Manisha & Bhav's Hindu Wedding
Hindu Wedding in Telford
This wedding photoshoot was to be a long, fun, exciting, colourful and all-round entertaining shoot for us. We’d been asked by Bhav and Manisha to capture the civil and Hindu ceremonies of their wedding. Civil Ceremony - We arrived early to get those all important ‘getting ready’ shots, whilst still ensuring Manisha looked her best. As the beautician worked away, we took to the opportunity to get some detail shots and capture the odd image of the make-up and hair being perfected. The house was alive with bodies and smiles, everyone looking their best and surprisingly quite relaxed. The car arrived and everyone spilt out onto the street. Eyes started to well up for a few people – it was suddenly becoming very real. The car, which was a white Beauford convertible, set the tone for the day wonderfully.
Manisha looked beautiful, captivating and still quite relaxed. In contrast to this was Bhav, (still looking good but much more nervous) waiting at the registry office. All went smoothly at the ceremony and the registrar was fantastic. We moved onto the essential group shots. This was a large group, so there was a lot of organising to do, as we captured those all-important memories.
Onto the venue, and what an entrance the bride made! In front of Manisha’s car was a dhol drummer (The dhol is a two-sided drum often used as an accompaniment for Punjabi folk music) - as he played, the boys lead the car to the hall, clapping and dancing as they went. Inside the hall were a stage for the bride and groom, long tables for the guests and a DJ for entertainment. There were little ceremonies within the ceremony which we captured along with the candid shots of the guests. Another star of the day was Manisha’s grandmother, who is 100 years old!! It was great to see the level of respect the family have for her, making her a key figure in the ceremony.
Not having been to a Hindu wedding before, we found it to be a great spectacle and one we would love to repeat as it was a day filled with all the energy and excitement that you would associate with one of the most important days in someone’s life. And to think, that was only the first part of the celebration!
Hindu Wedding - It was cold, early and looked like rain, not the best start to what would turn out to be a very busy day. This was the first time we had witnessed the splendour of a full-on Asian marriage and what an experience it was. A Hindu wedding is full of symbolism and religious ritual which must be performed by different family members, not only the bride and groom.
We started early at their home, where the bride and her parents were getting ready. Manisha’s mom looked beautiful in her sari, with all her jewellery and her hair and make-up done. Whilst Hussian concentrated on Manisha, I got shots of the parents, family members and guests. Her dad, brothers and Bhav all looked very fetching in their matching suits. We then made our way to the Hadley Community Centre, where the ceremony was going to take place. As we entered the centre we were greeted by Ganesh, and a canvas of Bhav and Manisha from their recent engagement shoot. The hall was beautifully decorated and a stage (known as mandap) was at the top end of the room for the bride and groom, family and priest. I had a little room to manoeuvre and take some nice intimate shots.
It seemed, at least to my eye, that this ceremony was more about the groom than the bride, which is different from what I’m used to. The bride was hidden away, out of sight for a lot of the ceremony. The room was awash with colours as the hundreds of guests made their way into the hall. There were a few more rituals to perform, in which the family gave their daughter away to Bhav. Then came the big reveal as Manisha made her grand entrance – this was the first time Bhav had seen her for a while, but she was well worth the wait. Manisha looked divine as she made her way down the aisle accompanied by her brothers on either side.
There were more rituals still to take place, some involving string, offerings, materials tied together, dyed hands, fire walking and chants. Later we had an impromptu photo shoot where the guests got their chance to meet and greet the bride and groom, and get their photos taken too. The bride and groom played a game in which they put garlands on each other, whilst they tried to resist having them put on. To make it harder for Bhav, Manisha’s family lifted her up. Also, the groom’s shoes were stolen and held to ransom, all very strange to the outsider, but it was all in good fun and the spirit of the day.
Then came the hardest part of the ceremony, the tearful farewell! As the bride and groom began to leave, music played, tears flowed and everyone crowded round to wish the couple all the best for their future together. Hussian and I are proud and privileged to have shared in their day and captured their memories, as I’m sure it was all a blur to them. Enjoy Hawaii and your lives together.
Dade Freeman is a Brighton photographer producing portraits and headshots for actors, musicians, corporate business and other professional industries.