S + K | Colorful Indian Wedding
Last February, we had the chance to visit India for the first time. We already imagined that this experience would be special, but once we stepped out of Chennai airport, we were certain that we would experience a whole new planet on the following days, after all, we were in the incredible India, to shoot an Indian wedding. Chennai is the capital of the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre of south India. Chennai is home to many museums and galleries, and it is a major centre for music, art and culture in India, known for its classical dance shows aswell.
We already imagined that this experience would be special, but once we stepped out of Chennai airport, we were certain that we would experience a whole new planet on the following days, after all, we were in the incredible India. Sim and Kartik gave us such a sweet welcoming and they comfortably installed us in Chennai’s Novohotel alongside with all their invitees from all over the world. We spent the arrival day walking on the streets and damn, we were absolutely overwhelmed with the colors, the smells, the sounds, the beyond chaotic streets! Planet India was presenting itself to us in all its glory!
Day 1 was a day to get up before the sunrise. We had planned to do some shots on this amazing temple by the beach (Mahabalipuram Temple). However, once we got there, we were told that a special permit was required in order to shoot inside the temple area. The session was lost but the visit to the temple and surroundings was unforgettable. At this stage, jet lag was hitting us hard so we decided to go for a power nap after lunch. What was supposed to be a 30min/1h nap took 3h. Regardless, it was needed as the wedding celebrations would start on that night with this amazing welcome dinner on the Blue House. Day 2 celebrations would include the Haldi Cerimony (in which a paste of haldi is applied on the bride and the groom’s body before their wedding by their near and dear ones), the Holi party, traditional dances and Dinner with Sarangi Music. We had such a big expectation for this day! The venue, Dakshina Chitra was absolutely amazing, we couldn’t be more amazed! Regardless, the sun was unforgiving and the temperatures were really hard to stand, yet we guess the adrenaline kept us going, and we had so much fun! The holi fest with that unique Indian background was an experience to remember. After a good night sleep, we headed to The Royal Palms for the Mehendi Cerimony. Celebrated by the Bride’s family, in this ceremony, a henna paste (Mehendi) is putted in the hands and feet of the bride, in beautiful and intricate designs, especially done with the help of an expert. After the Mehendi, everyone was ready for the Sangeet Party. The word Sangeet means music, but in an Indian wedding, it translates to Music Night or Musical Party. This music night is a celebration of the union of not only the couple, but the bonding of both families. It is here that both sides bring down their barriers and mingle in a fun environment. It’s usually held a day before and Sim and Kartik chose this amazing venue to celebrate it. It was huge, it was loud and it was fucking epic!! We finally got to the wedding day that happened in the Ideal Beach Resort. We still wonder how Sim, Kartik and all their invitees found enough strength to wake up at sunrise to kick off with the celebrations. The Groom’s arrival (Vara Yatra) is a celebration in itself… we were absolutely amazed with the vibe and with every single sound that was surrounding us, we were completely out of this planet, damn, what an experience! Kartik’s epic arrival ended with a Tilak ritual! The wedding was held in a Mandap which is a temporary structure constructed for the purpose of the marriage ceremony. This Mandap is an elevated platform and it was amazingly decorated with flowers, greenery and fabric. The Indian wedding ceremony has a lot of prayers and meaningful “steps”, yet we can underline the beautiful necklace the groom places in the bride. Then, both their garments are toed up together as they circle a fire seven times (saptapadi). The main significance is establishing friendship, which is the basis of a hindu marriage. After this, the newlyweds showered each other with rice (talambralu), and this symbolizes fertility, prosperity and happiness.