Anil and Sheetal got married on the 6th of May, 2011 in Raipur and I was called in to shoot this beautiful wedding ceremony. Indian weddings and especially Hindu weddings can get quite hectic, both for the bride,groom and their families. I reached Raipur the previous evening and got started with shooting the Haldi and Mehendi ceremonies of the groom. The next morning was a bit easy before I started shooting again at around 4pm for the bridal make-up, going on to the groom's make-up, the baarat (or the grooms wedding procession), the tilak, the wedding cemerony and the bidai (farwell given to the daughter by the bride's family) - finally ending at 8am the next morning. Here's sharing with you all pictures taken of this beautiful ceremony. Enjoy the experience!
The evening of 5th May, I landed in Raipur to be greeted by the groom himself and his friend Rahul. I should make a special mention for Rahul here - he was the one man show behind Anil's wedding ceremony. I really wanted to take a portrait shot of Rahul, sadly though with Rahul being too busy in making sure nothing was slipping between the cracks and I busy taking pictures of the wedding itself, I couldn't take his picture - next time maybe! We drove to Anil's home where the Haldi and Mehendi ceremonies were scheduled to happen. The day before the actual wedding day, the groom is smeared with Haldi (Turmeric) and Menendi (Henna) is applied to his hands. All family members were having a great time - the elder ladies first applied haldi to Anil, while later the younger girls showed their creative talent in applying mehendi. It was real fun.
Note: All photographs are copyright Debabrata Ray. Any form of unauthorized usage or copying of these pictures is strictly prohibited.
The next day I started shooting at around 4pm. This was going to be a long day. My first assignment was the bridal make-up shoot. A bridal make-up is an amazing make-over for any girl and once complete every girl feels her beautiful best. There is a lot that goes into making a beautiful girl into a stunning bride - and I wanted to capture this make-over with my pictures.
Well as the bride gets ready to set the stage on fire, the groom is also getting ready to give her some stiff competition. This particular sequence was a bit hectic for me. We were already behind schedule (I think at this point it was about 2 hours behind schedule) - the bride and groom were getting ready in places that were a 15 minute drive apart - and I had to shoot both of their make-up sequences. The groom dressed up as a prince, whereas the bride dresses up as a princess - its an amazing sight!
Once Anil was ready, we all got ready for the baraat (wedding procession). This is symbolic of erstwhile royal weddings where a prince would travel from his princely state with his family and friends to the bride's state to marry her. People all flock together, there is loud music playing and people merrily dance to the tunes of popular songs (read popular Hindi movie songs in today's parlance). All family members and friends alike had a lot of fun and sometimes would break into dancing sequences of popular Hindi movie songs.
The baraat traveled for about a kilometer before reaching the wedding venue. Anil was greeted by his brother in-law while the elders were greeted by the elders of the bride's family. Rituals were performed post which the bride and groom headed to the stage for the var-maala.
I had to take a quick break to have dinner at this time, as everyone was getting ready to get into the final ceremony of the night - the wedding! The wedding was a traditional Hindu wedding with a host of rituals and prayers performed by the priest.
The wedding ended at 7am and by this time it was getting a bit difficult for me to keep my eyes open. The families took a break for sometime, before getting together again for the bidai ceremony. Bidai was a small and emotional affair. The bride's family members were nostalgic and bid farewell to their daughter with misty eyes.
Bidai marked the end of this wedding ceremony and the end of my assignment as well. I bid good-bye to the couple as they start a new phase of life and look forward to spending some of the most memorable moments of their lives together. Here's wishing them the very best of luck! The two days I spent in Raipur were really exciting. The family was very sweet and from time-to-time gave in to my weird requests, just so that I could get my shots. God bless them all!
Do you have an upcoming wedding and are interested in having this momentous ceremony captured in beautiful pictures? Please contact me and we can discuss a customized package.