The original bride (centre) alongside her younger sister (circled) who would go on to replace her at the ceremony
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
A bride died at her own wedding only for her sister to step in and marry the groom at the very same ceremony.
The original fiancée, named by her family as Surbhi, suffered a heart attack during the event in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, according to local reports.
She had just exchanged garlands with her intended husband-to-be Manjesh Kumar, as is Hindu custom, when she collapsed.
A doctor was rushed over from a nearby village but was unable to save her, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
But rather than draw the celebrations to a close, both families decided that she should be replaced as bride by her younger sister Nisha.
As the festivities resumed, Surbhi’s body lay in an adjoining room. She was later cremated.
Surbhi’s brother Saurabh told MailOnline: “It’s hard to believe a dead body was in the other room – and a bride was being prepared in the next one.”
Surbhi with groom Manjesh moments before her deathTahir Ibn Manzoor
“We did not know what to do in the situation,” he said in a separate statement to the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS).
“Both the families sat together and someone suggested that my younger sister Nisha should be married to the groom. The families discussed the matter and both agreed.”
Their uncle, Ajab Singh, said it had been a “tough call” for the family to continue with the proceedings, adding: “We have never witnessed such mixed emotions. The grief over her death and the happiness of the wedding has yet to sink in.”
The bride’s mother, Guddi Devi, reportedly called for the wedding to go ahead even after her daughter’s death, but her son Gaurav said she was suffering in the wake of the tragedy.
“Mummy is in a lot of pain,” he told MailOnline.
“She calls for [Surbhi] day in and day out as she was the eldest daughter. She had dreamed of doing wonders in her life. May she rest in peace.”