Indian Wedding Photographer
As an award-winning Indian wedding photographer I always get a fizz of excitement when I’m booked to capture Indian wedding photography. Who could not be excited by the sheer joy, colour and vibrancy that comes with Indian weddings?
Indian weddings are big, bright and colourful. A bold celebration of love and commitment. According to Hindu beliefs, marriages are made in heaven and once you are married the bond is supposed to last for seven lifetimes.
Indian weddings are full of wonderful rituals and traditions that make fantastic photo opportunities that really tell the story and emotion of my couple’s weddings. This makes Indian wedding photography a really good match for my documentary style of wedding photography.
Traditional Indian weddings have a timeline that stretches over three days. These days, Australian born Indians want weddings to reflect both cultures and tend to cherry pick the customs they want from traditional Indian and western weddings to create something distinctly personal to them. So, I’m going to talk about some Indian wedding traditions that have remained popular to this day.
Mehndi, more commonly known as henna, is a paste associated with positive spirits and good luck. Indian wedding traditions call for a Mehndi party to be held the night before the wedding as a way of wishing the bride good health and prosperity as she makes her journey in to marriage. In modern Indian weddings in Australia, it is used as a great way for the bridal party to get together the night before the wedding.
On the day of the wedding the groom arrives with his party with music and song. In traditional Indian weddings he would be on an elephant or a horse and would arrive with music, drums and singing something we Indian wedding photographers love capturing!). Whilst this is rare in modern Indian weddings in Australia the groom’s arrival is still a joyous and celebratory part of the wedding. (Though the occasional elephant would be great for the wedding photos)
The groom is welcomed in a ritual known as Pokwanu where the bride’s family formally welcomes the groom and his guests. The brides mother places a tilak on the groom’s forehead and then escorts him into the venue.
Indian brides traditionally wear a Sari or Lehenga mostly in red and intricately decorated with beads and embroidery. Brides are decorated from head to toe with traditional make-up, jewellery and henna. Some brides choose to keep things completely traditional; others will wear a sari or lehenga with a modern western style twist. The bride is escorted to the ceremony by her bridal party and on arrival the bride and groom place a garland around each other’s necks as a welcome into their future union together.
Ganesh Poojan is a brief ceremony where the priest gives thanks to Lord Ganesh for his divine grace, power, love and spiritual strength. In this ceremony the groom is asked to smash a clay pot with his foot. This demonstrates his ability to overcome any obstacles that the couple may face in married life.
Indian wedding ceremonies take place outside on sunny days under a canopy called Mandap. However, in the cases of unfavourable weather conditions, the Mandap can be built inside. It is adorned with traditional Indian wedding decorations such as drapes, deluxe chandeliers and multicoloured wedding flowers. For Indian weddings in Western Australia, Mandaps can be hired from specialist suppliers and some wedding venues have their own Mandaps that are included as part of their wedding package. The Mandap has four pillars, and they signify the four parents.
As part of the ceremony, the bride and groom wash their feet with milk and water to purify them for their new lives together. This is known as Kanya Daan. During the ceremony the couple are unified by the tying of the bridal knot which represents solidarity. This ritual is known as Ganth Bandan. The Phere is the sacred fire and is an important part of an Indian wedding. It is lit to invoke the Lord Agni. To seek his blessing the bride and groom walk around the alter seven times whilst exchanging vows. The number seven is significant because it signifies seven things; abundance of food, joy, strength, wealth, progeny, longevity and commitment to life.
The couple then make promises to each other which enable them to lead a sincere, respectful and peaceful life together. The groom places sindoor on the bride’s forehead and welcomes her into his life. The mangalsutra necklace which is made of gold and clay beads is then placed onto the bride’s neck and symbolises the groom’s enduring commitment to their marriage. The ceremony concludes with the priest directing the couple’s eyes to the pole star. This symbolises steadfastness in their marriage.
The ceremony is usually followed by a traditional Indian food-based buffet. The couple and their guests will dance, sing and celebrate the marriage after the meal. Much like weddings in all cultures.
In Indian weddings in Perth, the wedding reception is often arranged for the following evening. This will often include more western wedding traditions like the cutting of the cake and a first dance. Indian wedding receptions are large and lavish affairs with lots of traditional food, music, dancing and singing. The dancefloor at an Indian wedding is the best place to be. As an Indian wedding photographer it's one of my favourite parts of the day. It’s like being in the centre of a Bollywood movie. When I capture Indian wedding photography I always take my life into my own hands and get on the dancefloor to get some amazing images.
If you’re planning on having your Indian wedding in Perth, there are some great specialist vendors, suppliers and wedding venues that can help you with every aspect of planning your Indian wedding. My favourite Perth wedding venues that cater for Indian weddings are Fusion 6 and Crown Hotel and wedding planners Harmony Events can dress your Indian wedding venue and your home as well as host Mehndi parties.
If you’re currently planning your Indian wedding in Perth, I hope this blog has been useful. Have fun with the planning process. And when you’ve found the perfect venue for your Indian wedding, you’ll be looking for an experienced Indian wedding photographer. Feel free to get in touch.
I’d love to hear about your wedding plans…