Christian weddings in India's biggest city
Presenting the wedding photos of Jovita and Leslie Kinny, East Indians+ from Versova and Mahim, respectively. They were married in 1987 at the church of Our Lady of Health, Versova.
I obtained these lovely photos from their daughter, Terencia Kinny, who is now researching East Indian customs and architecture for her thesis and always offers me valuable inputs and tremendous support for my own researches.
Through her, I got to ask Mr and Mrs Kinny about their wedding and about the way things were done in the 1980s in Mumbai.
Jovita and Leslie had a very traditional wedding, back when in Mumbai, the bride’s side held the reception at her home in the morning after the nuptial mass and the groom’s side had their reception in the evening. The celebrations, according to the way things would be done back then, went on for a week!
These days, two separate receptions in a place like Mumbai are not an option, as it is simply less tiring and more economical to celebrate the nuptials in a combined reception in the evening. An entire week’s celebration has also narrowed down to merely an extended weekend. However, this only means a more intense celebration for everyone!
Jovita Kinny’s gown, a beautiful lace and tulle creation was stitched by a seamstress from Bandra called Pamela. The charges for wedding gowns in the 1980s mostly hovered around an all-inclusive Rs. 10,000. The bridal tailor would source the footwear and take care of the bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ dresses and complete the order rather efficiently.
Jovita was very particular about her gown and worked closely with her seamstress to get every detail right – the design of the neck, the sleeves, the flares, the finishing and the textures – everything had to be just right.
Leslie, however, got his suit stitched for much less and with probably less fuss. Ajit Tailors in Bandra would stitch two suits for Rs. 5000.
I asked Leslie and Jovita to share the way weddings would be celebrated in those days and if they were as hectic then as they seem to be now. I’ll just quote their lovely reminiscing below:
Yes they were as hectic, although the focus was more on the family and each individual. People looked forward to home-cooked food – indyaal+, sarpatel+, foogyas+, moel+, sannas+, and so on. In those days, all the women would get together and stir up lip-smacking delights, while the men would pour down spirits to raise spirits … munching on deep-fried foogyas and fried chicken stolen from its journey to become part of the moel.
The wedding reception would be held in pendals+ and people would party hard till the sun rose to the sound of the brass band.
We did complete justice to drinking like a fish, as with no outsiders, it was simply easier to enjoy the way you wanted.
There is nothing Jovita and Leslie would like to change if they were to marry all over again today – except perhaps, the ‘obscene’ Bollywood songs that are creeping into the East Indian celebratory music – the masala+ music. They are not big fans of the digital sounds popular these days, and I would have to agree with them here. The East Indian brass bands, or even recorded brass bands are joyous and no traditional wedding is complete without one!
A big thank you to Jovita, Leslie and Terencia Kinny for sharing such wonderful memories with the readers of Bombay Brides.
Do wish this beautiful couple many more loving years of marriage in the comments below. If you have a wedding photo from years gone by to share with the readers of Bombay Brides, feel free to contact me.
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+ Visit the Glossary page to understand these terms.