Have you ever been in a situation where you kinda sorta know the gist of what's going to happen but really, you have no clue? Hopefully you have the time to do some research to better prepare yourself. But are you really fully prepared?
That's how I'd explain and describe India as a whole. More specifically Deepti and Scott's 3 days of ceremonies and celebrations for their Kashmiri Wedding in New Delhi. Deepti was amazing at de-briefing me more than once on the customs and the rituals and while I took all the notes I could and researched until my face turned blue, it wasn't enough. I had to go in with open eyes, my senses fully heightened ready to capture IT ALL. 10,000 photos later, I think I did.
The Devagon was especially unique in that it was an outside ceremony- fairly relaxed and open for us all to see. I love how they make it a public ceremony, letting guests come in and out through it's entirety. One thing I learned is how arduous Indian weddings are. And no, not for me (although to be honest, I've never worked so hard in my entire 9 years of photographing weddings) but rather for the bride and her parents. The emotional weight of it all, preparing their daughter to be no longer their little girl but now married and truly, one with her husband was POWERFUL. Also, it's 3-5 days folks. Sometimes LONGER if there are two different cultures merging together. Normally I hold it together while shooting weddings. Afterall, it's my job to capture the moment, not be IN the moment. But I fought.... I fought back countless tears. I felt their feelings as many of us did.
At the end of this ceremony, they had a traditional Kashimri folk singer and band. We all laughed, ate until we ached and prepared for the next chapter - the Mhendi Raat ! Stay Tuned!
SO! Let me share with you some of those beautiful moments, starting with the day before- her 4+ hour henna preparation. Which yes- took 3 skilled artisans to do. Talk about mesmerizing!