Monday, March 11, 2013

Rupa & Jeremy, Part I--The Hindu Ceremony: Sayulita, Mexico Photographer {Middle TN Photographer, Destination Wedding Photographer}

My best friend lived in L.A. for many years and became best friends with Rupa--whom I have been lucky enough to hang out with on numerous occasions. When I found out that she wanted me to photograph her wedding, I was thrilled! When I found out in was going to be in Mexico, I was jumping up and down with excitement!  :)

Once the planning was underway, Rupa explained that they were going to have both Hindu and American ceremonies to blend the day into a huge celebration. I'm not sure I have the adequate words to describe just how incredible this wedding was, so for the most part I will let the photos do the talking. The wonderfully talented Chesley Summar came along on this trip as my second shooter and I could not have covered everything without her (thank you for being amazing).

It says so much about a couple when such a large number of family and friends were willing to travel from all over to celebrate their love. So many people spoke of how these two just fit together so perfectly and everyone agreed that they were meant to be together...

Our day started before the sun came up.

I have always thought Rupa was beautiful, but that word just didn't do her justice on this day.

 You will notice that everyone is wearing traditional dress. The bride and her family got all the women's measurements (including mine and Chesley's) and went to India to bring us all back sarees. They were all stunning.

I'm sure I will mess up explaining parts of the ceremony, so here are the main points:

  • Vara Satkaarah - Reception of the bridegroom and his kinsmen at the entrance gate of the wedding hall where the officiating priest chants a few mantras and the bride's mother blesses the groom with rice and trefoil and applies tilak of vermilion and turmeric powder.
  • Madhuparka Ceremony - Reception of the bridegroom at the altar and bestowing of presents by the bride's father.
  • Kanya Dan - The bride's father gives away his daughter to the groom amidst the chanting of sacred mantras.
  • Vivah-Homa - The sacred fire ceremony ascertaining that all auspicious undertakings are begun in an atmosphere of purity and spirituality.
  • Pani-Grahan - The groom takes the right hand of the bride in his left hand and accepts her as his lawfully wedded wife.
  • Pratigna-Karan - The couple walk round the fire, the bride leading, and take solemn vows of loyalty, steadfast love and life-long fidelity to each other.
  • Shila Arohan - The mother of the bride assists her to step onto a stone slab and counsels her to prepare herself for a new life.
  • Laja-Homah - Puffed rice offered as oblations into the sacred fire by the bride while keeping the palms of her hands over those of the groom.
  • Parikrama or Pradakshina or Mangal Fera - The couple circles the sacred fire seven times. This aspect of the ceremony legalizes the marriage according to the Hindu Marriage Act as well custom.
  • Saptapadi - Marriage knot symbolized by tying one end of the groom's scarf with the bride's dress. Then they take seven steps representing nourishment, strength, prosperity, happiness, progeny, long life and harmony and understanding, respectively.
  • Abhishek - Sprinkling of water, meditating on the sun and the pole star.
  • Anna Praashan - The couple make food offerings into the fire then feed a morsel of food to each other expressing mutual love and affection.
  • Aashirvadah - Benediction by the elders.

They may not all be represented below, but if I blogged the entire ceremony there would be 300 images posted.  :)

The bridesmaids must wait to make their entrance with Rupa hidden behind them. The ceremony starts without her.

The groom runs away from the ceremony and the bride's parents must convince him to come back to marry their daughter.

Jer was convinced pretty easily with a coconut.  ;)

The bridesmaids enter with their offerings.

After the ceremony concluded, guests had brunch while the bridal party took photos.  

 {Everyone in this photo was just plain awesome}

Now it was time to change and get ready for the second half of the day. Can you believe all of the above was done before 1:00PM?!?

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