Photographer For Indian Wedding Minneapolis
As an engagement and wedding photographer in Minnesota and the Twin Cities, I have immortalized through my camera a lot of multicultural weddings!
This one wedding was so intense that it could actually be split into two different articles: one Indian ceremony and one more classic traditional Protestant wedding. Both ceremonies took place at the beautiful Van Dusen venue.
Table of Contents
The First Contact With the Bride and Groom
I have first been contacted by the bride-to-be on the internet. They both live in another state in the USA, but have some family living in the North of the State and in Wisconsin. That’s why they decided to get married in Minneapolis. After having exchanged some emails with them, we decided to schedule a video session. It was an opportunity to learn more about their special traditional Indian wedding that they were planning in the Mill City. After two hours’ explaining them all about my way of working, they decided to move forward and hire me as their photographer to cover their wedding. Hurray!
Several weeks after, but only 5 days before the wedding, I finally met face to face with the bride and her fiancé for their photo session. Given it was a destination wedding, they decided to land in town one week prior to their event so they could finalize the organization of their Indian Wedding.
The pre-wedding session is always a good way to learn more about the fiancés and help them to be at ease in front of my camera. As a wedding photographer, I always recommend one before your ceremony in the Twin Cities. With this couple, we took some pictures outside of the Guthrie Theater.
The day prior to their celebration in Minneapolis, the two lovers, decided to rent a Steam Boat in Stillwater on the Mississippi River (between Minnesota and Wisconsin), and to celebrate the groom’s diner. I don’t know if the rehearsal dinner is a tradition that occurs in India, but it is in American culture! There were a lot of family members invited! During this diner, I caught a lot of interactions and candid moment. We also made some formal pictures for the family.
At the end of the dinner, they performed an Indian tradition: parents said some words, and then they threw some flowers in the River. It was nice.
At this point I knew that the wedding would be gorgeous.
Laughter during the Bride’s Preparation
Early in the morning I arrived at the hotel where the bride was getting ready. I understood that the night before was kind of exhausting. I don’t know if they partied or did the Sangeet. There are indeed many Indian traditions that are supposed to be performed before a wedding. In the Indian culture, the ceremony takes place during several days. That said, at this point I have to confess I am not an expert and I can’t make the difference between Hindu wedding, Punjabi and Gujurati weddings. So if you read me and I say anything stupid, please, let me know!
Traditional rituals for an Indian wedding ceremony
If, like me, you are thrilled to discover a variety of other cultures, here is a list of the different rituals that compose a wedding.
First, prior to a Hindu wedding ceremony, the parents are supposed to meet and discuss in advance the agreement of the wedding.
Then the bride has to plant nine seeds in the ground which are supposed to sprout prior to the wedding day.
In the Tilak tradition, the men from the bride side, visit the groom’s family, and offer them some gift. The opposite also exists.
During the ritual of engagement, the engagement tradition takes the place where the fiancé exchanges some golden rings.
After that, we have the Henna ceremony, also named Pitt hi and Mehndi/Mehendi. Both bride and groom are supposed to have some henna tattoo during the Hindu marriage.
I have heard that during the Haldi wedding the lovers have their faces covered by turmeric on the wedding day, which is great for photos. Obviously, that didn’t occur during this time.
How They Became Husband and Wife
The organization was kind of chaotic! I stayed with the bride during her getting ready. She had both traditional white dress and traditional Indian dress. I can’t say if it was a Saree or a Bridal Lehenga, but it was colorful! When you look at the bride’s hands and feet, you may notice on the pictures that she did the henna ritual!
All the bridesmaids, and women, had to get ready together. Also the mom and the sister of the groom came in the bride’s suite.
Finally, I left for the Van Dusen Venue where the husband-to-be was waiting for his fiancée.
The Indian Reception
The traditional wedding requires the groom to arrive on a horse or an elephant. I was, of course, hoping to see an Elephant in the Street! Actually, it’s on a horse carriage that the groom arrived. His best men put on the top of his head an Indian hat.
Some musicians were playing drum on the street and all the guests were dancing.
Arrived in front of the venue, some women (from the bride side), offered some presents to the groom. They gave him some food, and tried to touch his nose while his mother pretended to defend him. It was funny.
They groom walked down to a priest who was waiting for him on an Indian altar. The priest put the red dot on the groom’s front head.
The Ritual Part
As a photographer, I had previously turned myself into an Indian wedding photographer. That was only for small family intimate wedding, with fewer rituals.
Thus, what follows, was for me a new experience!
First the Indian altar (call Mandap) was remarkable. It was decorated with some old chair and garland in the backdrop.
What I understand is that first they pray for Ganesh, the god of wisdom and luck.
After that, the officiant gives the groom some food and some flowers that the groom must put back on the ground. Afterwards, the groom had his hand-washed.
Then the bride walked down the aisle, but the groom was not allowed to see her. They remained separated by a curtain. When they finally discovered each other, they exchanged a collar of colored flowers.
Then there was something involving money. The priest put some rice in the hand of the couple, followed by a nut. Then they joined their hands, and the family linked the couple with a nice wire that means they are now tied for life.
After that, the fire ceremony happened where the bride and groom had to walk, naked feet, around a fire. It’s a pretty funny ritual to catch with a camera. The sacred fire is a centerpiece of the Hindu ritual. After that, the family members came one by one to touch couple feet and ears. The bride received a head jewel. And finally all the families came to bless the newly married couple.
How to Mix Cultures With Talent
In our overactive world, people who are looking for authenticity turns to their roots, their origin, their culture, but also their passion or their fight. Also I believe that all real weddings are a mix of modern trends and traditions.
Like cocktails or fusion food, mixing good elements is the recipe to create great events.
Check at my portfolio and the following events, to discover images of all kinds of crossed cultural unions.
Discover how this couple of Geek from Minneapolis hosted their wedding at the 413 on Wacouta, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and include some special vendors. For instance, the mother of the bride, who is an antiquities dealer include a lot of vintage objects. Meanwhile the groom and the bride decided to put Lego figures on the top of their wedding cake (batman and Princess Leia), heritage of the pop culture.
Discover this Ghana-Minnesotan wedding at the Outpost Center in Chaska, MN, and how they include their favorite vendors. They had an amazing woman priest, some colored Ghanaian outfit and a modern photo-booth.
As many gay friendly photographers, I have documented some couple’s engagement in their fight for equal rights. The LGBTQ culture is pretty rich in reference and codes, but a lot of couples also like to include traditional elements.
When I photographed in Alberta Lea, I saw many couples using vintage portraits of their families taken by photographers. Indeed, those prints are a direct link to our past, and it’s pretty fascinating to stare at our ancestors’ heritage.
That’s why, cherishing those values and thanks to the new technology we see a large variety of new practices emerging, such as videography and the photo-booth.
That was a very nice Traditional Indian wedding! I was blessed to catch so many moments of their big day. There were a lot of colors, and lots of important moments that needed to be taken in pictures.
I invite you to check the second part of this journey happened in the same place (the Van Dusen Venue in Minneapolis).
So, if you are planning a destination wedding in India, or an Indian wedding in the 10,000 Lakes States (or a Hindu, Sikh, Punjabi, Gujurati or simple Muslim wedding) and you are looking for a team offering a variety of good portraits and videography, then hire a photographer with background in advertising photography to capture your special day!
Contact us, we are based in Rochester, but we cover the entire South-East of the State and beyond.