When we first met Veena and Alex, we were beyond excited. There’s no doubt that getting to know these two amazing people is cause for excitement. But they were also inviting us to photograph their marriage, and what was to be our first Indian/hindu wedding! It was a 4-day event filled with colorful parties, meaningful rituals, and lots of laughter and love. It’s easy to see why Indian weddings are renowned for their lavish cultural display. Isn’t the joining of two lives cause for a little extravagance? We think so.
Jen photographed the first two traditional parties that took place on October 4th and 5th. Both took place in Orange County, CA, not far from our own place. First came the Mehndi at Veena’s sister’s house in Brea. This traditional party is a relaxed time for family and friends to spend together while the bride has elaborate henna art painted on her hands and feet. The beautiful decorative designs take several hours to complete, so you might as well hang out and have a good time while you’re at it!
The next day came the Haldi, which Veena’s parents hosted in Fullerton. The Haldi ceremony is a traditional gathering involving the application of turmeric paste to the face to signify future prosperity, ward off evil, and give the skin a little bit of a glow. First the Pundit (the minister or officiant) walked those involved in the ceremony through the rites and rituals that will be performed on the wedding day. Then the colorful, messy, celebratory fun began!
On Friday, October 6th, Luke finally got to join in on the fun when everyone migrated to the Palm Springs Air Museum for the Sangeet. This traditional pre-wedding ceremony brings everyone together—including the wedding guests—for a night of singing and dancing. But first we had a few moments to spend with Veena and Alex, capturing some portraits of them looking dazzling and regal amid the historic planes in and around the hangar.
Before long, the hangar was filled with loved ones and abuzz with excitement. There was a henna station, a delicious buffet, and plenty of aviation history for the many kids to enjoy. Even and Alex took their seats on a special decorative bench providing them the best view of the vibrant show that awaited them. Perhaps the easiest way to describe the Sangeet is to say that it’s like a cultural talent show. We felt like we were on the set of a Bollywood movie production!
There were many memorable performances, but perhaps the two most unforgettable were delivered by the bride and groom themselves. With unabashed romantic flair and backed by a band of his friends, Alex picked up a guitar and serenaded his bride. Surrounded by a room full of people, it was clear to all that he could see only her. Finally, the two of them both took to the dance floor, and in a room full of people, everyone could see a couple in love.
This was just the pre-wedding festivities! Can you imagine what the wedding day is going to be like? Neither could we! Come back for the rest of the stunning beauty, rich traditions and two families and two cultures blending into one at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort.