Mick and Karen’s traditional Sikh wedding in Fresno, CA, was absolutely beautiful! Surrounded by acres of almond fields, fruit trees, and rolling hills, the area provided the perfect backdrop for a wedding. Palm trees lined the road as we drove through fields and fields of fruits and vegetables. I love photographing Indian weddings because of all the celebrations, traditions, and the excitement from both families.
We spent 3 days in Fresno, capturing the memories and traditional festivities of the Sikh wedding. As we photographed the many cultural traditions and events, it felt as though we were part of the family. Everybody opened themselves up to us, showing love, and that truly made our job memorable.
Over the past 8 months, I’ve witnessed the kindness and friendliness of Mick and Karen. Throughout the entire wedding, they placed a lot of trust in us, opened themselves up to creativity, and were just so cooperative. From the day we took engagement photos in downtown Seattle, I knew Mick and Karen were going to be awesome! They make such a perfect couple – Karen has a funny personality and a warm heart, and Mick is hilarious and always so understanding. There’s a sense of calm and peace in their relationship that I can only imagine developed through their years of long-distance. They’ve really established a deep level of trust and understanding with each other, and it stems from their communication and openness. After spending time with their families, I can see where they got these wonderful qualities!
Mick and Karen’s Indian wedding was comprised of several Sikh traditions, each of which were performed with happiness, huge smiles, and love. Sikh weddings often occur over the span of several days, traditionally beginning with the application of Mehndi (henna). The photos below show the mehndi being applied to the hands. Usually, only women will have mehndi applied.
Another tradition is for the grooms family to visit the bride’s family with gifts. During this ceremony, the groom’s mother (bride’s mother-in-law) places a chunni (scarf) over the brides head. This is a sign of respect from the mother-in-law and signifies a lifelong of protection and care from their family. Mick’s family brought gifts and sweets to the Karen’s home. These following are just a couple (of many) pictures we captured for them during this ceremony.
Mick and Karen make such a beautiful couple. These pictures in the orchard are some of my favorite. Even in the 100 degree weather, these two were troopers. Here are a few of the pictures…
Thank you, Mick and Karen, for giving me the opportunity to photograph your beautiful, traditional Sikh wedding!
“Dad, you’re sitting on the oven,” two yr old Tayla kept saying as her father sat on a beach log at Golden Gardens Park. Tayla and her 4-yr old sister, Ashlan, were baking ‘cakes’ on the beach while mom and dad enjoyed views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. The girls delicately piled sand [cake] onto the log [oven] and decorated it with candles [twigs]. Ashlan and Tayla’s spirits are uninhibited, full of creativity and free-flowing imagination!
The family’s energy and happiness was contagious. Photographing their interactions left me feeling joyful and inspired, especially when hearing the girls’ spontaneous laughter. Whether dad was doing cartwheels with Ashlan on the beach, or mom was pushing Tayla on the swing, they encouraged the girls to be imaginative and take pleasure in their surroundings.
A huge congratulations to the family as Kelly is currently expecting their 3rd child. The girls will show so much love to their wonderful new [brother? sister?]. Incredibly happy for this fantastic family!
Thank you so much for giving me the joy of photographing your beautiful family.
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Jasmine and Paul’s traditional Sikh Wedding (Anand Karaj) took place at Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Kent, WA. It was a ceremony of Sikh traditions and readings from the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Book).
The wedding day began with Jasmine getting her hair styled by the brilliant and talented stylist, Eve Whittington. Eve is based out of NYC and has an amazing portfolio. Make-up artistry was done by the creative Svetlana, based out of WA. They both did an excellent job, and were very fun to work with during the day!
At every Indian wedding, whether Sikh or Hindu, I always look forward to seeing the bride’s Mehndi (Henna). It takes a true artist with a steady hand to apply the paste, which results in a beautiful design. Henna has been used to celebrate auspicious occasions in India and the Middle East for hundreds of years. In fact, there are some accounts of henna being used prior to the 12th century. Traditionally in Sikh and Hindu weddings, the mehndi is applied to the hands and feet of the bride. Not only does it create intricate and beautiful make-up, it also symbolizes the love between bride and groom (husband and wife). **I’m working on an upcoming blog post dedicated to mehndi (henna) – stay tuned.
