they reached their destination for that evening. With Ruchi leading the way, Shonan followed her into a doorway.
Shocked by the sudden, loud voices, Shonan looked around and saw all her bridesmaids standing there – under sparkling lights, with floral wreaths in their hair and a big grin on their faces.
“Your surprise bridal shower!”
Shonan looked past her girls, and couldn’t believe the sight that lay before her.
As she said hello and hugged every friend, she glanced over their shoulders at the spectacular bridal shower they had set up. She had barely had any time to let it sink in when they began the customary games. Her friends knew of her love of poetry, and so they played a game where every friend had to write a sonnet (a 4-line poem) about her, that they playfully re-named “Shonnets”, on post-its that were put together on a wall. Next, they played “Dress The Bride”, the traditional bridal shower game where the bridesmaids create a dress for the bride that she has to wear. They made a beautiful one with newspaper, and put it over a delighted Shon.
Once they were through with their 7-course dinner and games, the bridesmaids brought out a fondant cake that had been designed keeping her love of picnics in mind. Was there no end to the thoughtfulness of her friends?
Her bridesmaids then came and stood next to her, one by one, in a pose they thought represented their own unique bond with Shonan in some way. The photographer clicked a picture with each of them, and then began to wrap up for the night.
The party was almost over, but she was still noticing how everywhere she turned yet another one of her favourite things was on display. It had been an incredible night – her bridesmaids had managed to take everything she loved, from cake, tea & flowers to poetry, picnics & fountains and put it all together in the bridal shower in the form of either decor, food or games! It felt like they’d taken every part of her and put it in the party somehow. If every girl was so lucky as to have friends like hers, Shonan thought to herself as she waved goodbye to her best friends. A fitting beginning to a new life, and an apt goodbye. She would miss her girls when she was gone.