I always wondered where my photography journey would take me. For a long time I’ve day dreamed to travel to different places and photograph weddings in different parts of the world. It’s just the wanderlust in me in wanting to create adventurous elopements & intimate weddings worldwide. When I finally had the opportunity to travel to San Fransisco, CA for a Indian wedding it was truly a dream come true! The best part, I was able to share this experience with my amazing husband Walter. He knew how much this meant to me and he wanted to be a part of the adventure.
Deepa & Zach's Wedding was something out from a fairytale book, the bride was so beautiful inside and out. She had this sparkle in her eyes every time she will look at her husband to be and then she will smile at herself maybe thinking to her self at last I have found my true love. The groom Zach was so outgoing and humble and had a grin from ear to ear every time he would look at his wife to be, there were times I was photographing him looking at his bride and I would smile and get emotional because the way he would looked at her made me think of my favorite movie when Harry met Sally when he said "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." Deepa & Zach's wedding was beautiful rich in bold colors and meaningful traditions from start to finish. But before you start looking at their beautiful pictures let me give you a brief summary of the traditions in a Indian wedding...
Hindu weddings are supposed to take place outside, on the earth, under a canopy known as a Mandap. Each of the four pillars of the bridal canopy represents one of the four parents. If an outdoor wedding is not possible, a Mandap is built inside. Seating under it can be on the ground or on chairs. "A typical Indian ceremony includes a priest, a fire, and a Mandap,” says Candice Benson of The Finishing Touch, Wedding & Event Planning. Front and center under the Mandap is the sacred fire. “The fire can be small, and can be confined to a brazier or dish for safety. Agni, the god of fire, is said to be the sustainer of life, and thus gives life to the marriage.”
Though Indian couples in America have eliminated various traditions, one key ritual still performed is the Mangalphera, the walk around the fire. That's when the couple walks around the fire four times. Each turn represents a major goal in life: Dharma, morality; Artha, prosperity; Kama, personal gratification; and Moksha, spirituality.
“The marriage officially takes place when the bride and groom walk around the fire four times, as the Pandit, who chants verses during the ceremony, ties them together,” says Ferinoosh. “Once they finish their walk around the fire,” she continues, “the couple has to rush to their seat. Whoever sits down first is said to be the dominant one in the marriage!”“In another ritual,” says Candice, “the priest takes the scarves the bride and groom are wearing and ties them together before walking them around the fire.”
The couple also takes seven steps together, with each step representing a marital vow. This is the Saptapardi, the seven steps. “Each step represents a promise the couple must make,” adds Candice. “They promise to be committed to each other and to take care of each other.”
The priest offers blessings for an abundance of food, that the couple complement one another, be blessed with prosperity, be eternally happy, be blessed with children, live in perfect harmony, and finally, that the bride and groom always be the best of friends.
Indian couples also exchange various items during their ceremony, including rings. The ring exchange was not part of the original Vedic Hindu ceremony, but is becoming the most widely added new tradition. The couple also exchange garlands during the ceremony. The garland is a traditional gesture of acceptance of one another. Towards the end of the ceremony, the bride is also presented with a Mangalsutra, a necklace worn only by married women. “Friends and families also throw flowers or rice after the couple is married, for happiness and prosperity.”
The Wedding Procession
In most Indian wedding celebrations, the day begins in the morning with the groom’s procession, where the groom’s entire party lead him to the wedding Mandap. “A typical ceremony starts with Barat, when the groom arrives on a white horse,” says Ferinoosh. “The groom is dressed in a long jacket called a Sherwani and fitted trousers called Churidars. He wears a Safa, a turban, on his head, with a big fancy brooch called Kalgi pinned onto it.” During this ritual, as the groom rides in on his white horse, his friends and family dance and sing around him. Upon arriving at the ceremony site, he is greeted by the bride’s parents and other family elders.
Washing the Groom Feet
They wash the feet of the bride and groom with milk and water, purifying them for their new life together.
It was and honor and privilege to be able to photography their wedding because I learned a lot and understood certain traditions and I am so happy I was part of it and being able to document all those priceless moments so they can be able to cherish it for a life time.
Welcome to Deepa & Zach's Happily Ever After...