An Indian Wedding, The Wiebner Way - Day 1

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 - Weddings
I am so thrilled to be posting this! We have finally done something out of our norm for weddings. An Indian wedding! And not just the wedding - it was a 3 day event. I have broken the 3 days down into 3 different posts. There was just so much that happened over these 3 days we couldn't justify squeezing it all into one post. I am going to talk about each day's events in as much detail as I can remember. Also, our couple wishes to keep their names private, so they will be referred to in the posts as "M+S". Now on to the fun!

As this is something we have never photographed before, we didn't know what to expect. Luckily, our bride, S, was very understanding. She hired us for what she saw in our work, not whether we had experience with this certain type of event. I love it when someone can see the potential of what we can do. Put us in any situation and we can photograph it. You will see that is proven over these 3 days! Anyway, since S lives in California, we actually didn't meet her until the first day of the event. This was another first for us! We did however have a LONG phone conversation a few days before the wedding about all of the events and traditions her family would participate in. She was also really detail oriented, which was a big help, and sent us a daily itinerary of everything with explanations and so forth. She was a gem!

The first evening of the event, Thursday, June 11th, we were scheduled to be at her parent's house in Abington, PA for about 3 hours to shoot. There were several different traditions that evening - Chunni, Mehndi and Bhaat. It was just so fascinating to both Joel and myself to witness these events. Chunni was a formal ceremony where the groom's family presented gifts to the bride, and then in turn, the bride's family presented gifts to the groom. A few other traditions were performed with this as well. Mehndi, was the ceremony where the Henna hand and feet decorations were applied. Many of the women guests had this applied to their hands, but S had both of her hands and feet decorated. What intricate work! S told us that it takes a few hours for it to dry, and she was basically stuck on the sofa until it was finished and dry. Poor S! She didn't seem to mind though. Since Mehndi took a few hours, one other ceremony went on while S was occupied with the Mehndi. Bhaat was a ceremony performed by S' mother, where she welcomed her family to the house. Her oldest brother came in first and was presented with food and gifts. The rest of her siblings followed. After Bhaat, a short skit was performed to entertain S while she was having her Henna applied. Her cousins were the performers and everyone was laughing at the different antics they were performing. It was a crowd pleaser!

Shortly after the main skits were completed, it was time for Joel and I to leave. As we were walking out the door we grabbed one last shot that was fun. You can see it at the end. :) It was time to go home and rest up for Friday!

Here is our bride, S, conversing with one of her elder family members. Most of S' family flew in from India for the wedding. M's family was mostly from Canada - regardless, there was a LOT of guests that traveled far!
A simple portrait of S to show off the beautiful gown she wore. She told me that after her and M were engaged, they flew to India and ordered all of their clothes for the wedding. They were all made custom in India!
S' jewelry was gorgeous for each event. The details are just beautiful!
S' father waiting for M and his family to arrive.
This one is for Joel - one of the traditional foods that were fed to the guests and each other - he loved it! We were fed it several times over the course of the events. It is pista barfi - a pistachio Indian sweet treat, covered in edible silver foil, or varakh. Delicious!
One of the guests having her Henna applied.
Look at those delicious looking treats!
M+S await the start of Chunni.
This is what the Henna looks like when first applied, as it dries, the black starts to peel or rub off, and the henna "tattoo" is what remains on the skin.
Family members singing during Chunni.
M enjoying some of the food.
S' henna starts its application process.
Can you believe they do this freehand?
S' mother and one of her brothers during the Bhaat ceremony.
Some of S' relatives performing the skits. They were acting out various traits of the relatives, so that M could guess who the family member was. It was a way for him to get more familiar with S' family. It was pretty funny!
Everyone was really enjoying the skits. :)
And out the door we go. There were so many shoes on the front porch it was hard not to trip over them! :)
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