Real Weddings: Barkha + Karim

Each and every little detail of Barkha and Karim’s Chicago wedding is colorful, joyous, and celebratory! Dawn Roscoe captured the gorgeous images and Barkha was kind enough to share details of their traditional Hindu ceremony with us.

Barkha is a gorgeous bride!  Her lengha was designed by Bollywood designer Netta Lulla.

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Colorful Indian Bridesmaids

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The Chicago Botanical Gardens was the perfect setting for the ceremony.  Barkha shares:

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The event began with the baraat, which is the arrival of the groom.  Traditionally Karim (my husband) would have come on a horse, but since the garden wouldn’t allow animals – he used a golf cart.  He was actually quite happy about this and enjoyed dancing with his friends and family without worrying about the horse.

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When I walked down the aisle – wait I didn’t walk – I was brought in a traditional doli (a cart where princesses in the olden days in India would be brought in during their weddings), I couldn’t help but have a smile from ear to ear.  Traditionally Indian brides are supposed to show some shyness, but I was so ecstatic that this day had finally come and I was finally marrying the love of my life, that I couldn’t hold it in — and my happiness exuded throughout the ceremony.

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Set along the backdrop of the beautiful lake of the Gardens with all the flowerbeds surrounding – our mandap was gorgeous.  Kehoe Designs did a phenomenal job creating a simple, yet elegant look for the Mandap and having the backdrop truly prominent.

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Once Karim and I were both in the Mandap, the priest performed a traditional Hindu ceremony.  It started with the exchange of garlands.

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I think the best part of the Hindu ceremony is that even though there are a lot of meaningful rituals, there are always these fun little traditions passed down throughout the generations incorporated as well.  We took four rounds around a fire signifying our commitment to eachother and took our seven vows with the foot tapping on the nut ceremony…

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…followed by the application of sindoor (a red powder) on my head and the tying of a mangulsutra (a black beaded necklace) from Karim, to signify that I am now a married woman.  The funniest part of this was that Karim not only got my head with the sindoor but managed to accidentally get it on my nose too!  I was a little upset but Indian superstition says that’s a sign of good luck!

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Once the wedding ceremony ended, the negotiations began!  According to Indian tradition the bride’s sisters and girlfriends steal the groom’s shoes in return for money.  Only after they get their demanded amount do they let their sister/friend leave with the groom.  After a lot of negotiation and back and forth banter, my sister ended up $1,000 richer!  I had made a deal with her that I would get half if I played along and said that this is the average amount. :)

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After the ceremony, the couple changed into reception attire and headed to the ballroom at the Sheraton Chicago, which the team at Kehoe Designs had completely transformed using purple and blue lighting and tons of orchids!

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Dawn and Barkha, thank you for sharing this wedding with EAD!


Photography – Dawn Roscoe
Decor – Kehoe Designs
Ceremony Location – Chicago Botanical Gardens
Reception Location – Sheraton Chicago
Lengha – Netta Lulla
Sherwani – Rocky S