I’ve had the pleasure of photographing three big events for Jessica and Goutham. From their engagements in Ann Arbor, their Indian ceremony at their beautiful home in New Hudson, and lastly their American ceremony at Pine Knob Mansion in Auburn Hills. I was able to capture a few hours of their Hindu ceremony early morning Saturday, August 8th, and it was absolutely gorgeous.
The ceremonies for the Hindu Telugu Rituals included;
Gowri Puja – where the Bride offers her prayers to the goddess Gauri; a symbol of fertility and motherhood.
Until the Jeelakara Ballam ritual is completed, the bride and groom have their custom tersala (curtain/screen) placed between them so they can’t see each other. They might have accidentally seen each other before though, oops!
During the Kanyadanam (“giving away of the bride”) – it’s very emotional, and the music is evoking, to say the least. Mom and Dad offer her hand to her Groom in this ritual. It’s beautiful to witness. I loved watching Jessica’s parents perform all of these, and her Dad might have had a few bittersweet tears to shed. The bride’s parents also do a foot-washing ritual for the Groom.
Then the Groom holds the bride’s hand called “panigrahanam” – it’s the promise to the Bride’s parents that he will be by her side, no matter what.
When the Jeelakara is performed, the paste is placed in a leaf for each other to place on one another’s heads, this is the “wedding time”, and is the official moment when they are considered married! At this point the tersala is moved, for them to see each other. The symbolic meaning of the paste is that they will stick together between bitter and sweet phases of life. (I LOVE THIS!) All of the family elders bless the couple with akshantalu (sprinkles rice and turmeric).
Jessica changed into her ‘madhuparakam’, and the Mangal Sutra Dharana begins, where Goutham ties gold pendants around the Bride’s neck in three knots while the music is pumping, again so much energy going on here! Each knot represents manasa, Vacha, and karmana. (Thoughts, speech, and actions) It signifies the union of the two of them; physically, mentally and spiritually. So beautiful.
The fun literally does not stop there, they then play this “game” with the entire family – called the “Talambralu” – where they pour the same rice/tumeric concotion over each other’s head. But, I could see that Jessica was ready for it, because she just loves competition. 😉 You have to pour the rice all over each other, and she definitely did! The laughter and enjoyment all around signify the happiness and prosperity of their marriage.
Their exchange of garlands of the most beautiful flowers called the Dandalu, is to signify the Bride and Groom accepting each other as partners.
All in all, if you haven’t had the ability to witness a beautiful Hindu ceremony, I highly recommend it.
Sunday, August 9th, in the evening I once again had the pleasure of photographing their American celebration!
With 30 of their closest, and most dear friends and family, we celebrated their union once again, at Pine Knob Mansion. This beautiful Indian- fusion wedding was just as colorful as their Hindu/Telagu Ceremony! So many more emotions, beautiful vows to each other, and such a fun wedding party! A little outfit change at the end of the evening where Jessica looked absolutely stunning in her lehenga, and Goutham absolutely dashing in his Sherwani. Such a perfect match together.
I couldn’t be more grateful to have met this truly amazing couple, along with their families and such a great group of friends. Thank you both for having me!!
If you are looking for someone to capture your day, and have incredible photos to document the start of your legacy, hit me up!