Looking at the colorful pictures of Indian weddings in the Internet, I have long dreamt not so much to admire this action personally, as to photograph. As they say, if you insistently go to your dream, sooner or later, all your desires will come true. On this shooting many things were for the first time for me: I first photographed the wedding with the number of guests about 500 people, I first came to England, I first photographed the wedding of Sikhs and I first attended at the ceremony, which was held in a language I did not understand, from which the concentration and tension just were over the top, because you could not miss a single detail.
Sikh Wedding Traditions.
Preparations for such Indian wedding begin long before the event, both families participate in it of course. They begin to prepare the sweets that were eaten on this day, it seems to me, not one hundred kilograms, one month in advance. A few days before the celebration, the bride goes through the many-hours-long ceremony of Mehndi, when patterns from henna were put on her hands and feet.
Preparations of the groom and the bride are held in the parental homes. Traditional wedding dresses of the newlyweds impress by their magnificence and variety of various elements. The head of the bride must be covered with a shawl, and the head of the groom is decorated with a dark red turban. An indispensable attribute is also the Sikh sword, which the groom holds in the hands, and it is handed to him by his uncle. According to tradition, the groom should come to the temple on a white horse in the morning, in our case all of this was “limited” to a glittering Rolls-Royce.
Sikh Wedding Ceremony.
Near the temple the families from both sides are already waiting, they greet each other and exchange flower garlands. This beautiful ceremony ends with a tea-party with delicious Indian sweets and snacks. After this, all invited guests gather in the main hall of the Sikh temple of Gurdwara under the singing the sacred hymns.
The Sikh wedding ceremony is held before the sacred book of Holly in the Gurdwara. Before entering the temple, you must always cover your head and take off your shoes. Women and men sit on opposite sides of the “altar”, in which on the dais there is a Holly book.
The groom appears first, he carries gifts – money and a new blanket for the Holly book, bows and sits down in anticipation of the bride. The bride’s father puts the watch on the groom’s hand as a sign of accepting him into their family.
The bride appears surrounded by her birth relatives – her brother and her parents. She sits on the left side of the groom. The bride and groom and their parents stand up in prayer. The priest reads the texts that bless the marriage, tells the young about their duties, sings the sacred wedding hymn.
The father of the bride gives the end of the red scarf of the bridegroom to the bride’s hands, which means that he passes her from under his care to her husband. After that, the bride and groom walk around the altar, the bride follows the groom holding the end of his red scarf, and birth relatives accompany the girl, handing her over. At this time, the priest reads the wedding hymns, this is the most important moment of the ceremony. After the fourth round they become husband and wife.
At the end of the wedding ceremony, the guests present the newlyweds with gifts and money and go to a restaurant.
Indian Wedding Photo-shoot In London.
Ah, yes, one more “for the first time thing” in my long-term wedding practice – a photo session of the bride and groom lasted no more than 20 minutes! There is no five-hour posing against the background of various attractions, everything was very fast, whereas, part of the time took the change of the groom’s outfit.
Dear Bal and Anupe, thank you so much for inviting me to share your beautiful day!
The entrance of the newly-made husband and wife to the restaurant hall is accompanied by an incredibly energetic beating in traditional drums and a beautiful cake is cut right there. Well, actually, why not? :-) Why should you torment the guests in anticipation during the whole evening, when the delicious things can be served immediately? Moreover, the food on the tables of guests appears long before the arrival of the newlyweds. According to the Sikh tradition, the parents of the bride and groom feed the newlyweds with the first pieces of the wedding cake.
It is also specific in Sikh wedding there is no concept of a dinner till midnight, master of ceremonies and competitions for guests. The Sikh banquet is a delicious dinner and… And here the fun begins! Nowhere and at no wedding have I seen such a burst of emotions, so much joy and such genuine delight. This is the very moment – when EVERYBODY dances! Grandmothers, and children, and respectable men in ties, and elegant ladies. They danced, of course, with zest!
But for a long time it is impossible to dance so vigorously, therefore everything ends by the evening, and the bride with birth relatives leaves for her parents’ house.
The bridegroom goes after the bride and here something similar to the ransom known to us happens, when the groom and friends try to enter the bride’s house, paying a reasonably impressive sum. The bride and the groom are seated, fed again with sweets and are given money.
The end of the wedding day is a bit sad and touching moment. The girl leaves her parents’ house, throwing a handful of rice behind her back, saying goodbye to her relatives and leaving for her husband’s house.
London Wedding Photographer.
And here are some backstage photos. Special thanks to my second shooter – Irina Palei who took those pictures.