There is no denying that Indian Weddings are a lot of work for the families involved, the photographers, vendors, and even guests involved. In the US, they can last between 2 to 5 days of marital proceedings. From the rich and vivid colors, to the cardiac rate of the dancing, to the Vedic ceremony and pageantry of how love is displayed is magical if not surreal to me!!
Indian or Desi, a loose term used to identify that region of South Asia or Indian sub-cotenant, weddings have always been a thing of love for me, and I am always humbled and enriched by each one that I have been honored to capture Shelly and Alok’s days as a Desi Wedding Photographer.
Many of the wedding customs are common among the Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Muslims, but I feel like with the fusion of cultures, I have heard and witnessed to the intermingling of Catholic, Buddhist, and many other denominations traditions to the celebratory proceeding of what a “wedding day” should look like. And for me, I love that marriages are as much about inclusion as they are about customs and traditions. It’s a celebration to be had and witnessed by all, so why not have more food and drink, more dancing, and ultimately more love on a day like no other for the marrying couple.
Admittedly, I love how Desi weddings make me feel. I get lost in the laughing, the dancing, the tears, and even in the arguments of the day(s) between the family members, because its not the quantity of the interactions, but the quality of the interactions. In that, the arguments are about making the moment better and everyone is intensely aware of how important this day is towards the bride and groom.
Additionally, the children are free to be themselves with the dancing, eating and even drinking (punch for them) ☺. More than any types of weddings, I have cried and shed many tears as a photographer as witness to purest and captivating of emotions. Right now, as I right this I get goose bumps because I am reminded of how raw and visceral the emotions can be. The rapture of it all makes it beyond just another day for me, as a wedding photographer.
Shelly and Alok were such a wonderful couple and I truly fell in love with what unfolded before me after the long winter break I had from weddings. My eyes welled up and the goosebumps persisted as I watch how wonderful and loving the family and friends were. I got to know them, the family, and friends that made it so worth living for. I cannot describe to you how much traditions, flare, and color of the events paled in comparison to how beautiful the families gracefully love each other and how much care was taken to make sure each and everyone were taken care of. Thank you to the parents, family, and friends that made it so worthwhile for me to become a wedding photographer. Watch the slide show I made for them here.
For those of us who have not been initiated by the Desi wedding proceedings I will provide some of the more common terms for those who wan to know more – because we all were foreign to the process at some point. These are terms that I have picked up and understood over the years, so I am not a definitive or authorities source for all of these terms, but I a true fan of such proceedings!! ☺
Mehndi – a temporary, decorative tattoo with organic inks that can be very elaborate, and the most decorative and elaborate of the inking is on the bride. Generally, she is covered in such designs from the fingers up to the elbow and, and on her legs its from the toes and up. But can be
Baraat – A groom’s procession that includes him arriving on a horse with sword in hand behind a group of dancing invitees that includes dancing were the elders from both families meet and formalize the arrival of the groom to the ceremonial location of the bride. The greeting is meant to and
Joota Chupai – One of my favorite traditions in Desi weddings is the stealing of the groom’s shoes. So the tradition starts when the groom has to take of his shoes at some point at arriving ceremony hall. At this point, its fair game whether the bride’s or groom’s side steals the shoes. Traditionally, the bride’s side steals them to barter(money) with the groom for them back later. More than the fun that is had with such Desi Wedding games proceedings, is the symbolic “humbling” of the groom and his promise to always take care of his bride to be.
Garba – A traditional Gujurati folk dance and is often a pre‐wedding evening of dance and festivities organized
Vidaai – The departure of the newly married couple (also, Bidaai, Ruksat, Doli)
Dhol – The person who plays the large drum used in Punjabi weddings
Henna – A coloured paste made from the green leaves of a henna plant used to decorate the hands and feet of the bride (also, this has been interchanged meaning with Mehndi). Genrally the darker the
Barfee – An Indian sweet used as part of many Indian wedding rituals and ceremonies used to offer the bride and groo.
Aashirwad – A blessing the newly wed couple
Tikka – A piece of jewelry consisting of a pendant and a length of chain that goes over her hair and has a gem that is centered on her forehead
Puja – A Hindu prayer (also, Pooja)