Two weeks ago I had a the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Akila and Jeremy in Pasadena, Calif. This was my first time photographing a traditional Indian Hindu ceremony, and I had a great time documenting all the rituals and customs. Lasting nearly one-and-a-half hours, the ceremony had many similarities to a traditional Western wedding – such as walking down the aisle, the giving away of the bride and the exchange of rings. But it also has several other rituals that were new to me, including the Malasamarpana (exchanging of the garlands), the Kanyadaan (giving away of the bride), during which the mother of the bride pours a mixture of water and milk into the hands of the bride’s father, the bride and the groom, and the Saptapadi (the Seven Steps), where the couple make seven trips around the ceremony to mark the beginning of their lives together. Needless to say, there was plenty to shoot!
Although everyone was hoping for sunshine, there was more than enough color to make up for the relentless cloud cover to make this a splendid occasion. The bridesmaids were all in colorful saris, while the men wore kurta-pyjamas with colorful scarves. The bride and groom also had a change of wardrobe for the reception, with Akila changing into a gorgeous, custom-made dress and Jeremy going for a sharp tuxedo. Add to that several floral bouquets and a brightly-tiled wall and fountain at the Westin courtyard and you have a visual delight.
For the reception, the party relocated to the grand Atrium Ballroom at the nearby Sheraton Hotel. The evening was full of toasts, delicious food and plenty of mirth. Following the cake cutting, the night came to an end with a packed dance floor.
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