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A Punjabi and Sri Lankan Wedding in Chicago

Bride and groom in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony

A blushing bride glows in her gold-trimmed red sari. Mardi Gras Indians dressed in vibrant feathers move to the beat of a drum. A happy couple, clad in jewel-toned robes, bow reverently before their elders. From jumping the broom to tying the knot, wedding celebrations in America are as diverse as the nation itself. Join celebrity chef and culinary author Lidia Bastianich as her “plus one” on a cross-country matrimonial odyssey in her new PBS prime-time special, Lidia Celebrates America: Weddings: Something Borrowed, Something New, airing Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 8pm on PBS (check local listings).

In Chicago, Angie and Reggie are about to wed in a traditional Indian ceremony.

“Angie, the bride, is from Punjab, which is north of India, and Reggie is from Sri Lanka, which is a different country,” Lidia notes. “So there’s a lot of space between them – big difference, yet a lot of commonality.”

Lidia leads viewers through the preparations for the lavish ceremony, as Angie’s hands and arms are decorated with intricate henna tattoos and Reggie arrives on the back of a sumptuously adorned white horse. Joining in the festivities is actor Mario Cantone, known for portraying a wedding planner on Sex and the City, who has his henna done alongside Lidia. Indian actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey, meanwhile, serves up a delicious primer on classic Indian wedding dishes, including tandoori specials, seafood kebabs and traditional Indian breads.

More Weddings from Lidia Celebrates America: