Paul Hidalgo - artist?
Marrying Traditions: From South Asia to South America
From circling a fire to tossing chestnuts, weddings can bring together a variety of customs.
Washington is an increasingly diverse area, and so is its wedding scene. The number of foreign diplomats, World Bank employees, and second-generation immigrants means that multicultural nuptials are common.

“It’s actually rare for me to plan a wedding where the bride and groom are the same religion or have the same ethnic background,” says Laura Metro, president of M Street Agency in Bethesda.

Throwing a multicultural affair has its challenges. Some couples host two events, each reflective of a different culture. Others design a ceremony and reception that incorporate divergent traditions.

Here are three couples who managed to pull off such a wedding, each in their own way.

From South Asia to South America

Last August, when Manvi Drona started planning a December wedding to Paul Hidalgo, whom she’d met two years earlier on a flight from Dubai to New York, friends were skeptical. Could Manvi, who is Indian, pull off a destination wedding in California that incorporated her Hindu background and Paul’s Argentinean background and Catholicism—let alone in four months?

Manvi, who works in marketing at Surety Information in DC, and Paul, a foreign-policy analyst and senior editor of the Iran Report, were confident. It helped that Manvi’s father, Bhushan, agreed to host the affair.

The McLean couple chose to marry in Sonoma because they both enjoy wine. In India, guests will travel great distances to a wedding, and festivities go on for days. Manvi and Paul decided to have a Hindu ceremony and rehearsal dinner, to which all 70 guests were invited, followed by a traditional American ceremony with a Catholic blessing the next day.

“We didn’t want anything that would involve a conversion,” says Manvi, 26. Still, the couple wanted to create something with ethnic flair.

The bride called on her San Francisco–based sister and her mother, who lives in Dubai, for help. Manvi’s mother ordered traditional Indian outfits, including custom shoes, for the wedding party. Relatives transported the hand-tailored outfits and decorations from Dubai and New Delhi.

One of the first challenges was finding a Hindu priest. “My mother interviewed several,” Manvi says. “I needed someone who would be able to translate Sanskrit into English. It’s very difficult to capture the essence of what’s being said.”

Working with a priest from Sonoma, Manvi condensed a four-hour ceremony into an hour. The couple wanted to highlight certain elements, including the Hindu tradition of incorporating earth, water, air, and fire. Two months before the wedding, a secretary at the Hindu-ceremony venue heard there would be flames in a small copper vessel and told the couple they couldn’t marry there. “She was picturing a bonfire,” says Manvi. Luckily, the owners relented.

After prayers and welcoming of the groom’s family to the mandap, or ceremony area, the bride and groom walked around the fire seven times. Together, they moved a betel nut with their bare toes as they took their vows.

The couple had prepared Hidalgo’s parents for the Indian ceremony. “There’s a lot of jocularity, which can be surprising,” Manvi says. For example, the bridesmaids steal the groom’s shoes, and the groomsmen engage in spirited bargaining to recover them; the point is for the wedding party to mingle.

As a nod to Paul’s father’s South American roots, the couple served Argentinean wine at the Hindu reception. During his toast, Bhushan Drona told guests that his daughter’s encounter with her future husband, somewhere above the clouds, confirmed his belief that marriages are arranged in heaven.

Paul’s father also gave a toast: “I found my wife when I came north from the south,” he said. “Paul found his when he went east from the west.”

At the American wedding the next day, the bride wore an off-white Vera Wang strapless gown with a three-foot train, and the groom wore a tux. The best man forgot the ring at the hotel, but it was recovered in time for the ceremony, as were the groom’s shoes.

Messages In This Thread
Paul Hidalgo - artist? - by jameson245 - 09-10-2017, 10:42 AM
RE: Paul Hidalgo - artist? - by jameson245 - 09-10-2017, 10:43 AM
RE: Paul Hidalgo - artist? - by jameson245 - 10-28-2018, 05:35 PM
RE: Paul Hidalgo - artist? - by jameson245 - 10-12-2019, 12:04 PM
RE: Paul Hidalgo - artist? - by jameson245 - 11-21-2019, 04:17 PM
RE: Paul Hidalgo - artist? - by jameson245 - 12-19-2020, 04:17 PM

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