Ayudh and Apsara held their traditional Nepali engagement ceremony in the heart of Leith, and we caught up with the bride to hear all about it as the final instalment of our series focussing on couples that celebrated their nuptials in their own way

Ayudh Bhattarai and Apsara Thapa

Venue | Himalayan Centre for Arts and Culture, Edinburgh
Photographer | Biggar Picture Photography

“Unlike western engagements which include a proposal and a ring, a Nepali engage­ment ceremony has some cultural and religious elements to it, and both families play a role as well,” explains bride Apsara. “The engagement signifies two main things: the couple’s promise to marry one another, and the two families coming together and agreeing to be a part of each other.

“Our Nepali Hindu engagement ceremony is called ‘Tika-talo’ or ‘fulmala’ in Nepali. During the ceremony, the bride and groom and their families exchange good wishes and the promise to marry, the couple exchange flower garlands and rings (the groom-to-be also gets a ring), and the families put tika (a red dye) on the couple’s foreheads. And of course, everyone enjoys good food, drinks and dancing!

“Ayudh’s grandfather, who’s a Hindu priest, conducted the religious and cultural aspects, which included us and both sets of parents reciting prayers to the Hindu gods and to each family’s ancestral deities. It all went beautifully, thanks to the hard work of Ayudh and our family and friends. I walked down the aisle with my two brothers, and I could not help but tear up when I saw the love of my life standing there waiting for me. He looked so good!

“My friends and I had prepared surprise dances, and I danced my heart out when the time came. Everyone said I couldn’t have looked happier since I didn’t leave the dancefloor! Our friends and family really enjoyed it too – you can see the happiness and fun in the photos.

“Our wedding date is not finalised yet. In Hindu culture, you need to find an auspicious date to get married, so we have to wait for the Nepali Bikram Sambat calendar (different to the Grego­rian calendar used in most of the world). This gets released next spring, so we’ll wait until then to find a date for the year. But we’re already planning our outfits and looking into venues.”

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