One of the best things about being a professional wedding photographer is becoming more familiar with other cultures. It helps in the enrichment of knowledge and keeps one person grounded in his own belief.
I had the privilege and honor of covering Hanif and Noreen's Ismaili wedding events two weeks ago (that was fast!) and again, seeing people who are committed to their cultural heritage is like watching a story unfold.
FRIDAY: MEHNDI (Henna)
The very first amongst the many of Hanif and Noreen's Ismaili wedding tradition. Mehndi is observed by painting elaborate and intricate design patterns. They started on Noreen's palm, followed by the arms and legs.
The bride now goes in hiding after the mehndi. To take an awesome portrait with the equally awesome photographer. Lol *wink*
And while the Mehndi event is taking place, the brother of the bride now goes to the temple, called Jamatkhana to collect holy water. This event is called the GARI.
Gari is actually called a container/ vessel and that's where the holy water is placed. Once the brother obtains the holy water, he is not allowed to speak. The brother then goes back to the house. This event always turns out fun and full of laughs as everyone in the house tries their best to make the brother speak. Go figure.
Only when the Gari is handed to the bride's mom would the brother be able to speak, and he receives a gift in return.
The next event to take place on the same night is the MANDHVO.
It involves four men, preferably relatives, and four pineapples. Accompanied by the bride's mother, what they do is place the pineapples in four corners of the room. This symbolizes protection from evil entering the home.
And so while all these things are happening in the bride's household, the family of the groom had something to observe as well! Same with the bride's wedding tradition, the Gari is also being observed at the groom's house.
Mehndis are applied too! Here's a kid sporting her lovely mehndi!
Am so sure Hanif is now anxious at what awaits him.
Here at the groom's house, they observe the Swastika or Sathiyo. The pattern may look familar because it is one of the oldest known symbols. The symbol in this case means good fortune and is made out of brightly coloured rice. It is placed under the groom's chair during the groom's and the bride's Pithi ceremony.
Moments after, the bride is taken out of her hiding area, she is ready for her Pithi.
Aaaand speaking of Pithi!
A Pithi is a sticky paste, made out of flour, cinnamon, turmeric, different herbs, oil, rose water, and other ingredients. It's a fun event wherein family members and friends bless the couple with well wishes and greatness by rubbing the paste on the bride and groom's arms, neck, face, hands, legs (so, everywhere). The Pithi stands for cleansing and providing skin glow, smooth skin and sheen. This is done on the bride's house and the groom's, too!
And now for the SAAPATIA.
This ceremony involves a small object called the Sapatia. It's a small covered clay plate full of lentils, sugar, silver and turmeric. It symbolizes sweetness and harmony, good health, bounty, and wealth. The bride and groom needs to step on it as a preparation for the final Saapatia procedure (which is done on their wedding day).
Fun night! And so of course the night had to end as they prepare for the event on their second day.
In the Puro ceremony, the family of the groom brings gifts for the bride. This is to welcome her to the groom's family. The trays are carried by the groom's sisters an drelatives. They are all greeted by the mother of the bride, and each person carrying a gift or a tray is welcomed.
The groom will now await his beautiful bride in front of the hall. And now, the drum is ready to roll.
Am pretty sure Hanif was floored at the sight of Noreen.
Some photos taken in between.
The night was full of merriment and performances.
And of course, dancing. I love Hanif's face here. Haha
SUNDAY: WEDDING DAY
But of course, Hanif had to wake up early, flex his triceps (lol) and makes sure that he looks good for the day he's been waiting for.
One happy groom as he receives this early present from his soon-to-be-wife!
Meanwhile, the bride also started getting prepped up.
The groom now arrives at the bride's house to pick her up and take her to the temple.
But before anything else, the bride also has to make sure that she gets her practice time for the Saapatia later on.
First looks are always wonderful. These guys are giggling all the time, like high school students. Haha
The groom and bride now goes to the temple.
Where lots of people await their arrival.
The bridesmaid and the groomsman.
The ringbearer is a fan of his uncle, Hanif. They're both sporting the same haircut. :)
How can't flower girls be not soooo adorable?!
And finally, the announcement of the new husband and wife, Hanif and Noreen!
Now, the groom and bride make their exit and head on to the next part, the Saapatia. The couple must break their sapatia and gather the gifts inside. It is said that the first person to break it will rule the household. So let's see!
So we have a ruler! Great job, Hanif! :p
The couple now heads to another room where they get to be with the wedding officiant, their parents and friends, to wish them well. There they will hold a prayer for guidance of the newlyweds.
And of course, the photoshoot after! We all decided to not go far from the temple as there were flurries already< I don't wanna mess up the bride's exquisite wedding dress!
So there you go! I really enjoyed covering this wedding all throughout as it's truly a pleasure to witness events like these. Til next time!