Now I am getting back into the wedding season and having just done one of the hardest weddings so far, I thought I would share my experiences of the day.
So its 7am and my alarm has just gone off. It’s the morning of my first wedding of the year, a Hindu ceremony in Coventry that was arranged over 6 months ago yet feels like only yesterday. I have to be at the groom’s house for 9am for the first ceremony at 9:30am so I have time to shower, have some breakfast and load the kit in the car. I am good at clearing down my memory cards after each use, so all I have to do in the lead up to a wedding is test the cards in case I need to order new ones, and charge my batteries the night before.
I head off at 7:45 as I have no idea what the traffic is going to be like. It gets me there before 8:30 but I would rather be early and sit around than be late and put additional stress on my clients, and myself. 9am sharp I meet the groom at the house and am introduced to the various family members. I have been warned that although the day is pretty well mapped out, we are running on Indian time so I am to take the timings fairly loosely. However the ceremony starts on time and before I know it I am sat on the floor of their lounge with the groom, the priest and the female family members, right at the heart of the action, with the men of the family watching on from the adjoining room. This is partly logistics but partly, I believe due to the relationship I have built with my clients that they want me to be as much a part of the day as I am there to capture the day. Although it is a very formal event, its done in a very friendly manner and I am told to move where I want, push people out of the way, and even interrupt if I need to. But that’s not the way I work so I carry on as normal.
This first ceremony ends around 11:30am and is followed by some food. There is a real buzz around the house which is different to what I am used to, not just because the cultural differences a Hindu wedding brings but the whole pace and atmosphere is different. I am used to being with the bride and her bridesmaids and whilst their excitement is no less, the interaction with the whole family is quite overwhelming, in a very good way. The next ceremony is at the wedding venue at 1:30 so there is a little bit of time to kill. I decide to go and see the bride at her house just to say hello. She is not due to be part of the wedding until around 5pm, but I feel it would be nice to see her. I have 20 minutes catch up with her and take a few shots of her wedding dress before heading off to the venue.
I arrive at the venue with about half an hour to spare, this gives me time to do a few detail shots and scene setting shots before the family start to arrive. Then it is into the next ceremony of the day, set on a stage at the front of the room. This next part, although broken up into different ceremony carries on until around 7:30pm with few breaks. It’s pretty full on and my knees are taking a hit. It’s so different to the weddings I am used to doing but also very interesting. The final ceremony finishes just before 8pm, so despite the grooms warnings about Indian time, were are not far off schedule. I’ve been offered dinner with the other guests and around 9:30 one of the relatives performs a traditional dance. Then I am I done. My feet ache, but it’s a job well done, I drive home, download and back up my raw files and hit the sack just after 11:30pm. I should sleep well tonight, which is good, because tomorrow morning I am back out to cover the same couple’s civil ceremony. Another long day but I love doing it.
I still have all the editing to do, but that is another day/s in the life of a photographer…