• A wedding took a morbid turn when the bride collapsed and died during the ceremonial ritual.
  • The families agreed the man would marry the woman’s younger sister instead, per multiple reports.
  • Their nuptials took place with the dead woman’s body lying in the next room.
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A wedding in India took a morbid turn when the bride collapsed and died just before completing her wedding rituals. Instead, the groom ended up marrying her younger sister on the same day — with the original bride’s body lying in another room.

The incident took place May 27 in the village of Samaspur, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, per The Times of India. The wedding was between a woman named Surabhi and a man named Mangesh Kumar from the nearby village of Nawli.

The two were exchanging traditional flower garlands during a ceremony called the jaimala when Surabhi collapsed onstage. A doctor rushed to treat her but later declared that she died from a heart attack, per the local news outlet News 18.

The day’s festivities continued, however, but with a different bride. While Surabhi’s body lay in another room in the house, the nuptials carried on with her younger sister Nisha replacing her.

“We did not know what to do in the situation. Both the families sat together and someone suggested that my younger sister Nisha should be married to the groom,” Surbhi’s brother Saurabh told the local news channel TV9.

Arranged marriage is not uncommon in India.

“Most Indian marriages are arranged between families, not girl and boy whose consent is rarely factored into the equation,” said Kamei Aphun, a sociology professor at Delhi University told the South China Morning Post.

Janaki Abraham, a professor at Delhi University, told SCMP that the families may have been pressured to make a match because of the expense of throwing a wedding. 

“Indian marriages, even among the lower classes, are expensive affairs where even the poorest of poor have to organize lavish functions in the name of ‘family honor,'” she said.

“It was a tough call for our family. One daughter lay dead in one room and the wedding of another daughter was being solemnized in the other room,” Surabhi’s uncle Ajab Singh told TV9.

“We have never witnessed such mixed emotions,” Singh said. “The grief over her death and the happiness of the wedding have yet to sink in.”

It was the second time in recent weeks that a last-minute wedding substitute in India made the news. Earlier in May, a bride in the Maharajpur town of Uttar Pradesh married a member of the groom’s wedding party after her husband-to-be ran off partway through the ceremony. The bride’s family selected a new groom from the array of groomsmen and agreed on the match.