Jasmine’s mehndi was done by Natasha. I’ve worked with Natasha for a few weddings, and she is an artistic professional with a warm personality. She always does a great job!
The Anand Karaj, or Sikh wedding ceremony, took place at the Gurdwara. The following pictures show the bride and groom sitting in front of the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Book) as well as traditional musicians playing classical hymns taken from the Granth Sahib. The Granth Sahib is written entirely in poetic prose, and each section is a unique raag (rhythm).
Some Sikh families follow the tradition of a Dholi, where the bride leaves her parent’s house to go live with the groom’s family. Although nowadays, the bride may not actually live with the groom’s family, the tradition is practiced on the wedding day. The groom arrives at the bride’s home where he is greeted by her sister and family members. The bride is inside the house, but before the groom can see her, he must give a gift to the sister. This is a fun time, where everyone jokes around and the sister usually tries to get the best possible gift. Nothing is actually taken seriously, and it is more of a fun tradition, than anything. Upon receiving her gift, sister feeds the groom something sweet (traditionally an Indian dessert), whereupon the groom enters the house. When leaving the house, the bride sits in the car and her family members take turns saying goodbye. This can be an emotional time for the family and bride. The brothers, uncles, and father help push the car as it leaves the house.
After the wedding Dholi, we drove to the incredible Seattle waterfront, where we took some fun photos of the bride and groom. The following photos show the bride and groom wearing their traditional Indian (Sikh) wedding clothing at the beach. Although traditionally, Indian wedding Lehenga’s are red, we’re seeing many more colors. Regardless, Indian weddings are definitely bright and colorful, which only adds to the festive feelings and emotion throughout the day.
The wedding reception took place at the Seattle Exhibition Center, next to the Space Needle in downtown Seattle. It was a grand reception with a delicious spread of cupcakes, food, and drinks. Guests danced to bhangra songs late into the night as they celebrated this special wedding day!
Thank you, Jasmine and Paul, for allowing me to photograph your beautiful Indian wedding in Seattle. Sikh wedding’s have so much energy and I love being able to photograph the special moments and traditions.
Is it possible for people to overflow with joy? If you’re Sharan and Sunny, then the answer is yes! Sharan looked stunning in her red and white rose sari, and Sunny was so smitten with love that it radiated from his face the entire day.
It’s not often that you meet someone for the first time, but yet, it feels like you’ve known them for years. Everything felt so comfortable with these two. We shared stories about growing up, and told jokes the entire time. Their happiness was so contagious and inspiring that I talked about it with Jasmine the entire drive home. At one point, I asked Sharan, “Okay, let’s try for a serious look.” She tried not to smile, in fact she was soooooo close, and then- BAM! SMILE! 🙂 That’s when she looked at me and said, “I can’t not smile!”
Awesome! LOVE IT!
There are certain personalities that inspire you and fill you with joy, you know, the warm-bubbly-type-of-joy, and these two have it. They are meant for each other. You can actually feel it when you’re with them- the feeling that God couldn’t have arranged it any other way. I’m so happy for Sunny, and for Sharan, because they have something special. Their light-hearted approach to life will help them grow together, while their delight encourages those around them.
We explored a beautiful part of Washington State, one that I had never experienced. Sunny grew up in Snoqualmie and took us to the most breathtaking and magnificent places. The mountains created a picturesque background so beautiful that it felt like we were standing in a Bob Ross painting. The Snoqualmie River was powerful and humbling as we walked along the bank, and I couldn’t help but think (and probably said it a million times) “This is perfect.”
Thank you both for such a wonderful time, and I hope these pictures bring you memories for years to come!
I loved the interaction between Sharan and Sunny. They didn’t just say they were in love, they showed it…. in the way they held hands, the way Sunny helped her walk through rough terrain. You could feel their connection when they looked at each other, and when they spoke to each other. You could see Sunny’s affection for Sharan when he was teaching her how to skip a rock. The way Sharan looks at Sunny is priceless, her expressions are 10,000 words! Their love was so natural as it flowed effortlessly between them.
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