Hannah & Rajesh: Married in India!!!

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!

Day One:

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. 

 Day Two:

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!

Christiana & Aaron's Vintage - Chic DIY Wedding

I’m so glad I’m finally getting a chance to blog this super romantic & beautiful wedding!  Christiana & Aaron (remember them from the Glen Echo engagement session?) were married in her family’s church but the prep work & partying were all at the historic Rockledge Mansion in Occoquan, VA.

The house is hundreds of years old and very (and I mean, very) cool.  Parts of the house are built into the hillside; or the hillside is built into the house.  I don’t know which is the proper way of describing it, but it’s pretty cool!

Christiana’s dress was simply fairy tale and stunning.

 LOVED her shoes.  And the flowers?  Yeah…the bride MADE them out of coffee filters.  How amazing & talented is she?!

In celebration of the vintage beauty this venue had to offer, I used one of my vintage lenses.  It makes me miss being in photo school terribly.  Back when I had to use 4x5 view cameras.  Those are the ones you have to set on a tripod, and go under the little curtain to frame up the shot.  Old school.  Anyway, I just love this moment Christie is having with her maid of honor helping her into her dress.  So sweet! 

With the veil, it’s real! 

All of Christie’s maids were adorable and sweet in their dresses.  And their bouquets?  Yup.  The bride made those out of coffee filters, too!

And here’s Aaron, the groom.  I got a kick out of his Star Wars storm trooper.  

The sincere happiness and love between Christiana & Aaron is awe inspiring.  I was humbled to watch the ceremony. 

Notice all the little paper stars?  Yup.  DIY!  The bride confessed to me later that there was a typo on their first round of invites, so rather than let them go to waste, they thought up to string these whimsical stars over their ceremony. 

Their centerpieces were very cool!  And their cake was sweet and romantic.  Just like them. 

This dress can move!  Christiana’s dad took her for a spin around the dance floor and put on a spectacular show. 

After that, the ring bearer showed off a few of his moves, too. 

I’d say a good time was had by all! 

New Baby, New Year!

This photo session would have never happened without the miracle of social media!  Back in the day (what up 1993?!) I lived down the street from Candy.  I was smack dab in the middle (age-wise) between her and her little sister so I got the joy of hanging out with both of them.  Years passed.  We moved.  We went to college.  We grew up.  Lost touch.  Basically, life happened.  Then one day, lo & behold, Facebook suggested a friend for me!  Ever since we’ve had a blast hanging out again, and Candy & her husband Brian have become regular patrons of SoftBox Media for their photo needs.  We did a sweet anniversary shoot for them, got them to model in a styled wedding photo shoot for us, and now (most importantly I might add) we got the privledge of capturing the first photos of their firstborn, baby Harrison! 

Shortly before Christmas, they came to us for the photo shoot when Harrison was just 5 days old!  I was incredibly honored and excited that they chose us to capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments. 

Ok, really???  Aren’t they the most adorable little family?!

We nicknamed Brian “The Baby Whisperer” for his mad skills in soothing Harrison when he wasn’t so thrilled with our plans.

I’m pretty confident this is my favorite family portrait.  Ever.

Harrison was not a fan of the Christmas lights.  Maybe next year?

Melanie & Adam: engaged!

If you didn’t know already, I’m a huge horse/nature/country nut.  Something about being out on a farm connects with my soul and I have always loved it.  Likely this is why I was jumping for joy when Melanie and Adam requested a rustic, outdoors, farm engagement session.  We had just gone trail riding and seen the perfect location: a little place called Park Overlook Farm in Brookeville, MD.  I was super excited when we gained permission from the owner to do a photo shoot there.  Here’s what we got!

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Jacqui & John: Married in Cabo!

Welcome to the beautiful Zoetry Casa Del Mar resort in Cabo!

Couldn’t you just stare at that view forever?  I know we sure could!  Thanks to Jacqui & John, we were afforded a MOST amazing opportunity to photograph their desitation wedding in paradise.  It all started when Jacqui and John booked us for their Washington, D.C. wedding.  A few months later Jacqui contacted me and was very upset that she’d have to cancel her contract.  I asked her what was wrong and she said that wedding planning had gotten out of control in D.C.  That the wedding was turning into a huge event and what they really wanted was a small, intimate celebration with close family so they’d chosen to do a destination wedding in Cabo.

Cabo?!  My ears perked up.  I was surprised Jacqui didn’t know that we also travel for weddings.  All over the US and internationally.  She was excited but wasn’t sure if she could afford it, assuming that sending two people internationally wouldn’t be cheap.  I told her that she needed to check with the rules of the resort (some don’t let in outside photographers) and if they allowed it, then we’d work out a package for them.  It turned out that as long as we stayed at The Zoetry (no complaints here!) then we would be allowed to photograph.  With that good news in tow, we spent some time working with Jacqui and John to come up with a custom travel package that fit in their budget and gave them what they wanted.  Success for everyone!

Now, I know it’s hard to peel your eyes off the gorgeousness that is the view from our hotel room, but believe me, you’re in for a treat if you check out the rest of their wedding images!  Go see!

I think Jacqui’s dress is the most romantic dress I’ve ever seen on a bride!

The girls were all wonderful!  Even brighter and more beautiful than their surroundings.

So, riding to the ceremony on horseback was an important thing for John and his family.  How awesome is that?  Guys in tuxes, riding horses, on the beach, in Cabo!

I was supremely jealous to capture this scene from Jacqui’s hotel room as Ian (see the guy with the camera?) got to ride along with John and all the groomsmen.  Seriously?!  All my 20 years of horseback riding and I’d never ridden a horse on the beach and here he gets to do it?!  (The next morning I got my wish and got to go for a ride so I felt a little better!)

Also important to the groom was to have a mariachi band.  These guys were awesome for the ceremony music at sunset.

How’s this for a walk down the aisle?

*sigh*  So pretty!

I couldn’t resist taking advantage of the amazing hotel entrance for photos.

I loved this spot for the reception.

At the end of the night, a neighboring resort set off paper lanterns.  It was magical!