The pitch-perfect wedding

Updated: 30 October, 2020 07:44 IST | Rosalyn D'mello | Mumbai

An ensemble with all the shades of me, a reading from the Old Testament in German, singing the concluding hymn and signing in the registry - I thus put down my roots and married my partner,

I did everything in-house, and my ensemble was literally something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-something-blue. Pics / Britta Foradori
I did everything in-house, and my ensemble was literally something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-something-blue. Pics / Britta Foradori

picI'll be honest, by the time I was applying finishing mascara touches, my fingers were swaying. I wondered if this was why the norm was to hire a make-up artist on your wedding day. Thank god I had kept it simple on the hair front. I had asked for a floral crown, and I imagined this meant I could get away with leaving my hair loose. By the time aunt Monika came by to deliver it, on Saturday morning, I was more or less dressed up.

There was just Johanna and me in the room. She had helped me wear my Kantha sari like a lehenga skirt. I knew I was not the kind who'd be patient enough to go to a salon and get my hair or make-up 'done', just like I would never be the kind to wear a white wedding gown.

I did everything in-house, and my ensemble was literally something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-something-blue. I repurposed a yellow sari I'd bought some years ago, and upcycled a green jacket I love, that my designer friend, Arunima Majhi had gifted me in 2016, and paired them with a blue satin top recently gifted to me by my Viennese artist friend, made by the same Zapotec women that had embroidered the clothes worn by Frida Kahlo.

I was thrilled to have found a shade within Rihanna's amazing Fenty line that complimented my complexion. I used an aquamarine eyeliner, glowy eyeshadow and light lip gloss. I wore the Amrapali earrings I'd worn at our court marriage in New Delhi, and a simple gold chain with little pearl interludes that I had bought for myself some years ago in Dubai, because my mother and sisters-in-law had insisted that a working woman should buy herself gold.

Everything had come together. Even the sun had surfaced after two days of cloudy and rainy weather. I knew we were already married, and yet, I was a bundle of nerves.

I was meant to do a reading in German. The text we'd chosen was from the Song of Songs, from the Old Testament, which I found to be delightfully subversive. Instead of just one of us doing this reading before the Gospel, we'd decided to do it together, and had chosen the passages that spoke of desire. Except the text felt like a minefield, full of difficult pronunciations and assonances that are frighteningly difficult for a non-fluent German beginner-speaker.

Added to this was my having agreed to sing the concluding hymn. I hadn't sung in public in years. I had chosen Song of Ruth, from the Old Testament, signifying Ruth, a Moabite woman, testifying to her Israelite mother-in-law her decision to accept her God and people as her own. The lyrics include such powerful lines as, "Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried." I loved that this song was not about heterosexual love, but sisterhood.

But, dear Reader, it was really as pitch-perfect a wedding as one could ask for in these precarious times.

The aunts, Monika and Maridl, had decorated the chapel the evening before. Because the sun came up, we were able to walk, as planned, up the hill, without any fanfare, with our friends Peter and Andrea, and Johanna. It was the first time the church bells rang for us specifically. I waited outside, amidst the Olive trees, until they ceased, with Maridl, beside me as a sentinel. My partner stood near the entrance, next to the festive palms.


At the appointed hour, Monika came to give me my bouquet. The priest came and welcomed us in, and the marvellous cellist, Anna Egger, played a prelude by Bach as we made our way to our Bridal pews.

The ceremony was unexpectedly poetic. The sermon by Fr. Franz Josef so moving, taking off from an observation about our choice of reading, the corporeality of love, then locating us within the frescoed interiors of Sankt Jakob's church with its monster figures below the apostles, and moving on to how the roles played by Evangelical figures from Saint Martin (Sankt Jakob in German), Saint Thomas and Saint Francis Xavier had been complicit in facilitating our present gathering. And I ended the ceremony with Song of Ruth and managed to hold my key.

It truly felt like I had married into the town, that by signing my name in the registry, I had demonstrated my will to put down roots here. Not too many people who speak about their wedding day remember the mass. Even though I'm not religious, I revelled in the unexpected details; like how the priest dipped an olive twig in holy water to spread it on our rings; that the wine we drank at the Eucharist was a Sauvignon from Tramin, how the Cello resonated, how the light kept beaming in through the skylight between the altar, how surprised I was that I was able to understand a German mass, a language I had only begun to learn in April.

When we emerged from the church, the nervousness had given way to an overwhelming joy. I had this feeling that I had finally arrived exactly where I was meant to be.

Deliberating on the life and times of Everywoman, Rosalyn D'Mello is a reputable art critic and the author of A Handbook For My Lover. She tweets @RosaParx
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First Published: 30 October, 2020 06:45 IST

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