Why I Love Sikh Weddings
Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph an incredibly photogenic couple at their Sikh wedding, and despite having worked on a number of Sikh weddings in the past, I was hugely excited about this job. While I love the classic western-style wedding, with the pureness of the white gowns, Asian weddings are also very special to me. I enjoy the sharp contrasts these types of weddings present to a typical British wedding, and the unique photographic challenges these weddings offer up, such as bringing out the vibrant colours of the outfits, and making sure to document the important traditions that we don’t tend to observe in western cultures.
As a Hertfordshire wedding photographer based close to the capital, Asian weddings have become almost second nature to me. With London being such a melting pot of cultures, I’ve been lucky enough in my career to photograph Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, and, of course, Sikh weddings. While some weddings I attend demonstrate the blending of two cultures, both the bride and groom at this wedding were Sikh, which meant the wedding to was to be a full-on traditional affair incorporating all the amazing traditions. The couple’s pre-wedding shoot provided the perfect opportunity for me to learn more about the wedding, and allowed me to start planning out the methods and techniques I would use to make sure I documented this day as accurately as possible to create everlasting memories for the couple and their families.
My day began with the bride, photographing her preparations for the ceremony. Surrounded by her family, all dressed in bold shades of reds and greens, I was able to get some wonderful family shots, as well as pictures of the bride by herself, showing off her choora – a set of red and white bangles that symbolise her newlywed status – which matched wonderfully with her deep red and gold dress. The ceremony itself was held in the Gurdwara, where my attentions turned to the groom. I was able to photograph the groom and his family sitting and listening to kirtan hymns while waiting for the bride to make her big entrance. The groom was still wearing his sehra bandi – a type of headdress typically fitted by the groom’s sisters before the ceremony.
Following the ceremony, I accompanied the newlyweds to each of their parent’s homes – a chance for the families to welcome them as husband and wife for the first time. This is the part of the day when tradition was overtaken by more modern celebrations, with the groom even getting sprayed in the face with silly string! Afterwards, I was able to whisk the couple away for some pictures – just the two of them – amongst some of the stunning scenery and backdrops nearby. This was a chance for me to get a little dramatic with my technique, using methods to make their vibrant outfits stand out amongst their environment.
So why do I love Sikh weddings? Because they’re so bold, so lively, so energetic, and they present so many new challenges to a Hertfordshire wedding photographer such as myself.
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