As an Indian wedding photographer in Dallas, I love having the opportunity to photograph Indian couples on their big day.
With such bright, beautiful colors, festive decorations and intricate details, there are so many opportunities to take striking photos. The rituals themselves allow us to capture sacred moments between couples and families.
Being so different from most western weddings, it’s important for engaged couples to understand the nuances of Indian weddings as they plan their big day (or should I say “days”?).
Dallas Indian Wedding Photography
Indian weddings are multi-day, elaborate celebrations bursting with color, music and joy. Usually over three days, Indian couples take part in several events, including the Sangeet, the mehndi, the baraat, the ceremony and the reception.
These events are filled with music, dancing, food and celebration, but there are also many rituals and traditions that are every bit as special as the festivities themselves.
Let’s take a closer look at these pre-wedding events and how a photographer can make each one even more special.
The Sangeet is when the party really starts. Traditionally, this pre-wedding event was reserved only for the females on both sides of the family, but today, men join in on the celebration as well.
Unlike other aspects of Indian weddings, the Sangeet (which translates to “sung together” from Sanskrit) is purely about celebrating the couple’s joy and happiness. Expect to see an open dancefloor and dances performed by friends and family of both sides of the family. The female members of the family may also sing traditional songs.
The celebration may be held at the bride’s home or a banquet hall.
Along with celebrating the bride and groom, the Sangeet also gives both sides of the family a chance to get to know each other better. The singing, dancing and festivities help bring everyone closer together. It’s a special opportunity for bonding and to send the bride and groom well-wishes.
I love capturing those candid moments between families and the joy the couple feels as they get closer to the big day. Of course, there are also opportunities to get portraits of other wedding attendees, dancers and the couple.
The Mehndi party is a pre-wedding celebration that is a feast for both the eyes and stomach. With music, dancing, food and bright, colorful dresses, there are so many unforgettable moments to capture.
One of the main purposes of this event is to apply the bridal mehndi, or henna, to her feet and hands. These intricate henna designs are absolutely stunning and wonderful to photograph.
The Mehndi kicks off with two over-the-top entrances: one for the bride, and one for the groom. Both sides of the family engage in a friendly competition to see who has the best dance moves.
I love seeing the choreographed dance performances, which are often rehearsed for months before the event. These memorable moments are what make Mehndi ceremony photography so special.
The Baraat is one of my favorite wedding events to photograph. It celebrates the groom’s march to the bride, which is why you’ll often see Indian grooms riding on horseback to pick up their brides.
People sing and dance around the groom as he sits on his horse, and a band marches alongside.
Traditionally, Indian couples would travel from one town to another during the wedding festivities. The word “baraat” refers to the groom’s family and friends, and they would travel to the bride’s hometown to participate in several rituals. The event would culminate in the bride being brought to the groom’s house.
At one time, the Baraat lasted 10 days. In modern times, it’s been reduced to a few hours of celebration.
Like other Indian wedding events, there’s plenty of live music, singing and dancing. Baraats usually have dhol (drum) players, live bands and DJs. Don’t be surprised if you see a few choreographed dances, too.
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Indian Wedding Ceremony Photography
The mandap is elaborate, decorated with florals and is the ceremony’s altar. As an Indian wedding photographer in Dallas, I understand the importance of capturing the mandap for the happy couple.
A lot of time and effort goes into the altar to make it a masterpiece.
Plus, the couple’s parents join them under the mandap when they’re wed, making it the ideal time to take pictures of the newlyweds and their parents. Of course, the wedding officiant is also under the elevated platform to help complete the marriage ceremony.
Fire is kept as a witness during the marriage ceremony, and it will take its rightful place in the middle of the mandap. I’ll also work to capture the beauty of the homam offerings, or when the bride places rice into the fire.
Indian weddings can also feature rituals, such as the talambralu. The ritual of happiness, the talambralu is a very special and vital part of a wedding because it’s believed to help the couple’s future by serving as a symbol of:
I capture every special ritual during the wedding ceremony. From the elegance of the mandap to the emotions of the parents and the talambralu, I photograph the moments that other Indian wedding photographers in Dallas often miss.
For a once in a lifetime event, it’s essential to work with a professional who strives to meet your photography goals and fully understands the intricacies of an Indian wedding ceremony.
Indian Wedding Reception Photography
On the “main” day of the wedding events (usually the 3rd), the ceremony, wedding and cocktail hour (if you choose to have one), all take place. Photography on the third day is arguably the most important because this is the day when:
- Most guests will attend, along with the sangeet, which no one wants to miss
- Brides and grooms wear the most spectacular outfits of the wedding
Traditionally, wedding receptions in India skip the alcohol, but couples in Dallas often break away from this tradition.
I’ll work to capture dances, performances, families and friends mingling, and of course, the beautiful, colorful dresses and attire worn. It’s an unforgettable time of celebration that couples will never forget.
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