Beautiful Hindu Wedding in Charlotte | Charlotte Wedding Photographers
Earlier this year I mentioned that I’d love to shoot a Greek wedding, a beach wedding and an Indian wedding. Within three months of saying that I actually got booked for all three (it’s been a fun year :-))! Now don’t get me wrong – I love all weddings! The art of capturing the love between two people on their wedding day is universal – the religion and location don’t matter, it’s the magic of the day that’s so engaging. I often get inquires from brides that already have their venue booked and they’ll say “Well have you ever shot here before?” Normally my answer is no because there are so many awesome venues out there the likelihood that I’ll shoot at the same venue more than a couple of times is pretty slim. But I also tell them that’s the great thing about it – a painter doesn’t want to paint the same scene every weekend, and a writer doesn’t want to write the same book. As a photographer I LOVE going to new venues, it gets my creative juices flowing. I also LOVE shooting weddings I’ve never seen before (and maybe those in a language I don’t even understand!) It’s just so exciting to see the day through someone else’s world.
And speaking of someone else’s world, my wish to shoot an Indian wedding was in a different world and a different language! I was contacted by AK Sandhu from California – she was shooting an Indian Wedding in Charlotte and wanted a local photographer to help out with 10 hours on day 3. Let me say that again – 10 hours on day THREE. These folks know how to party! When I arrived at noon on day 3 the Barat was just about to begin. AK said “Don’t be overwhelmed, just do what you do.” The Barat is the part of the ceremony where the groom and his family go to the bride’s house. In the case of a wedding at a hotel, the groom leaves one hotel entrance and travels around the hotel to the other entrance. He does this on a white horse followed by a DJ and about 100 of his closest family and friends dancing and singing around him. Let me break this down for you in my terms – it’s a mobile party for the groom at noon on the asphalt of a hotel parking lot. Hot is an understatement. Overwhelmed is an understatement. But fun? Oh yeeeaaaah!
Here’s where the party started – the groom’s “house” with his Mom & Dad. His Mom was so emotional, you could tell this moment really meant a lot to her and their family.
Now let’s get this party started! The groomsmen were AWESOME! AK said this was easily one of the best Barat’s she’s ever seen, and since it’s my only Barat, I totally agree. :-) The DJ was fantastic and even though it was about 100 degrees on that asphalt the dancing never stopped.
And here we arrived at the bride’s “house”. I love all of the colorful Saris these women are wearing!!
Now this is the part where I totally got lost. They stole the groom’s shoes and made him stand on this raised board. The photo on the left is of the actual shoe theft. There was money waving in the air, and lots of yelling and laughing. I believe the bride’s Mom was supposed to try and steal his nose, and all of the women on the groom’s side of the family had to protect his nose. See what I mean? I was lost. But it was certainly exciting!
After the nose and shoe stealing both parties made their way into the ceremony. Here are a few details – WOW, the gold and floral accents were just to die for. So beautiful.
95% of the ceremony wasn’t in English, so I have no idea what they said, but there were lots of smiles and laughter throughout the entire event so I smiled and laughed too :-). There were actually a lot of the same customs that we have in American weddings (exchanging of rings, etc.) The ceremony was about 2 hours long, so it was very detailed and rich with history. Here the bride’s Mom is washing the groom’s feet. If you’ve ever had your feet washed you know how special this is. I love the look on the Mom’s face. Total pride and joy in the moment and in the day.
When the bride came in I think my jaw hit the floor. All brides are beautiful, but the dress and jewelry were just amazing. I guess I’m so accustomed to brides wearing all white that seeing the red and gold just blew me away. Her dresses were from India and she said they weighed over 25 pounds. But wow – so fabulous. And I think I could’ve stared at her henna and bangles all day – so intricate and delicate. The effort that went into creating this day was just amazing.
They sat opposite each other for a while, and then they moved to a shared bench. The minister mixed things in these copper plates (I realize I’m not doing this description half the justice it deserves, sorry!) and they would pour them and stir them together. I was totally in awe of the amount of color on the stage – they looked beautiful together and they were clearly enjoying every minute of the ceremony.
Then all of the married women came up on stage and whispered words of wisdom to the bride. That was beautiful to watch – sometimes she laughed, sometimes she cried, it was clearly an awesome moment. I love the look on her face in the photo on the right when the ring is slipping on her finger. That’s a smile of a bride that’s excited to be getting married. :-)
This is one of my favorite shots from the day. The henna is AWESOME!!!
These next two are my favorites from the day. Remember how I said earlier that the religion or location don’t matter, that it’s capturing the magic between the couple that’s so exciting? Well, I feel like these two pictures really show that magic. Unlike American ceremonies, there’s no kissing at the end, and there’s very little kissing/PDA throughout the day. I love how these photos show the love between them during the ceremony.
After the ceremony there was a break before the reception. Now in theory that sounds like a good idea, but it was actually very hard for me! I’m used to shooting 8-12 hours straight for American weddings. You get the adrenaline pumping and you just keep moving. As soon as you sit down the weight of the day hits you and you just collapse. Having a 2 hour break in the middle of the day means you collapse and then you have to convince yourself to do it all over again! I wanted to run laps around the hotel or do jumping jacks. It’s just too hard to rest in the middle of something this huge. But, we did. And then we went in to get some shots of the bride getting ready and some shots of the bride and groom before the ceremony.
Another BEAUTIFUL dress and more colorful bangles. I just can’t get enough of this!
This is literally the only shot of the day that I was willing to convert to black and white. The colors are just so beautiful I hated to give them up, but I love the softness of this shot.
More fabulous decor for the reception – LOVE it!
And then on to the toasts. This was one of the most genuine toasts I’ve ever heard from a groom. Come to think about it, normally grooms don’t toast the bride, but Jay did and it was super sweet. I love her reaction here.
And then their reaction together while someone toasts them. :-)
The cake was FABULOUS! Have I said that too much? Seriously – look at the details. It’s just beautiful!
And these are my 2nd favorite shots from the day. I LOVE the one on the left – not sure if it’s the henna, the bangles, or the firm grip they’ve got on each other, but this image really just sums up the whole day for me. I had such an amazing time shooting this wedding. HUGE thanks again to AK Sandhu for asking me to help out, and congrats to J & K on an amazing day and their new life together!