Weddings are an integral part of South Asian culture. They are known for being vivacious, lively and vibrant celebrations of life, love and, of course, tying the knot. In honor of traditional South Asian culture and heritage, Binghamton University’s Pakistani Students Association (PSA) hosted a mock shaadi, or wedding, in the Mandela Room in the University Union on Saturday night.
Bhumesh Kaushal, an undeclared sophomore, and Mahnoor Khan, a junior majoring in economics, were chosen to “marry” one another at Mock Shaadi through an application process. The wedding preparations were complete with a marriage proposal, wedding invitations for all those who bought tickets, a video showing the moment the bride and groom first met and even a traditional mehndi night the week of the wedding where attendees got henna tattoos done.
Kaushal expressed his excitement to be involved in Mock Shaadi this year.
“I’m really excited to be groom this year,” he said. “To represent the South Asian community in a unique to something as a wedding is truly an honor. I’m glad to be part of something as big and fun as mock shaadi.”
The night of the wedding, the Mandela Room was filled with students in a wide variety of colorful, intricate, traditional South Asian clothes and jewelry including salwar kameezes, kurtas, cholis and saris. Guests were given rose petals and fake $100 bills to throw at the bride and groom as they walked down the aisle accompanied by the bridal party and groomsmen.
Shortly afterward, BU’s Bhangra team performed an energetic and upbeat dance for the audience. Both the bride’s side and the groom’s side performed choreographed dances to iconic Hindi songs such as “Bole Chudiyan.” The dance performances ended with a choreographed slow dance from the bride and groom, both of whom were cheered on and applauded by a supportive and attentive audience of guests. After the dance performances, the floor opened up for everyone to celebrate and dance along to everything from Drake to Bollywood classics.
Emily Schieber, a freshman majoring in human development, said her favorite part of the event was watching the couple dance.
“I had a great time,” Schieber said. “The club members were so welcoming, the DJ was really good and it was super well-organized.”
PSA worked hard in decorating the Mandela Room for the celebration with a centerpiece at every table, a traditionally decorated stage for the bride and groom and a decorative backdrop for photos. For dinner, PSA served South Asian classics such as naan, saag paneer, butter chicken, biryani, samosas, mango lassi and numerous other dishes.
Liza Handler, a freshman majoring in psychology, said the event was colorful and exciting.
“I loved seeing all of my peers dressed up and celebrating together,” she said.
Handler also elaborated on the value Mock Shaadi brings to the BU community.
“Both people who were and weren’t involved in the club were so welcome there,” she said. “It felt like a real wedding and a real reason for the student body to come together and appreciate South Asian culture.”