Since beginning our careers, we have photographed many Northern Virginia Indian weddings. Thanks to the personal connections that each of us has to India, we came in already familiar with many of its marriage traditions. There are certain parts of every Hindu wedding ceremony that are common to every community in that country. (Well, almost every one. Given India’s fabulous diversity, there is just about nothing that is universal.) So if you book us for your Indian wedding celebrations, you can rest easy knowing that we know what is happening when. More importantly, we understand the significance of the various rituals and are experienced at highlighting that on film.
At the same time, every Indian wedding is unique. Each has traditions specific to the ethnic and linguistic groups, caste and sometimes even village of origin of the couple’s families. Those differences, even the minor ones, make photographing Northern Virginia Indian weddings a challenge in a good way. They keep us on our toes and alert to the next significant moment.
But do not worry that anything will take us by surprise. To ensure that we understand exactly what makes your Indian marriage celebrations special and personal, we will spend a lot of time beforehand going over your timeline. Probably minute by minute in some places. We will talk with you about what specific rituals you will perform and what they mean. We will discuss who is taking part in each part of your wedding and how they are important to you. So when we are there with our cameras, we are preserving on film the memories that will matter most to you.
The key to any successful Indian wedding is the venue. Fortunately, the Washington DC suburbs have plenty of luxury hotels that are perfect for Northern Virginia Indian weddings. The one in this image took place at the Hyatt Regency Dulles. That is a large hotel located just minutes from the region’s main international airport. (Making it perfect if you have a lot of guests coming from out of town!)
Proximity to the airport is just one thing making the Hyatt Regency Dulles a great venue for Northern Virginia Indian weddings. It is also big enough to accommodate huge Indian marriage celebration guest lists. The hotel’s smallest ballroom can fit between 300 and 450 wedding guests. Its larger can hold double those numbers. And if you want to have part of your event outside? The Hyatt Regency Dulles’s Garden Terrace has seating for 200 people.
Another thing that might appeal to you about the Hyatt Regency Dulles is its pricing policies. The hotel offers simplified wedding packages that save you the trouble of figuring out how much each item will add to your total bill. At the same time, the decor and catering are customizable, meaning your wedding will reflect your and your families’ traditions.
The best part for your wedding photos is the venue’s expansive outdoor spaces. A short walk from the front door is a small park with trees and two small ponds. It is ideal for couples portraits away from the craziness of most Northern Virginia Indian weddings. Its privacy and natural beauty allow you to relax and enjoy your first moments as newlyweds. The park’s long, slowly descending stairs are great for first looks. Your Northern Virginia wedding photographer can capture stunning images of your future spouse over your shoulder as they come down the staircase.
We took those exact first-look photos of the couple from the wedding featured here. Their wedding celebrations were a two-day affair. On the first day, they and their families participated in several ceremonies that formalized their betrothal. In the evening, the couple and their wedding guests performed Garba. (If you are not familiar with this tradition, Garba is an elaborate Gujurati dance celebration that symbolizes both fertility and the circularity of life. It is a sight to behold and the highlight of all Northern Virginia Indian weddings done in accordance with Gujurati traditions.)
The following day was their main wedding celebrations. After the aforementioned first look, the bride retired to her bridal suite and the groom prepared for his baraat. That is the ritualized procession of the groom to the ceremony. Traditionally, the groom rides on an elephant or horse while his relatives dance and sing around him. Many grooms at Northern Virginia Indian weddings eschew animals and choose cars, boats or other motorized vehicles instead. This particular groom appreciated tradition, though, and arrived on a horse. The highlights of the photos we took of this part of the wedding were the shots we took of the bride watching the procession from her hotel window. After the ceremony and reception celebrations, the day concluded with a vidaai. In this touching and tearful ritual, the bride bids farewell to her relatives before heading off with her husband.
The vidaai was not the only time those close familial bonds were on display during this wedding. Like all Northern Virginia Indian weddings, this celebration was full of moments, both planned and spontaneous, that highlighted the connections among family members. One of our favorites occurred during the ceremony. As the bride prepared for the traditional tying of the knot, she was surrounded on stage by various members of her family. One of her aunts was standing behind her and to show support and love, put her hand on her niece’s shoulder. Feeling that, the bride turned and smiled at her aunt. As you can see in this image, it was a smile of true and genuine happiness. One that says, “I’m so glad that you’re here with me on such an important day.” The picture that we took of that moment is one we know the bride will treasure forever.
© 2020 Potok's World Photography -- Husband & Wife Washington DC Wedding Photographers