Friday, November 28, 2008

anjali & nirav's wedding

So this was one of those "counting the days" weddings. Anjali is Tej and Pansy's cousin and I was so happy to receive the call when she was planning her wedding to Nirav. I love their families, and since I've done two other weddings in their newly expanded family, I was so looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces and meeting some new ones, too.

The sangeet is always a blast. Here Anjali & Nirav start the festivities by lighting the diya together.
Their aunties and friends performed some fabulously choreographed dances ~

The rest of the night everyone danced. Sticks are clacked together to keep rhythm while the dancers pass each other while going around in a circle.
The next day was the wedding. This next portrait was shot by Christa. We couldn't stop gushing over how beautiful Anjali looked.
Anjali's mom went to India for weeks to find pretty much everything for the wedding. She has impeccable taste!
Nirav sees Anjali for the first time in her lengha.
My favorite ~
Or maybe it's this one ~

Nirav looking dashing ~
Ok, my favorite part of an Indian wedding - the baraat. The groom arrives on a well decorated white horse. His family accompanies him with music, drumming, and dancing. It's totally exhilarating. It makes me feel like I've chugged 3 cans of Red Bull in a row. I wish they started four blocks away. :D
Anjali's family waits for the groom's arrival.
Off the horse, Nirav dances with his family before being joined by Anjali's family.
Anjali's uncles carried her in to the ceremony.

Ghee and rice are offered to God.
Here Nirav is giving Anjali her mangala sutra. (It's the equivalent of a wedding ring.)

Anjali mentioned how bored Christa and I must be as she put on her second outfit. There was no boredom...we were way too busy ooh-ing and ahh-ing, mesmerized by all the sparklies. We asked again, "Really? Your mom picked all this out? By herself?"
Again...gorgeous. Can you believe those eyes?!?
Ok, fine...I have a lot of favorites from this one. The Scottish Rite Cathedral just has so many amazing canvases with which to work. I think they look incredible here.

I'm totally with this little guy...those treats were delicious.
Christa got this shot of the gigantic chandelier in the ballroom.
During some down time, we were able to run around and shoot the architectural details of the cathedral...there was no shortage of material.

There were many heartfelt toasts.

This was unexpected!

Another fabulous Shah wedding! I'm so happy I was able to take part in it and be around such wonderful and welcoming people. Thanks and congratulations, Anjali & Nirav!

{ venue ~ scottish rite cathedral, indianapolis / flowers ~ / cake ~ }

Thursday, November 27, 2008

anastacia & shawn's wedding

I heard a story from Aaron Nelson about a friend of his, a Coast Guard public affairs officer (who is also a fellow photograher) and her Navy fiancé who were trying to get married before the groom was deployed for Afghanistan. I was typing an email to him half way through reading, saying "I WANNA SHOOT IT!!!"

Most of us will never have to face the obstacles or long-term separation that war brings. We take so much for granted. Ana and Shawn's wedding is a tribute to what weddings are really for: joining two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together. It's not about the dress or the cake or the perfect flowers, a perfectly orchestrated schedule, or who's sitting next to who. The only thing that matters is showing up and saying "I do."

The wedding was to take place at the Admiral's house on the military owned side of Treasure Island in the SF bay. Anyone who knows me can tell you I micro-manage. I like to be thoroughly prepared. I was in for a surprise. Me: So how many people are coming? Ana: 15. Me: I'm sorry, 115? Ana: No, 15. Me: faaan-tastic! Oh, and the schedule? It had two times on it: hotel for hair & make up @ 12, ceremony at 4. I didn't know what to do with myself. This was going to be awesome. And off to San Francisco Kate and I went!

Ana lives in New Orleans and if you've ever been there and not visited Trashy Diva, you're totally missing out. This gorgeous little boutique is full of stunning vintage dresses and recreations and it's one of those places you swoon over and wish for an occasion that warrants buying a dress here. Ana didn't hesitate a second to snatch up this silk dress and the velvet wrap she wore over it.
Her stylist whipped her hair up into a beautiful '40s style.

totally in love with these colours ~
When we arrived at the house, I started asking where and how things were happening and Ana pointed to the grass and said they were thinking about down there and they were going to let us figure out the best place for everyone to stand. It was great. No fuss, just "hey are we ready down there?" "Yeah!" And here comes the bride.
I didn't meet Shawn until about 15 minutes before the ceremony...I liked him right away.

Kate is responsible for the gorgeous shot below.

Now I want a little lemon tree in my garden. They're just so happy and cute.
Also happy and cute ~

This next image is the reaction while Ana's dad and Shawn compare the stars and stripes on their cuffs...Shawn was pouting.

Shawn's cousin officiated the wedding; it was his first one and he did a stellar job! And I just love the "bible."
There's a story behind the "mac & cheese." You'll just have to trust me that it's a good one. Ha!
The reception dinner was on Forbes Island, which is actually a giant houseboat in the bay. The view was spectacular. And I have to admit, I really like the sealions going "ort ort ort" all night.
These are my favorites. I collect vintage photographs and all the elements that I love came together in these next two. The clothing, the setting, the lighting...neither of these were set up...they just happened.

Dinner was great. We all just sat around the table talking, eating, and toasting.

A few days later, Shawn was half way around the world. And for the record, the dress was fabulous, the flowers were lovely, and dessert was great, but the important thing is they got married and they are undoubtedly perfect for each other. I pray they can be together again very very soon.

By the way, Shawn keeps a blog about his time overseas. Ana married a very funny man. ;)

{ dress ~ trashy diva, new orleans / flowers ~ church street flowers, sf/ reception dinner ~ forbes island, sf }

**this just in: a quote from Ana about Church Street Flowers ~ What was wonderful about them? I just called them told them the general colors..."every shade of blue you think works, with wine accents!" and they did it all on their own. I am SO in love with "Love in the Mist" a flower I did not see until that day. I have already bought the pods to plant my own!