Indian weddings are always very colorful and fun to photograph! We love it when couples in the Washington metro area book us to photograph Indian marriage celebrations. These kinds of marital events are always a swirl of activity and commotion. As a result, there are always a million moments for a Washington, DC, wedding photographer to capture on film. Many of those occur simultaneously. When they do, we are always glad to be a husband-and-wife photography team. Having two cameras working in sync allows us to get pictures of every special moment, no matter when it happens!
Another reason why we love photographing Indian wedding celebrations is how much we learn every time we do. Though Hindu marriage ceremonies typically follow certain rhythms, every Indian community has its own particular marital practices. For starters, there is a noticeable difference between wedding traditions in the north and south of India. Weddings done in a North Indian style have a very different look and feel than those performed according to South Indian customs. Even within those two broad regions, there are noticeable differences from one state to the next. Different communities within the same state frequently have very different wedding traditions. It is not unusual for families from neighboring villages to celebrate a marriage in completely distinctive ways. For DC wedding photographers with international backgrounds and insatiable curiosity, these nuances are fascinating! We love the challenge of finding the things that make each Indian wedding unique and capturing it on film.
The bride and groom in this particular photo came from the Telugu community of South India. Telugu speakers comprise the second-largest linguistic group in India after those who speak Hindi natively. They also make up the majority of the populations of two South Indian states (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana). Telugu immigrants to the U.S. and their descendants form a significant part of the American melting pot. The Washington, DC, metro area in particular is home to many people of Telugu descent.
Though Indian nuptial traditions vary widely from one state to the next, there is a common theme among them. The majority of the practices serve to unite the bride’s and groom’s families or bring blessings upon the marriage. The marital rites depicted in this photograph are an example of the latter. In this part of a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom shower each other with rice. That crop is a significant staple of the diet and agriculture of India. An abundance of rice has historically meant prosperity, fertility and happiness. Not surprisingly, therefore, it plays an important role in marriage customs in the Subcontinent.
Another thing that we love about photographing Indian weddings in Washington is how they adapt to the local milieu. Those marriage celebrations frequently mix elements from the DC metro area with more traditional Indian customs. The couple pictured here tied the knot in Baltimore, Maryland, and made the city a part of their nuptials. They had an outdoor ceremony in Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor area, exchanging their vows mere feet from the water. Their marriage celebrations also took place in the shadow of the historic Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse. That structure is the oldest screw pile lighthouse in Maryland.
This bride and groom found other creative ways to make Baltimore a part of their wedding event. The baraat (or entry processional) is an important part of most Indian nuptials. It is a grand affair in which the groom and his relatives arrive at the ceremony. It is typically done with the bridegroom on a horse or elephant. That is often impractical in an American urban area like Washington, DC, however. So many grooms pull up to the ceremony in a luxury car. This particular husband-to-be really embraced the nautical setting of his wedding and arrived at the site on a boat. It was a fantastic little touch, and the photos of the moment emphasize that the moment took place in Baltimore.Baltimore wedding (9), Baltimore wedding photographer (3), Indian wedding (3).