I have been photographing weddings professionally since 1997 and have seen hundreds of weddings in that time. Traditional American weddings are great to photograph and I have seen them evolve over the years as people see fit to define how they want to arrange their wedding. Some strictly follow tradition and many feel free to improvise. There is something very special about traditional Indian weddings.  No other culture has such elaborate rituals and ceremonies lasting days and such festive garments all of which make photographing them a radical departure from American weddings.   In October I had the pleasure along with Monica Frisell to photograph the wedding of  Namita Singh and Gauhar Junnarkar. Their wedding was a traditional Indian Hindu wedding with three days of festivities starting on Thursday with the Mehndi ceremony, one of the most important pre-wedding rituals especially for the bride. It was a fun and festive ritual, at Namita’s home with family and friends with the women wearing vivid colors. There was a a professional henna artist applying the mehndi to Namita and some of the other women as well. The designs are fascinating and the really good henna artists hide the name of the groom in the intricacies of the design.

Friday night the celebration of  Namita and Gauhar’s wedding continued at the Bainbridge Island Community Center with more dancing and feasting.

 The Golf Club at Newcastle.The weather was splendid and the light was grand. The Golf Club has a great white tent where the wedding ceremony took place and it was amazingly decorated with numerous flowers.

Before people began to arrive, Namita and Gauhar  and I went around the grounds and made some pictures with the beautiful scenery in the  background. The views from Newcastle are wonderful if the weather is clear and it was slightly hazy, but still very nice that day. In the traditional Indian manner, Gauhar mounted a horse ( if an elephant is not available) and with members of his family traveled around the grounds of Newcastle accompanied by music and drumming and dancing.  They finally arrived at the entrance of the Clubhouse and were formally greeted by Namita’s family. Then they all proceed to enter the tent for the ceremony.  Gauhar and the priests Mr Dilip Bhatt and Pandit Mahesh Shastriji entered along with almost everyone except the bride. The Hindu ceremony was performed according to Vedic traditions in the Sanskrit language. It was a relatively long ceremony made up of 16 different rituals. After the Hindu ceremony there was a cocktail hour on the terrace and then a formal dinner inside the main ballroom.

Here are some of the highlights of their wedding festivities beginning with the Mehndi and on through the end of the festivities on Saturday night.

Here is a link to Namita and Gauhar’s  previous post of their The Golf Club at Newcastle Wedding. I would like to give a shout out to videographer Aaron Horton of  Aaron Horton Productions who was a pleasure to work with. A real professional to work with. Would like to see his film with it is done. Finally hats offf to Erik Franklin and his staff at The Golf Club at Newcastle. They operate a really first class venue. One of the finest.

Below is a mini-slide show with a larger selection of wedding pictures from Namita and Gauhar’s wedding . Click on “toggle images” at top right to hide the thumbnails; to start just click on the right arrow on the image.

Ananya Rabeya and Mohammad Meah were married last month and had their Walima at the Floral Hall in Everett WA. The nikah or muslim wedding ceremony took place the day before and Saturday they came to the  Floral Hall for the Walima, the party celebrating the wedding. It was a grand Bengali wedding and I was very impressed to see all of the people attending, their beautiful saris and formal Bengali dress and to watch them dance to the traditional Indian and Bengali music. For an added treat just before the dancing portion of the evening began, a professional classical dancer, Rashmi Joshi,  performed. The Floral Hall has hardwood floors, rich paneling, and a sunken garden which provide the perfect backdrop for a wedding and was beautifully decorated by Barbara & Ekta Mishra and Zarah Rice at A Mode Events. Here a few of the highlights and below is a mini gallery of 50 of my favorite images in a slideshow.

 

 

Below is a mini-slide show with some more pictures from Ananya + Mohammad‘s Walima at Floral Hall. Click on “toggle images” at top right to hide the thumbnails; to start just click on the right arrow on the image.

Saturday August 14th arrived and Surbhi and Ganesh came to the The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel, just down Connecticut Avenue from the White House. Built in 1925, the Mayflower Hotel, is an architectural and social landmark in Washington, favored by many U.S. Presidents including Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman who lived there for the first 90 days of his presidential term.
Surbhi got her hair done in Virginia before heading to the hotel to get ready. Ganesh lucked out and got to move into the Presidential suite to get ready with his groomsmen.

As Surbhi continued getting ready, Ganesh and his family began the Barath or grand arrival ceremony. A pedicab had been lavishly decorated for the occasion taking the place of a more pedestrian white horse or elephant. Ganesh processed around the block preceded by durmmers and many dancers until arriving at the hotel entrance and being greeted by Surbhi’s family and the pundits or priests.

After the Barath ceremony, the main set of formal wedding ceremonies began with both sets of parents and the groom participating to start, and then the Surbhi arrived for the final set of ceremonies.

At the end of the night a Surbhi and Ganesh headed for their suite, a couple of Ganesh’s aunties tipped me off that their suite had been decorated for the wedding couple and I managed to get some photos of the bed before they entered the room.

Below is a mini-slide show with these and some more highlights from Ganesh and Surbhi’s Wedding Ceremony and Reception Pictures, check it out. Click on “Pictures” at top right to hide the thumbnails; to start just click on the right arrow on the image.

Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan, specializes in photojournalism and portrait photography for publications and corporations and is a Seattle wedding photographer who travels internationally to photograph weddings.

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Members of Ganesh’s extended family converged on the grounds of the Washington Monument for a family picture with the Lincoln Memorial in the background.

It has taken me a while to complete the editing of an usually large number of pictures I made over four days in Washington, DC photographing Ganesh and Surbhi‘s Indian wedding. They had a traditional Hindu ceremony at the Mayflower Hotel on Saturday but in the couple of days days leading up it there were the traditional Haldi and Mehendi ceremonies. Ganesh and Surbhi are about the nicest couple of people I have had the privilege to photograph in a long time. Some years back I had met Ganesh when I traveled to Bangalore to photograph his cousin’s  Eshwar wedding to Nafisa. So when I arrived in Washington and caught up with the family it was like old home week.
Because of the length of the ceremonies over 3 days I have decided to split the coverage into two blog entries and here are the highlights from the first few days the families were in Washington DC for the festive occasion. I will post some of them and at the bottom is a slide show with a longer set of images.

Below is a mini-slide show with these and some more highlights from Ganesh and Surbhi’s Haldi and Menhendi Ceremonies, check it out. Click on “Pictures” at top right to hide the thumbnails; to start just click on the right arrow on the image.

Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan, specializes in photojournalism and portrait photography for publications and corporations and is a Seattle wedding photographer.

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In August,  I spent four days in Washington, DC photographing Ganesh and Surbhi‘s Indian wedding. They had a traditional Hindu ceremony at the Mayflower Hotel and afterwards we had everyone, and I believe that there were about 300+ or so people in attendance, head over across the hall to the ballroom where the reception was to be held. The Mayflower has a magnificent old fashioned ballroom with a balcony overlooking it on all four sides and so I went up there and shot down on all of the guests to make this panorama.
I am still in the process of editing the more than 8,000 images from the four days of shooting but have reduced it down to a little less than half and I am still going strong. There were a lot of really great pictures that week and I will present them here within the week.

Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan, specializes in photojournalism and portrait photography for publications and corporations and is also a Seattle wedding photographer.