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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Dzuy & Hetal's Civil and Hindu Ceremony at Trunkwell House

 Those of you that read my blog will already know how much I loved this wedding.  I still feel very grateful that Hetal took, potentially, a risk by choosing a photographer with no experience of Hindu Ceremonies.

Dzuy is Vietnamese so the day began with a civil ceremony in the grounds of Trunkwell House in Berkshire.  By 10.30 am it was baking hot, blue skies and not a cloud to be seen.  A challenge photographically to put it lightly.

As the guests began to arrive I was blown away by the explosion of vibrancy.  It took me back to my trip to India  - the shimmering colours caught in heat haze close to the ground.

The both wore traditional Vietnamese (ao dai) wedding clothes and Khan Dong headdresses.  Hetal in red and gold and Dzuy in the popular colour blue.

After the civil ceremony Hetal left the guests to transform into a Hindu bride. There is a lot to get ready under the mandap (canopy) and some of the guests helped prepare the beautiful flower petals which are used throughout.

A familiar sight to Asian photographers was fresh inspiration to me and my assistant on the day, Becky Male.  We both took a lot of shots like this - enjoying the colour combinations and jewellery.

 I joined Hetal during her bridal preparation and was amazed to look closely at her outfit for the ceremony.  The workmanship and detail was quite beautiful.

Her make up was very carefully applied in hues to perfectly complement her outfit and jewellery.

As Hetal was having the finishing touches applied the ceremony begins with the arrival of the groom (Jan Samayo).  Dzuy is welcomed at the entrance of the venue by Hetal's close family and her sister exchanges a coconut with him.   I have to admit to not being quite ready for the sound of the Tassa drums - I jumped a mile and nearly dropped my camera ;)

Dzuy, his family and friends, congregate at the archway of the aisle and here is welcomed (Pokhwaanu) by Hetal's sister and mum who rotates a holy flame (Aarti) in front of him.  Dzuy then steps on a clay pot to break it, symbolising the destruction of all evil before entering the mandap.

 Dzuy has his feet washed by Hetal's family to remove negative energy and to purify his spirit.  He is also offered Madhupark (a mixture of honey and yoghut) and they promise each other sweet behaviour and manners in future life.

Here you see Dzuy hidden from Hetal as she enters the mandap.

They then exchange garlands which symbolise their acceptance of each other - this is the equivalent to the western wedding ring - and represents never ending love. 

 Here you see everyone offering  a mixture of herbs and grains (Saamagri) into the fire.  The couple hold hands and exchange vows (Paanni Grahan).

This is Jav Tul where the brothers of Hetal are invited under the mandap to put rice into the hands of the couple, who in turn place the rice in the fire. 

Then comes Mangal Phere where the couple walk together around the fire 4 times - symbolising Dharm, Artha, Kaam and Moksha.

This detail shows the varmala or holy thread which is placed around the couple - symbolising the spiritual union of their souls and the two families.  I really felt that a Hindu ceremony is the coming together of families and not just two individuals.  It's very inclusive and emotional. 

These details show them taking the seven steps together (Saptapadi), the feeding of sweets (Kansaar)  and them standing on a piece of stone to represent a firm and solid marriage.

After the ceremony there was some time before the beginning of the evening reception for me to take some photos.  The sun was still beating down outside so I opted to stay indoors.  I knew exactly the kind of images I wanted to create for them - painting with light to enhance the extraordinary beauty and detail.

Hetal went back upstairs to change for the third time and I spent some time capturing details.

A highlight for me was the dance performance by Hetal's brother, sister and cousins.  Brilliant energy and fun.  Loved it!

I had worked out where the sun was going to go down and found a field that was just behind the marquee - Hetal and Dzuy were very good to come outside with me but I promised beautiful, creative, pretty light.  I'm sure they won't regret it when they see these...

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me to do this for you.  I sincerely hope it is the first of many such ceremonies. xx



  2. Just wonderful Kate... Images like these, with all the details, colour and light, and emotions, make my heart beat a little faster :)

  3. Beautiful, stunning images x



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