Philadelphia Hindu Wedding Photographer | Morris House Hotel | Sheila + Sanjay
What do you do when a Hindu guy from Fiji meets a Jewish girl from Chicago at a Channukah party and they fall in love?
Have a two day, multicultural fusion wedding celebration in Philly, of course! I was looking forward to seeing the weekend unfold since their Queen Village engagement session several months ago.
That Saturday the couple celebrated with a Hindu ceremony. I began with the ladies at the bridal suite at the Morris House Hotel. The really fantastic part about photographing an atypical (to me) wedding is that everything is so novel and interesting. When I am used to creams and frills, I really notice the colors, patterns, and beautiful intricacies in the details. And, oh, there were such fabulous details!
Check out this amaaaazing invitation. Look closely. The characters at the top are written in Hebrew and Sanskrit and say, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” It gives information for the two days: “Under the mandap” and “Under the chuppah.”
The process that the bride goes through is both lovely and complex. There was a process of folding, pinning, wrapping, and re-wrapping that the ladies hadn’t quite mastered. (Thank goodness for Sanjay’s mother who readjusted things before the ceremony.)
Meanwhile, the men had moved back over to the house to work on their preparations.
The couple strolled over to Washington Square for some pictures together.
Despite the slight chill in the air, there was nothing wiping the infectious grin off of Sheila’s face.
The clear-roofed courtyard looked fantastic with the vibrant mandap front and center.
And then the fun really began. The groom’s side were gathered in the bar area for the baraat. Though there were no large mammals, a mix of excited nerves and celebration was evident.
Sheila arrived to a smiling Sanjay and playfully avoided the jaimala.
By the way, Sheila sat down first! (This means she’ll be the boss in the marriage.)
The formalities ended with the ritual of vidaai as Sheila and Sanjay recessed down the aisle, throwing back handfuls of rice as a symbol of prosperity and wealth.
Guests mingled for a luncheon catered by Sanjay’s family (Sanjay made the mango lassi, the saina was brought over from Fiji and fried the night before). It was a beautiful day and I was so excited to see them the next day for part II of the wedding weekend!
“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.”
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea (one of Sheila & Sanjay’s readings)