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Yesterday, I spent the day with my family in Bellingham. a place where so many memories were created – in the open green fields and historic, rustic, brick buildings. On the windy drive home that evening, with heavy rain pattering against the window, I started to reminisce about growing up there. It was the people who made those memories come to life and who brought so much joy into my life – the gut-wrenching-laughter with friends, the adventures with my two brothers, and those late-night conversations with people from all walks. Being a wedding photographer, I see those same happy memories being created as friends and family come together to celebrate. love.

To compliment sound of the rain, I put on the album, Plans, by Death Cab for Cutie, and listened to it from top to bottom (incredible album), and started thinking about Nicole & Dave’s wedding.

The wedding ceremony took place on the countryside, at Kelley Farms, set atop a hill and surrounded by green fields, evergreen trees, and a cozy rustic barn. Their closest friends, some of whom they’ve known since grade school, surrounded them during the day, and every one shared such open and honest happiness with each other. There was so much love and support and it made the memories. meaningful.

Oh, and while driving home that evening, I thought it would be fun to take the first sentence of every song on the album, Plans, and arrange them into a paragraph:

“If I could open my arms, and span the length of the isle of Manhattan. I want to live where soul meets body, and let the sun wrap its arms around me. Squeaky swings and tall grass, the longest shadows ever cast. Alone on a train aimless in wonder, an outdated map crumbled in my pocket. No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white, just our hands clasped so tight. Burn it down till the embers smoke on the ground, and start new when your heart is an empty room. I once knew a girl, in the years of my youth. It was one hundred degrees, as we sat beneath a willow tree. And it came to me then that every plan is a tiny prayer to father time.”

Congratulations Nicole & Dave – I hope these photos always make you smile.

 

The Kelley Farm bride and groom outdoor photo in large grassy field with sunsetmandev sidhu photographyfarm wedding grassy field seattle tacoma

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Kelley Farm rustic barn weddingbride's white dress hanging on barn in front of wooden doors

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Laughing, Happy, Bride and Groom at Kelley Farms in Tacoma

Rustic Wooden Barn at Kelley Farm in Bonney Lakerustic barn bridal party photorustic farm wedding with large wooden barn

Outdoor wedding photography Tacomaoutdoor wedding ceremony seattle tacomaSeattle country outdoor wedding photographyoutdoor wedding ceremony at Kelley Farm in Bonney Lakelots of hugs and laughter at this outdoor wedding with friends and family

Rustic Barn first dance photo - Seattle Tacoma Photographyrustic vintage wedding cake and succulents inside teacups

Tacoma bride and groom sunset photo in grassy field in the countrybride and groom standing in field with sunset bride holding white lace umbrella in country field at farmbeautiful bride groom sunset photo country fieldbride and groom sunburst wedding photo

 

The traditions and rituals that take place during Hindu wedding always fascinate me. They are among the oldest wedding ceremonies we know of, deriving from sacred Holy texts known as the Vedas, which date to roughly 1700 – 1100 BCE. Although today’s Hindu weddings are significantly shortened, traditional ceremonies often lasted for days.

One of my favorite elements of this wedding is that of the fire god, Agni, who acts as the primary witness during the ceremony. Krishnan lights the fire to mark the beginning of a new household for him and Shilpa, and also announces his acceptance of responsibilities to four deities. After the fire is lit, Shilpa and Krishnan ask Agni to be a messenger for their prayers. They proceed to take seven steps in front of the fire, with each step representing a vow made to each other.

With the first step, we will provide for and support each other.
With the second step, we will develop mental, physical & spiritual strength.
With the third step, we will share the worldly possessions.
With the fourth step, we will acquire knowledge, happiness and peace.
With the fifth step, we will raise strong and virtuous children.
With the sixth step, we will enjoy the fruits of all seasons.
With the seventh step, we will always remain friends and cherish each other.

It was an honor to photograph Shilpa & Krishnan’s traditional Hindu wedding at the Westin Hotel, in Bellevue. Here are a few photos from the day:

Indian Hindu Bride getting ready before wedding ceremony

Bridesmaid putting on purple sari before wedding

Indian Bride getting ready before ceremony

 

Indian (Hindu) wedding photographer, Bellevue, WA Indian wedding Photography at Westin Bellevue

 

Hindu Wedding rituals and traditions - Wedding at Westin Bellevue

Indian Wedding Photography by Mandev Sidhu Sacred Fire, Agni, groom lighting the fire with ghee

Agni (अग्नि: Sanskrit, meaning “fire”) is one of the most ancient and important Gods in Vedic Hinduism that plays a central role in rituals. As the god of fire, Agni is the conduit and messenger between the human realm and the celestial realm.

Hindu Wedding Ceremony at Westin Bellevue - Agni Fire Ceremony

Best Hindu wedding photographer Seattle, Bellevue Couple walking around Agni, the Sacred Fire during a Hindu Wedding Ceremony

Hindu Wedding Issaquah, Bellevue, Redmond

Hindu Bride and Groom are celebrating their marriage

 

 

 

It’s always fun to photograph a wedding for a day, but as a photographer specializing in Indian weddings, the ceremonies and celebrations often span multiple days. I love it! After a weekend together, it always feels like I get to know the family and friends on such a different level, and that means a lot to me.

