Indian Wedding: Jessica and Ruturaaj, Lexington, Kentucky

One great wedding often leads to another. In the case of Dallas physician Jessica, she heard about me from her friend Neema, whose wedding I shot and Jessica attended in June.

Fast forward to the fall, when Jessica and her fiance Rutu, an engineer, returned to Kentucky for their wedding. An Indian wedding is always an event– there’s nothing like it for sheer size, scope, or color. By now, I’m pretty used to the rhythms of these multiday extravaganzas, and in fact, I’m beginning to see a lot of the same guests… they say I’m part of “the family” now! Since Indian weddings all but require an associate photographer, I was happy to be able to bring in one of my favorites, the emerging Bowling Green photographer Jennifer Creed. For Jenny, it was her first Indian wedding, and she brought a certain amount of wide eyed wonder to our work.

The folks at the Embassy Suites have gotten to be quite proficient at these events, and Amy Stamper and her crew did a wonderful job of giving the ballroom three different looks in less than 36 hours. I also got to work with my good friend Laura over at Destiny Horse and Carriage, who conveyed Ruturaaj to the proceedings in Kentucky style, while surrounded by their singing and dancing family members.

At the entrance to the hotel, Jessica’s parents and the priest met Rutu for a traditional ceremony that welcomes him to the wedding. He then is led into the hall by her parents to the Mandap, the wedding canopy where the ceremony takes place. All parties remove their shoes before going up on to the platform.

Before Jessica enters the hall, a sheet is lifted in front of the groom’s face, so that he cannot see her enter. Family members escort her to the mandap, and she is seated before him, before the veil comes down. The ceremony that follows is a cascade of flowers, flames, grain offerings, smoke, and processions, and it’s a visual treat. Like in many of these events, someone from the bride’s side of the family managed to steal Ruturaaj’s shoes, which is rewarded with a ransom.

The reception that followed was in a more Western vein, with many speeches, a game or two, and lots of dancing– I’ve never seen anyone who loved to dance more than Indian people.

For more images, click on the thumbnails below!

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