Heather + Rahul
Philadelphia, Loews Philadelphia HotelBook STAK Studios
The moment I knew I was going to shoot Heather and Rahul’s Indian wedding at the elegant Loews Philadelphia Hotel I got an adrenaline rush. Now don’t get me wrong, I have photographed Indian weddings in the past and I know for a fact how amazing they are. But I also am aware of how challenging they can be.
Every such event is a riot of colors, intriguing traditions, artful dances, and mind-blowing outfits. The details (and wedding guests) are more than one could possibly imagine, and I always try my best to photograph the standout elements and all the couple’s family members and friends. After all, everyone wants to have their best looking selves captured on camera, right?
If you are not used to Indian weddings, you should know that they traditionally last an average of three days.
A priest performs the ganesh pooja on the first night, and this ceremony normally takes place at home with only the bride and groom, the bridal party, and very close relatives of the couple.
The following day is dedicated to the spectacular mehndi. The bride, her female friends and other family members will have sophisticated henna patterns drawn on their hands and feet (check out Heather’s hands that looked like they were beautifully covered in intricate lace). The same evening it’s sangeet time. Usually every guest is invited to witness the introduction of the couple’s families. They will mingle, have a meal, dance and attend performances.
The third and last day is dedicated to the main ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. I truly enjoyed photographing the baraat (the groom's procession) where Rahul arrived to the ceremony on a decorated white horse looking like royalty while guests danced around him. Capturing the giving away of the bride and the fire ritual happening under the opulent mandap (the canopy that is similar to the Jewish chuppah) were also among my favorite highlights.
Heather and Rahul’s big day started early (I was already shooting at 6AM!). They both looked breathtaking in their luxurious red and gold brocade attire which they later swapped for a classic white ball gown and tuxedo for the reception.
For Indians, weddings are not just official events, they are true feasts of the soul. I enjoyed documenting Heather and Rahul’s beautiful wedding with its touches of Bollywood, vibrant crowd and lavish costumes, and I would do it all over again in the blink of an eye.
Heather and Rahul: thank you for this experience! I feel I received much more than a smile and a hand shake; you and your families showed me love and trust, and this is something I will cherish forever. I could not be more grateful to be part of this special time in your lives.