Words can not describe just how excited I was when my friend Kristi (of Kristi Odom Photography) called me up and asked if I wanted to do a wedding with her IN INDIA!! (Seriously?! Do you have to ask?!) I’ve wanted to go to India since I fell in love with my first bite of Indian food and began learning more about the people and culture.
I am so grateful for the opportunity Kristi gave me. While we were there we took thousands of images. It was such a saturation of colors, lights, sounds, and people it was hard not to take photos. The only problem with taking so many is then narrowing down your favorites! It’s taken me a while to whiddle it down to the best of the best but here they are!
The first day of wedding festivities started at the groom’s family’s home for the Bride Making ceremony. When we arrived we were greeted with what was soon to become a familiar scene; piles of shoes on the porch.
I loved how all of the houses we were in had these beautiful marble slab floors. The bride’s henna contrasted with her American toe nail polish was a fun play on the mixing of cultures.
I couldn’t get over the detail and beauty of all the equisite patterns of the sarees.
One thing I love about this photo is that it’s not just a sweet portrait of Hannah helping her mom get into her saree, but it’s a record of the time. We were told to arrive early because the ceremonies HAD to start by 7:30am. Well…this was the start and you can see the time. This became a common theme and a very interesting cultural experience. We just had to laugh and let it unfold in it’s own time.
Hello, gorgeous. Love. Love. Love.
Hannah was definitely a queen. Everyone was there to wait on her and make her just perfect!
All the spices…
Rajesh told us later they had all of the bridal jewelry custom made. Absolutely stunning.
OK. I had to put this photo in just for perspective. We weren’t the only photographers there. Hannah had us as the American photographers and Rajesh’s family hired Indian photographers and videographers. Needless to say, it was a packed house.
I love that Hannah arrived in a swanky VW through a beautiful tunnel of cloths. Very fun!
This golden saree belt that Rajesh’s family presented to Hannah at the ceremony was stunning. I’ve never seen such a thing!
One of the most interesting things I learned about was the “mole” they put on Hannah. There’s a tradition that one can not be too beautiful as to upset the gods, so they must “marr her beauty”. Fascinating! Whatever the tradition says, I certainly thought she looked just perfect!
Another interesting tradition was not allowing the bride and groom to see eachother before a certain part of the ceremony. This handmade banner served as a barrier at the beginning of the ceremony.
Here’s another bird’s eye view of the setting. We were all on a small stage with about 56 billion other people on it. Elbowing for prime photo space between the other photographers and videographers was an experience.
Hannah hands the coconut to Rajesh under the banner.
Love this moment where Hannah’s parents are blessing the couple while they’re holding hands.
All 500 some people who were there lined up to bless the couple.
Throwing rice is symbolic with showering blessings.
One thing that surprised me was in the middle of the Hindu ceremony, they did a Bahai ceremony for Hannah and her family. In a culture so steeped in tradition, it was really cool to see the two families coming together.
Signing the Bahai marriage contract.
After the Bahai ceremony (which seemed to be only a nano second long compared to the Hindu ceremony) we went back to finish up the rest of the Hindu ceremony.
Loved this moment! So fun!
This whole experience was incredible. I still can’t believe all of the amazing people I met and things I learned. I feel truly blessed and humbled to have been afforded the opportunity to photograph such a unique wedding. Stay tuned for my next installment when we got to take Hannah and Rajesh out for an after session!