" In keeping with tradition, the bride wore scarlet . . . "

So the husband and I attended the most lovely wedding earlier this month. A former colleague who worked with my husband invited us to participate in her wonderful day, which involved not one but two wedding rituals -- one Christian and one Sikh.

Now I must admit at the outset that we both were . . . I think nonplussed is the word . . . to learn that the Eastern ritual would require that we enter the room without our shoes, cover our hair and (can you hear the creak of knees and hips?) sit on the floor for the two-hour ceremony.

It was easy enough for me to find a lovely scarf to complement my western dress, and Coleen was confident that as long as I had a fresh pedicure the no-shoes situation could hold no fear. But the husband was . . . I'm going to say hesitant. Yes, hesitant, and -- because he rarely wears headgear other than a ball cap on a Boy Scout camping trip -- concerned that he would offend either our hosts or his own sense of dignity. (Men . . . .) He ended up wearing a patriotic red-white-and-blue bandanna that, while perfectly appropriate, also gave his charcoal grey suit a dashing biker dude air. He wouldn't let me take a picture.

And I'm telling you people, the lovely if virginal white wedding dress that we Westerners are accustomed to pales in all ways to the opulently beautiful traditional wedding garb of an Indian woman.

This is to say nothing of the fact that in the Indian and Sikh tradition, the groom dresses like an exotic Eastern prince. I will never swoon over a man in a tuxedo in the same way again.

Now don't get me wrong -- the Christian ceremony that followed was lovely. The lakeside setting and the adoring gaze of the groom were enough to make any grandmother a little teary-eyed. You do see that he shaved in between the two ceremonies, right? For me this just proved what I have always suspected: beards really are that itchy, and he really must love her a lot.

As the bride appeared with her father for this second ceremony, I was vividly reminded that this woman is really such a gorgeous blending of two worlds -- all rolled up in one brilliant and sophisticated package: a savvy computer engineer who also founded an e-zine for young and modern Indian-American women, who want to embrace every aspect of both their cultures. No wonder her dad looks so proud.