Let me be clear. I can’t begin to sum up this wedding in one blog entry! This is just a small part of my journey through India. The entire experience even started like a dream. I met this bride and groom when they were guests at a wedding I was honored to shoot in Florence, Italy. (If you would like to see Gitanjali and Onno make an appearance on the dance floor, go check out the other wedding here). Now that you’re caught up on how this amazing adventure started, let’s get to it! I love travel. And this couple defines travel. Everyone I met during my week long adventure seemed to have had a story of how they met the bride in a different country, worked along side the groom on another continent, etc. It was exciting. It was inspiring. It was India.
From the moment I saw my driver there with my name at the airport welcoming me to this beautiful country… I was pumped. Which probably led to my continued lack of sleep and borderline crazy talk within the first day of my trip. But let me stay on track. I am only telling the story of their wedding day for now! Starting with the decor. An amazing team had transformed their entire garden area into the ceremony venue. Everywhere you looked, the flowers were hanging in all the right places, and the colorful petals perfectly lined each pathway. I feel honored to have been there shooting while everything was setting up for the big event. Since the groom is to go to the bride before the ceremony starts, Onno left the house and made his grand entrance just as the sun had set. The drums announced his arrival and it was so great to watch everyone dancing to the beat. I tried to contain myself to I could capture them at the meeting point. Rose petals were flying and friends were cheering and dancing as they saw each other. It was a rush that I have never seen at weddings here in the states! Then Onno proceeded to the garden area to begin his portion of the ceremony. Traditions were so beautiful, even if I couldn’t quite understand each part. Desperately wishing I could have worn a traditional sari and carried all my equipment, I watched everything unfold through the lens and followed the emotion of the evening. The one tradition I could understand? The stealing of the shoes! Once the beautiful bride was led into the ceremony, the girls got to work. No shoes were worn in the area where the wedding took place, which left the shoes lined up on the outside near where the guests were seated. It’s tradition for the groom’s shoes to be stolen and then my favorite- he has to pay to get them back! I think that’s a tradition I could get behind. It was so lovely that I could watch the family help Gitanjali and Onno unite their lives. Onno had his parents their via Skype, which is one of the best modern inventions I’ve seen to help weddings. As far as I am concerned it might be the only acceptable reason to have your phone out during a ceremony… but that is a thing of the past! Each part of the rituals held meaning. When they walked around the fire seven times, each round was representing a very important part of their lives together, and they would not be able to complete their ceremony without it. With all the distraction of fire, fruit, walking and rose petals… the guys tried to get a little payback and hide the bride’s shoes. Any girl would know that you don’t mess with a pair of Jimmy Choo’s! But boys? Not so much understanding. They succeeded in hiding them for a while, but with the cold air only getting colder for the barefoot bride, they had no option but surrender without ransom. Always good to have another win for the girls. The newly weds took time to greet their many guests before indulging in the incredible arrange of food that was provided. Hors d’oeuvres had been passed around, the bar was open, and you could smell the enticing food from anywhere in the garden. There was even a pasta station with crazy flames going up every few minutes. When I wasn’t asking questions about the food, I was hooked watching the band. They were famous for their captivating beat box Indian fusion sound. Guests danced, ate and drank the rest of the night! I will of course be posting from the other events from the week.. hopefully you’ll be ready for more!