Epic jewellery, vibrant outfits and tons of smiles made up Hiten and Meera's Hindu Wedding ceremony last weekend - and I was lucky enough to be asked to photograph the occasion for the gorgeous couple! Unlike Christian weddings, Hindu weddings often stretch across a number of dates. This was the third event of five in the marriage, and having already taken photos at their engagement party and Meera's Sangeet, I knew them both well. Their Hindu wedding ceremony took place in the Paddock suite of Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire - a gorgeous venue that boasts woodland and acres of grounds, and plenty of photo opportunities!
The photo above is of the Pithi ceremony which generally takes place before the wedding. It shows the bride being annointed with turmeric, sandalwood paste and oils, which cleanse the body and make it aromatic. It's one of my favourite parts of the ceremony as there's plenty of natural smiles and laughter as the brides friends cover her hands, feet and cheeks in the yellow paste.
Hindu weddings are steeped in colour and symbolism - and whilst they might seem unintelligible and alien to a western audience, there are a number of similarities in the ceremonies. Like in a western wedding, the bride is helped to prepare by her close friends and family - the cocktail of excitement, nerves and animated conversation inside the dressing room is just as tangible as in any white wedding.
There is also a 'first look' as the cloth that is raised to stop the groom from seeing his future bride is dropped - another of my favourite moments. In the seconds before the veil is lowered, you can see anticipation and excitement on both of their faces, and the joy of seeing each other for the first time that day when it is dropped.
The photo below shows the bride and groom offering a sacrifice of food to the gods in exchange for their blessings of happiness, health and a life long love of each other. The groom guides his bride-to-be's hands as grain is spilt into the fire (havan).
As you can probably tell from the photos above - we had a great time! The Paddock suite at Whittlebury Hall was lovely and bright to shoot in, with huge windows which spanned two walls allowing lots of natural light into the room. Hiten and Meera were both fantastic to work with, they both had a blast and fully complemented our unobtrusive methods of shooting, leaving the posed shots for the pre-wedding shoot and letting events unfold naturally, capturing the real and unaltered emotional moments without getting involved.
We can't wait to shoot this couple's civil wedding and reception next weekend! If you've got a wedding coming up, head over to our contact page and get in touch for a quote.