portrait photography

A Real Indian Wedding Experience: Brisbane Portrait & Commercial Photographers

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to travel to India with your Indian friends to be a part of a traditional Indian wedding. When Amit and PJ jokingly said over dinner that we should come, at first we laughed and said “that would be unreal” and then we though more after they said the offer was there. How could we not!

In reflection of this trip, this experience was an opportunity of a lifetime, travelling to India with our friends for 2 weeks of celebrations for a traditional Indian Wedding, their cousins wedding.

Our first stop was Mumbai - Staying in a lovely 5 star hotel and venturing out to explore the streets, to do some shopping for traditional clothing and try some of their famous food.

We then flew to their hometown of Goa - We stayed mostly in Magao with our friends family and each day when we didn't have wedding events, they organised a driver for us! We travelled through North and South Goa, exploring their beaches and most renowned attractions and of course ate at some incredible traditional indian shacks and restaurants.

While in Goa, we got to be part of the wedding events of PJ and Amit's family. Including the Sangeet Dance event, ladies Henna day, traditional male and female religious functions, the wedding itself and the reception. All spread over a 2 week period.

With a gap in the wedding events, my partner, Corey, and I flew to Delhi and booked a fully personalised 4 day Golden Triangle tour - Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. This opened us up to the culture and history of India and some of the unreal monuments this country has to offer.

See an insight into our travels below, explaining some of the wedding events and traditions, some of the memories, food and the indian lifestyle captured on the trip. Each section details where it is in India and some explain the meaning behind the images. I hope you enjoy this visual journey as much as I loved taking it!

Em x


Exploring Goa

During our time in India we were based in Goa with our friends families. We spent some time in South Goa in Margao, exploring the beaches and attractions, markets and shops of this area and then to North Goa to Panjim to explore the Latin area, old Goa and the shopping and monuments.


The Sangeet

The pre-wedding dance celebratory event. This musical night is a celebration of the union of not only the couple but the bonding of both families. The families choreographed 14 dances to display on stage to the family, it was UNREAL!


Mehndi Day

Mehndi Day before the Wedding - A form of body art originating from the Indian subcontinent, in which decorative designs are created on a person's body, using a paste, created from the powdered dry leaves of the henna plant. 


The Wedding

The Wedding is the official traditional religious function where the bride and groom’s families and friends witness the marriage of Sanju and Sohal. There are many traditional processes including the families gifting the bride/groom gold, jewellery and other gifts. The bride and groom do not see each other through these religious events until they are on stage where they are revealed to each other. Watching these moments was incredible!


Delhi

To begin our 4 day Golden Triangle tour we flew from Goa to Delhi. We began the day nice and early at 7am starting at Qutub Minar with no one in site. I was blown away by this building and it’s unique structure and details. We also visited the Indian Gate, Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), took a rickshaw through Old Delhi, visited the site of Gandhi’s ashes, the Lotus temple and some local shops of craftwork. Our driver then began the 4 hour journey to Agra, stopping at the Akshardam Temple on the way out.


Agra

Arriving at our 5 star hotel Jaypee Palace was incredible! Marble featured throughout, beautiful views over the 25 acre property, surrounded in grasslands, pools and our room featuring an unreal balcony over the views. We rested up that night ready for our 5.30am rise to catch the Taj Mahal at sunrise! Witnessing the Taj Mahal in person was incredible, especially capturing it’s beauty at sunrise. After this unreal experience we also explored the red fort, local craftsman stores and saw a lot of the major buildings in Agra. After a full morning in Agra, we hit the road with our driver to Jaipur, seeing the famous Step Well on the way there.


Jaipur

Jaipur was my most anticipated place to see with it’s pink city, beautiful buildings and unreal monuments. We started our morning with a great buffet breakfast at our 5 star hotel Holiday Inn Jaipur, then took on the day with a tour of the Amber fort, probably one of the most impressive buildings Corey and I have both witnessed. What used to be a palace is now a large fort that is incredible to see! We then ventured through the Pink City seeing the Palace of Winds, we visited a textiles manufacturer and saw how they created carpets and printed clothing and finished the day with a tour through the incredible Jaipur Palace. Corey and I got an Olla around the city and went for a romantic dinner at the rooftop Peacock Restaurant in the city. It was unreal! What a way to end the trip.

When the Universe watches over soul mates on their Wedding Day: Leslie + Ben Reid

 Being in a job where you regularly get to meet couples in love can be really interesting.

There are 'opposite couples' who are so different that they leave you scratching your head wondering how they work yet, proving that opposites attract, they do. You have 'reserved couples' who are very much in love but don’t share this overly in public, you have 'extrovert couples' who shout their love from the rooftops…. And then you have couples who as soon as you meet them you just know they were made for each other.

One such couple is Leslie and Ben. I was lucky enough to photograph their beach wedding on Racecourse Beach, in Ulladulla, NSW and from the very first moment, it was obvious they were soul mates and meant to be together…. And it seemed the Universe felt exactly the same way, putting on a special show making this one of the most memorable of wedding days.

From beginning to end Leslie had a magical smile, the type of smile that lightens a room. You could be standing behind her ten feet away and you would still know she was grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

That smile was perfectly matched by Ben’s intensity. The total focus of a man who knew that he had found everything he ever wanted in the world and he would do whatever was needed to protect, nourish and nurture that relationship.

Their wedding was a relatively simple affair, and all the more beautiful for it. Close friends and family gathered among the rocks at the Ulladulla beach for a meaningful ceremony followed by the reception at the beachside Mollymook Surf club.

Despite concerns about the weather and high winds, the afternoon sun shone from a deep blue sky with just a hint of clouds on the horizon, promising an epic sunset. The wind died down to a gentle, cooling whisper which complimented the sound of the surf breaking against the rocks behind them.

That idyllic scene alone was enough to convince anyone that the Universe was smiling on their union, but for these two passionate conservationists who make their living caring for the environment, it seemed the Universe wanted to underline it’s thoughts on the day. Not to mention, Leslie & Ben channelled their passion for the environment into their day making it a waste free wedding.

As we got the post ceremony family photographs underway, on the rocky shoreline a cry went up from Leslie. We all turned to face the sea to find that two large pods of dolphins had chosen that moment to play in the surf so close to shore that you almost felt you could reach out and touch them.

We stopped for a while to watch the show as they played in the waves directly in front of us and surfed for seemingly no other reason than to gate crash the wedding and join the party.

It was a magical moment and one that perfectly mirrored the sheer joy on Ben and Leslie’s faces.

Then as the Dolphins moved on and we started to reorganise ourselves for our family photos the Universe had one last parting gift. With a whoosh and burst of spray, a whale wondered past surfacing out to sea almost directly in front of the wedding party and signalling it’s presence with a spray of steam from its blowhole as it took a breath and prepared to move on.

Anyone who has shot with me will know I’m seldom lost for words when on the job, but I don’t think I have ever seen an entire bridal party, let alone myself, speechless just a few moments after a ceremony.

We paused to take in a truly magical moment in a truly magical wedding. People think that as photographers we love our jobs for the art we produce. That is a part of it, but for me my love of this job stems from meeting people like Leslie and Ben and experiencing moments like these. Their wedding will join those other snippets in time from my career that will live in my memory for evermore just as I hope these images will live forever in Ben and Leslie’s lives and perhaps one day in the lives of their children and grandchildren.

I hope that long after we are all gone, these images might help preserve a family legend of the day when the Universe itself seemed to smile down on two people and say: “Yep…. You two were made for each other.”

Andy

Brisbane Wedding Photography
www.lifeportraits.photography/weddings
info@lifeportraits.photography