Indian weddings tend to be eventful, leaving little room for my time-consuming creative photo adventures. However, either because of the interfaith nature of this Indian-Jewish wedding, or more likely because of the bride’s urge for “eclectic” and “editorial” approach, this Indian wedding resulted in some cool portraits.
These are some of the first words and what would be a better start of a conversation from an Indian bride? I am fairly familiar with Indian wedding traditions and the flow. Besides Indian weddings around the US, I’ve shot them in India (Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata) and plan my next trip to cover another wedding in Bangalore in January, and maybe in Pune in March. South Asian weddings are packed, even if taking 2-3 days. So many back-to-back rituals and traditions to follow, let alone family and guests portraits! I’ve done weddings when I was only left with 10-15 minutes for creative portraiture which is tough for properly directed and “felt” experience. Of course, one sure way to add that editorial high-fashion feel for a discerning young lady is to do a “day-after” styled photoshoot, be it trash-the-dress or a honeymoon adventure as one Indian couple took me for in France and Monaco. If this is not an option, we try to fit what we can, so timing becomes crucial.
With the help of their wedding coordinator Erin Calvimontes of Divine Celebrations, Manjula and Evan managed to come up with a schedule that even after family portraiture left plenty of time for my creativeness: about two hours midday right after the wedding ceremony, then changing, and an hour prior to the reception. Oh, I also covered their rehearsal dinner the night before during which the couple willingly allowed to be stolen from the guests for the photographic warm-up. Consider the fact that this was a destination wedding for me―I flew into Pittsburgh, PA the same day, and out the next morning after the reception―you can imagine how brisk the days were for me! Things were made a lot easier for me and many traveling guests by having the wedding at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport. Super convenient to get out of the plane and rest on a comfy bed just 20 minutes later (I had no baggage to claim, of course). Ah, and why not use the nearby runway for fun shots. The avia runway is off limits, of course, so we used the highway…
During this Indian-Jewish wedding, as with many interfaith wedding ceremonies, I felt submerged into the warm words of universal valuables and belief in humanity void of fanaticism and supremacy. After the Indian ceremony by priest, interfaith minister Rev. Lisa Bansavage took the stage to proclaim the couple’s eternal love for and commitment to one another in a relaxed and joyous atmosphere. Just as a Jewish bride traditionally makes seven circles around her groom under the chuppah representing the seven wedding blessings, our couple had made traditional Indian seven circles around the Holy Fire. In the final seventh round, prayers went to God for companionship, togetherness, loyalty and understanding. Couples ask God to make them friends and give the maturity to carry out the friendship for lifetime. This beautiful Indian-Jewish wedding ceremony concluded with a Jewish tradition of breaking of glass.
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