More than 400 students, faculty and community members participated on Sunday in an Indian wedding festival put on in the Commonwealth Ballroom by VCU student organization Tiranga Indian Nationals.
The event, called Shaadi Mubarak, was free and open to anyone. The festivities included traditional Indian cuisine, décor, an Indian wedding photo booth complete with props, and live performances.
“We were overwhelmed with the amazing response we got,” said Bhavi Modi, a Ph.D. student at VCU who is on the Tiranga organizing committee. “The fact that Tiranga delivers beyond one’s expectations was loud and clear yesterday. It gives us immense satisfaction to know that our guests absolutely loved everything we had in store for them.”
The evening’s entertainment featured performances by VCU’s Indian Student Association, Nepalese Student Association and Bhangra dance team as well as several solo dancers, a band performance and a fashion show.
“It’s really great to get a taste of this culture, everyone is so welcoming,” said sophomore Wendy Cho, a history and international studies double major. “You can really tell a lot of effort went into all of this. The colors and decorations as well as the overall fluidity of the night’s events are really impressive.”
From 2009 to 2013, Tiranga was awarded Best Cultural Student Organization by the university, and has won best booth at the Intercultural Festival at VCU the last four consecutive years.
“Team Tiranga has always strived to put together events which give us an opportunity to showcase a small segment of the multi-faceted diverse Indian culture each semester,” Modi said. “We cannot express the happiness that we are feeling from all the appreciation that we have been receiving,” Modi said.
The three-hour long event reached an audience outside of the immediate VCU community as well. Ralph Starling, a Christian minister, said he and many other local community members were present to support students who are living away from their families in India to attend school.
“I, as well as many others, work with students to make sure they have the most hospitable stay possible while in Richmond,” Starling said. “Some of the host families are here tonight to support their students—it’s really great. I’ve been to events sponsored by Tiranga before and they always do an excellent job with every aspect.”