An Indian wedding.

I was lucky enough to be asked to do an indian wedding in Northampton a few weeks ago, and let me tell you it was a beautiful wedding but the difference in cultures is something that really sticks out. I found out that indian weddings, sorry bengali wedding in this case last 3days! spread over a period of a 2 weeks usually, can you imagin a wedding that lasted 3 DAYS! I was asked to only to the actual wedding day (which is the middle day) and for me this was the worst day because of how emotional and sad everyone was. Not like an english wedding where everyone is really happy, the bride walks around like she’s about to burst into tears the entier time and doesnt eat or speak to anyone really and if she does its at a bare minimum.
On the morning before i left i was really excited about the day because i heard about how beautiful the weddings where and all the colours and beautiful dresses, the good food and the music and the traditions of the whole thing. The day started at 10:30am and i was ready sitting in my kitchen ready to be picked up when i recived a call saying the two guys i was going with ( who worked for a company who specalised in indian weddings i.e doing the photography and videos of the day) where going to be half hour late- and that basically set the tone for the day. We arrive in Northampten round half 11. Apone arival we where suposed to go into the house and photograph the bride getting her make-up done(this is what always happenes apparently, photographing them getting ready) making sure to also get photo’s of her hands after all the Hena is dried. However the bride wasnt anywhere near ready by the time we got there and we basically had to wait around, she took so long in getting ready that we had no time to get these “important” images because she had run 3hours behind. By this point i was basically rushed into her room to get some photo’s of her before she would leave for her wedding, In the Muslim culture the bride will take her marrige vows at home with a holy man and her family around her before they leave for the Hall where the rest of the ceremony is carried out.

In Bengali wedding traditions, the woman has to be there before the groom so that when he does get their he has to pay to come in, if he can not pay he doesnt get his bride- seems fair. However when he does arive he and his side of the family are put into the hall but there is always something there to block him from seeing the bride and the brides side of the family, usually a sheet of fabric or something. Once inside he sits with the important male family members from both his side and her side of the family and they sit and discuss terms and conditions as it where for the marrige and he says his vows.The bride is STILL not introduced to him at this point.

When it comes to eating, men(from both groom and brides families) sit in the section of the room where the groom is, and the woman in the brides section. Its at this point where the ‘bridesmades’ and important female family members will feed the bride and she feeds them, i asked why they do this and the answer was because its to represent the last time she eats as a member of the family, because now she’s married she is now part of her husbands family insted of theirs (bit harsh). This part of the day is probably the most fun the bride has all day- because this was the only time i saw her smile! The same with the groom, he will usually be fed something meat based where as the bride will be given vegitables. After this it was our turn to finally eat something, by this point it was around 4pm and i hadnt eaten a thing! The food was amazing and i tried everything, the guests of the wedding where so polite making sure i had eaten well and always giving me things to try- maybe they thought i looked like i hadnt eaten in weeks or something? Everyone was so friendly and wellcoming, so i didnt really feel like i was introuding that much on their day.

So now everyone was fed and watered, it was back to work. Now i had to photograph the groom on his own and with close family members before the bride was brought over, this would be the first time they saw each other that day AND they where even married by this point might i add. This is when my spirits started to go down hill, mostly because the atmospher seemed to change on the woman’s side of the room, the bridesmades became restless and the bride seemed to look EVEN MORE upset, like she would busrt into tears any moment now, at one point she was even rushed to the bathroom. After the meet and greets and photo’s where taken of the groom, it was the brides turn to come and say hello.

This for me was the most depressing part of the whole day it literally broke my heart photographing this next bit and made my job there really hard. The bride came over to meet her husband and when she sat next to him, they just looked so sad next to each other and it just made me feel sort of sick inside to look at them just because they looked so upset. As part of the tradition they have to feed eachother abit of cake and drink some juice thing after reciving money and gifts from their guests. The bride was so distraught that she had to be helped when she was ‘feeding’ her husband and with lack of a better word he looked so pathetic (best way i can discribe it) when she was feeding him, i felt so bad for them both i could barely watch it. I didnt no if it was just me who felt like this, maybe just because of the difference in cultures maybe is the reason why i found it so upsetting to watch? When the bride and groom where leaving the hall at the end of the day the bride literrally broke down crying her eyes out clinging onto her mother and father for dear life so much so she began hyper ventelating and had to be carried by her father into the car, whilst the husband just walked beside her looking uncomfiterble the whole time.

This experiance as a whole was good and im very happy i went, im happy with the images taken and the people i worked with seemed to like my stuff a lot as well. I did really enjoy it and it was an experiance will keep with me always.


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