Indian wedding traditions are really a pleasure to document. Monali and Ashish’s wedding celebration full of elaborate and ritualistic festivities spanned a three day period during which I again learned a lot about their culture and had a lot of fun.  Below, you will see important pre-wedding rituals involved in a traditional Hindu Punjabi wedding. Monali, the bride, first participated in the Mehndi to prepare her for the wedding celebration. Henna was applied to her hands and feet in intricate designs; followed by some ritualistic ceremonies involving her neighbors before she was painted in turmeric, a yellow paste said to help complexion, and keep evil spirits away. After this, Ashish, the groom, arrived later on, and the night was filled with ceremony, laughter, and singing.  I was able to capture some vivid, colorful images of this wonderful occasion.

The next day, I returned to photograph  the Garba and the festivities, which began with prayers at the Swaminarayan Temple in ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Itasca, IL. As the night continued, there were speeches, the Garba, and the Dandiya Raas dances were very rhythmic and enjoyable to document. Especially the wooden sticks in Dandiya Raas dances. As you can see, there was a lot of playful, energetic movement which took place as family members and friends readied themselves for the next day’s wedding celebration. Our documentary-style wedding photography worked well in this environment, capturing the close-knit family members interacting with each other and producing interesting, multi-layered images.

Look out for the next post to continue the story of Ashish and Monali on their indian wedding day.