In 40 days, Gabriella and Timothy are seeing the world, soaking up new cultures and getting married in one fascinating journey.

Around the world in 7 weddings This US couple is saying I do from Chennai to Kenya
Features Wedding Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 15:48

As the pujari recites mantra after mantra and issues instructions on what needs to be done next in the ceremony, Timothy Peirco Tomlin and Gabriella Sandberg listen and follow enthusiastically.

Finally, with the ritual walk around the fire seven times, Timothy – dressed in a crisp, white veshti – and Gabriella – dressed in a maroon nine-yard saree – are pronounced married for the fourth time in three weeks.  

The ceremony that the couple completed on June 7 is just the fourth of their seven weddings, which the couple, based in Atlanta, US, are celebrating in seven different countries over forty days.

But why exactly?

“We could have done an American wedding. But it wasn’t something that resonated with us. We wanted to do something that was interesting. We thought, why don’t we travel and make that our wedding,” says Gabriella to TNM.  

Their ‘holiday’ began in Tokyo, Japan, where Gabriella, a veterinarian and her husband Timothy, a Masters’ student in Psychology, wed for the first time on May 18. The bride and groom, both dressed in kimonos, got married as per Shinto traditions. “It was a short ceremony, about 30 minutes or so. My aunt and cousin also joined in,” says the 27-year-old bride.

From Japan, the American couple flew to Bali in Indonesia, where the second wedding was held on May 30. The informal western ceremony set in a paddy field, saw Gabriella, dressed in a white lace gown and Timothy, in a black suit and bow-tie, becoming ‘man and wife’ for the second time. A close friend, who had flown down to Bali from the US, was their lone witness and guest.

Wedding No. 3 was at Patan in Nepal. Gabriella says, “We had contacted a monastery before our travels asking to be blessed by a Buddhist priest. The blessing was held on June 2 near the Golden Temple.”

The couple then made their way to Chennai for their Indian wedding. The Hindu ceremony was held at Gabriella’s professor Mohan Kumar’s residence. “It was an abridged version of the usual wedding ceremony. It was beautiful and we were so honoured to be a part of a new culture. About 10 or 15 people from down the street came to witness us getting married. We also had some classmates join us,” she says.

 

After spending a day soaking up some sun at Mahabalipuram, the newlyweds then dashed off to their next destination – Kenya. Set in the Maasai Mara, Gabriella and Timothy wed for the fifth time in a traditional Maasai ceremony earlier this week.  Both bride and groom were dressed in tribal regalia.

 

The bride and groom, who are still traveling, have planned wedding number six in the sky. The couple plan to get married on a hot air balloon in Prague. Their parents and Gabriella’s brother will be their guests.  

The final wedding will be held in Amsterdam, where the couple’s friends will join them in a Catholic ceremony. The bride’s friend will officiate the wedding.

Gabriella and Timothy, who have been engaged for seven years, say it took three years to plan their dream holiday wedding(s).  

 

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