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 Alone on a train aimless in wonder, an outdated map crumbled in my pocket.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 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:
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.
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!
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
Stay tuned for part two of this wedding – the civil ceremony at Sodo Park.