Jessie & Kelly had their Indian wedding ceremony (Anand Karaj) on Friday, followed by a civil ceremony at Sodo Park on Saturday. Both ceremonies were beautiful and unique, each with its own feeling. The Indian ceremony took place at a Sikh Temple in Bothell, followed by traditional events at Jessie’s house. The civil ceremony took place at Sodo Park – a building built in 1907 with a rustic feel. (It was once a factory to create woodworking tools for ships, and now hosts weddings and other events)

Surrounded by friends and family from around the world, they celebrated each other with laughter, tears, and so much love. These are just a few photos from Saturday, and I want to thank Jessie & Kelly, their friends, and families, for being so kind and wonderful.

Congratulations to you both!

 

Sodo Park Indian wedding venue seattle Sodo Park wedding Decorations - Indian Asian Fusion Flowers and Paper Cranes Indian-Asian wedding decorations flower garlands and paper cranes Sodo Park rustic indian wedding venue seattle

 

Phinney-Greenwood Wedding Photographer Japanese-Chinese Bride with bouquet Portrait of Bride in wedding dress

 

Sodo Park Wedding Photos

 

Flower GIrl and Ring Bearer at multicultural wedding Japanese-Indian Civil wedding Ceremony Chinese/Japanese-Indian Civil Wedding Ceremony multicultural wedding photography seattle Sodo Park Wedding Sodo Park Wedding Photography chinese indian fusion wedding civil ceremony

 

happy bride and groom after wedding

Sodo Park Wedding Photography

Sodo Park Wedding Photographer

 

South Asian wedding photographer dancing at Indian wedding

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A few (many) years ago, I sat in Red Square at WWU, observing my fellow students scurry past one another and file into brick buildings. They rushed to secure a seat in perfectly arranged wooden desks. So many different people from around the country, and world, gathered in a small town for four five years to secure a better future for themselves. I played this little game in my mind where I’d envision each student with an imaginary arrow projecting in front of them designating the direction of their travel. These arrows were always crossing each other, but not necessarily connecting. We’re always crossing paths with others, but how often do we actually connect with them? But then, you’d see people who did connect, in fact it happened all the time; perhaps in a classroom, maybe through an introduction by a mutual friend, at a party, in line to get a slice of pizza, or even because a brave person had the courage to say ‘hi’ to a stranger. All around me, there were so many connections happening, and it was fun to see.

I’ve photographed quite a few multicultural Indian weddings and it’s not everyday that an Irish-Japanese/Chinese bride marries an Indian Sikh groom. But then again, it’s not everyday that you connect with two people who become more than a couple you’ve photographed – but instead your friends. It’s these connections with people that give me so much energy – people like Kelly and Jessie, and their families. And it’s an even greater honor to photograph two people who have connected with each other, just like these two.

I met Jessie and Kelly during the Fall, in Ballard, for an engagement session and I immediately loved them both because they have this calm, cool, kindness and a down-to earth vibe that makes you want to keep hanging out. You know when you meet someone and you think they’re so damn cool, and then later you meet their friends & family and it all makes sense? That’s how it was for them. Their families were so much fun, and they welcomed my brother and I like family, and it really made our experience incredible.

Like many Indian weddings, the festivities spanned three days – the first day was the ladies Sangeet (the bride applies mehndi to her hands), followed by a traditional Sikh ceremony at the Bothell Gurdwara, and then a civil ceremony/reception at Sodo Park on the third day.

Here is blog post 1 of 2.

The Sikh Wedding Ceremony

 

Asian bride mendhi henna on hands at beach in Seattle

asian bride getting ready for Indian Sikh wedding in Everett, Mukilteo

Indian-Asian bride wearing pink lehenga

tying red turban on Sikh groom in Seattle

Sikh Groom on white horse during baraat

Sikh groom rides a white horse during his Baraat in Mukilteo, WA

 

removing groom's sehra

A Sikh groom may wear a headdress, called a Sehra, which is made from flower garlands or white beads. Before the ceremony, the Sehra is removed.

 

Bothell Gurdwara Wedding Photos

The bride enters the Gurdwara’s darbar and sits next to the groom, in front of, and facing, the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book)

 

Indian wedding photography Seattle

To start the Sikh wedding ceremony (Anand Karaj) the bride and groom stand, along with their parents, while the priest bestows a prayer and blessing called Ardaas

 

Asian bride at Sikh multicultural fusion wedding in Seattle

happy bride and groom at sikh-asian fusion wedding

Indian Asian Fusion Multicultural wedding photography

The bride’s father places one end of the scarf worn by the groom into his daughters hand signifying that she is now leaving his care to join her husband

 

Indian fusion wedding at Sikh Center of Seattle

The priest will recite a stanza from the Granth Sahib, followed by Kirtan (music & singing). During the music, the bride and groom will walk around the Guru Granth Sahib – this is called the Laavan, and is repeated four times. The four stanza hymn describes the progression of love between husband & wife, which is a representation of the progression of love between the soul (bride) and God (groom). During the walk around the Granth Sahib, the bride will be helped by her family members or friends to signify their support.

 

happy indian bride smiling during anand karaj ceremony

happy Sikh groom smiling during anand karaj ceremony during Indian wedding in Seattle

Indian wedding photography Seattle

Bride and Groom stand for one final prayer / blessing, called Ardaas, which concludes the Anand Karaj Sikh wedding ceremony

 

Asian bride wearing beautiful pink Indian lehenga at Seattle beach

Indian Wedding Photography Everett - groom standing on beach

Sikh bride and groom holding hands

Stay tuned for part two of this wedding – the civil ceremony at Sodo Park.

To follow my work in the future you can ‘like’ my Facebook Page.
I’d also love to connect with you on Instagram (@MandevSidhu)

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