Arun & Diya | Indian Wedding Photography | France
This was a wedding which, hand on heart, was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The colour, the chaos, the beautiful and the bizarre. I was in my element shooting this Indian wedding photography in the heart of France. The setting was perfect; think typical grand chateau surrounded by vineyards that disappear over rolling hills. It’s a picture postcard moment when the sun sets I can tell you. This traditional Hindu marriage took place over three days. Trying to condense three days into one blog post and keep a narrative is a hard task. Mostly because I spent the majority of the three days genuinely not knowing what was going on, and I loved every minute. I’m not convinced even Arun and Diya knew exactly what was happening at any given moment. It was exactly how I love to shoot. It was spontaneous and exciting.
Arun and Diya’s Indian wedding photography ceremony commenced with the arrival of Arun and his family. Arun’s family greet Diya’s family and Arun is officially welcomed by Diya’s mother who performs an aarathi to ward off the evil eye. Arun is then led in procession to the mandap. To make some sense of all the happenings I admit I have pinched the below from their order of service.
The priest chants mantras. firstly to invoke the blessings of Lord Ganesh, the dispeller of darkness, ignorance and the remover of obstacles. A Thetpai (a ring made from special grass) is given to the groom to be worn during the rites for the purification of his mind. the priest also ties the Raksha Pantham, a holy saffron thread on the right hand of the groom as a symbol of protection. These rituals are performed to seek the divine protection and to purify and bless the groom.
Diya’s grand entrance
Diya enters with her face hidden behind paan (betel) leaves. She circles Arun seven times before the couple looks at each other for the “first time.” The couple exchange their garlands three times, accepting each other as bride and groom.
With Lord Ganesh, Agni and those present as witnesses, the groom assures that he will cherish the bride as his wife. Diya’s father then places her hand on Arun’s over the ghat (coconut). As the Kanya Dhanam concludes, Diya and Arun are seated next to each other and their clothing is tiedtogether to symbolise the union – literally tying the knot!
Thalikattu & Sindoor
This is the most significant part of the ceremony where Arun ties the Thali (the wedding necklace) around Diya’s neck. The Thali signifies the sanctity of marriage and symbolises the eternal bond of love to one another. Arun then puts vermilion in the part of Diya’s hair to present her as a married women. The couple exchange garlands three times symbolising the unification. The couple is blessed by the congregation who shower them with flower petals to celebrate the joyous occasion.
Pradaksinam / Mangal Fera
A sacred fire serves as a divine witness of the union of the couple. Diya and Arun circle the fire and dropped puff rice into it three times in prayer for a happy, peaceful and prosperous married life. On the first round, Arun places Diya’s right foot on the Amni (granite stone) symbolising strength and courage during her married life. he puts a ring on her second toe. On the second round this is repeated on the left foot. The third round involves a lighter moment where Arun and Diya compete to find a ring at the bottom of a pot filled with water. This game is played to indicate their willingness for mutual restraint and compromise throughout their married life.
Saptapadi, Aarathi and Asirvadam
The couple hand in hand take seven symbolic steps to start their journey as husband and wife. Two married ladies circle a tray of three lights in front of the couple, this is done for good wishes and to ward off inauspicious forces. The ceremony reaches the finale with the couple being blessed by the priest, their parents and family by showering them with yellow rice and flower petals for a long, happy and prosperous life together.
Supplier shout outs:
Love the look of this Indian wedding photography? If so then please get in touch with Jonny – I’d love to hear more about you, your wedding day plans and what you want from your Indian wedding photos.