Wedding Bliss at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead

Wedding Bliss at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead

By Damien Martin

“Happiness for the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight for the lucky, equanimity for the wicked.” Our yoga teacher, Elizabeth, instructed us to focus on one. As my wife and I were heading to a wedding later that day, I chose happiness for the happy. Standing in the garden of the Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, looking up at Buckhead skyline, I couldn’t help but think we were already the lucky ones. Even the moon hung around in the bright blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds, soaking up as much of the gorgeous morning as it could.

Limbs energized and minds relaxed, we enjoyed lunch at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead just down the street, where we were staying. Booking on the club level is worth it for the refreshments alone, but they also include two pressed items of clothing per day, which is perfect if you came in for a wedding.

The groom is of Indian descent, with Christian and Hindu parents. The bride is of Persian descent, with Muslim and Jewish parents. The wedding promised to be full of flair, and it did not disappoint. The ceremony included the sisters of both the bride and groom grinding sugar cones onto a canopy stretched over the happy couple, and the couple tasting honey from each other’s pinkies to symbolize the sweetness of the new marriage. The bride, by proxy through her sister, played hard to get, refusing to give her consent to the marriage until the third time she was asked. A table full of symbols of fertility and wealth sat in front of the couple, another traditional Persian element.

In the second half of the ceremony, the groom presented his bride with a special necklace and sari, symbolizing their bond and his protection of his new wife. Then the couple walked three times around a candelabra representing Agni, the Hindu fire deity. The wedding, which had begun with a reading from First Corinthians, ended with the groom crushing glass under his foot to shouts of “Mazel tov!” Those were quickly topped by ecstatic ululations from the Persian contingent when the bridal couple entered the cocktail hour.

As a midnight snack, the wonderful Ritz-Carlton staff brought out mini-burgers and fries. As if all that weren’t enough testament to the melting pot that is America, revelers of all ethnicities danced to hip-hop into wee hours. We were in Atlanta, after all.

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