Aaron and Anwesa’s big day was a whirlwind amalgamation of modern and traditional, of southern hospitality and Indian celebration, of two very different people coming together to build one beautiful life together! It was also a wedding full of firsts for me. Mayur had prior experience photographing traditional Indian weddings, but I had never even seen one, much less photographed one before!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The first “first” I encountered on this journey with Aaron and Anwesa was the night before the wedding. Mehndi night! Mehndi is another word for henna, and the application of henna in those incredible intricate designs that I had only ever seen on Pinterest. This night is reserved for the bride and all the important women on both sides of the aisle to get together, eat, dance, and apply mehndi! These designs symbolize blessings of luck, joy, and love for the new couple. While Anwesa sat up front getting her henna applied, everyone else paired up to draw designs on each other and even perform short choreographed dances! It took until almost the end of the night for Anwesa’s mehndi to be completed, but as soon as it was, she was up and dancing too!
The next day was the wedding day! After all the fun last night, I knew the actual wedding day would be a blast. The days started a little earlier than the usual weddings I cover, and Anwesa spent no less than four hours getting ready between hair, makeup, and the assembly of the sari and veil. It was amazing to see the five or more women who were helping turn this big swath of fabric into a beautiful dress. While Anwesa got ready, Aaron and the rest of the families put the finishing touches on their ceremony space at the TN State Museum. This was another first for me! The museum had recently started booking weddings and Aaron and Anwesa had been one of the first couples to book the space!
After Anwesa got ready, we really got to explore the venue for their first look. The modern, geometric building surrounded by such beautiful natural elements was an incredible combination. We went upstairs to the wrap-around balcony on the second floor to take advantage of the clean columns, lovely copper accents, and the beautiful swaths of green in the background as we shot some pictures with these two. Aaron and Anwesa also complemented each other perfectly in their chosen wedding attire.
The ceremony itself was wonderful, and featured both Indian and American traditions. One of the more delightful moments had to be as these two passed beautiful flower garlands over each other’s heads three times. Already the simultaneous passing seems difficult, but when you add Aaron and Anwesa’s significant hight difference, it was a bit of a chore! But these two laughed their way through it and soon after celebrated with an enthusiastic kiss!
After the ceremony, Aaron and Anwesa flip-flopped and Aaron changed into a beautiful traditional tunic, while Anwesa changed into a stunning evening gown. Seeing this awesome outfit change, we had to snap a few more pictures of this amazing bride and groom before it was off to the dance floor! The rest of the night was spent dancing up a storm to both Indian and American pop songs, and even dancing their way down the line for their exit. The final shot of the wedding sealed the night with a kiss as these two headed off into their future together!
Amanda is a wedding photographer in Nashville