Part One: The Making of the Bride and Groom Ceremony and Henna Party
This was the very first time I have been invited to a two-day wedding celebration of any kind, as a photographer or as a guest. It was even more special for me because I photographed Meg and Avi's Temecula Indian Engagement Ceremony, and since then Dylan and I have become friends with Meg and Avi.
The day started at a beautiful Airbnb in Temecula with Meg and Avi in separate rooms of the house getting initial blessings from their families. Once it was time, they separately made their way out to the backyard for the next ceremony -- one involving a concoction of turmeric paste or haldi made by the family. Each family and friend, one at a time, was then invited to come up to the bride and groom and apply it on their face, neck, hands, and feet. Some family members merely dabbed Meg and Avi with the paste, others took the liberty to rub it all over like sunscreen -- which made for some pretty funny moments.
This ritual is very beautiful to witness, and it made me wonder why turmeric paste or the haldi was so widely used throughout the two days. From what I've read from this website, this paste is typically unique to the family who makes it as they may add in their own ingredients like sandalwood or rose water. On top of turmeric having so many medicinal benefits, it's seen as being a very sacred paste in Indian culture to ward off evil spirits, to ignite a life of prosperity, as well as to beautify, cleanse, and detoxify the bride and groom before their wedding day. How cool is that?
There were two things about this ceremony that were very nontraditional from what I understand. The first being that these ceremonies are typically held indoors. The second being that traditionally the bride and groom don't see each other the day before the wedding and have these ceremonies separately. Since knowing Meg and Avi, they have taking their cultures rituals and adapted to them to fit their outdoorsy lifestyle.
Now, I have no idea if this is a common thing for South Indian weddings, but after this ritual their families lovingly showered them with water... and then their brother-in-law dumped a bucket of water of their heads, and then a bunch of their family members used water guns to hose them down. It was pretty eleborate, but hilarios. HAHA. It definitely made for more laughs all around.
Sloppily wet and dripping with turmeric paste, the two headed back into the house to their respective room for a shower and outfit change. This is also when the authentic vegetarian Indian cuisine made its debut. A couple of the items that were served were unique to the South Indian region, too, which made for quite a tasty experience.
After lunch, an impromptu ceremony commenced. Avi was taking to one room, Meg the other, where each of them were blessed again, but this time with sweet third eye and throat touches and rice put on their heads. And for Meg, additional bangles added to her arms.
Such a beautiful ceremony. Stay tuned for Part Two: Meg and Avi's Pala Mesa Wedding.
Photography: Jax Connolly Photo
Videography: Paradise Luke
Coordination: Tamara of Paradise Luke
Henna Artists: SD Henna
Decorator: Panache Events LA