South Indian weddings are some of our favorites to shoot. The vibrant, beautiful colors, electric atmosphere, and ceremonies steeped in tradition make these full length wedding weekends a photographer’s dream, and we’re now doing about 15-18 full weekend celebrations a year.
One of the highlights of the weekend for us is shooting the Indian Garba dance. The Garba is a joyful, colorful dance that honours womanhood and celebrates fertility, and on this particular weekend, the bride, Sunny, happened to be an incredibly talented dancer. Check out some of her moves in the Indian Garba dancing photos below!
Let's check out Sunny + Ronak's wedding weekend, starting with the Garba, held at the Shannon Community Center in Dublin, California.
For those less familiar with South Asian traditions, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas shares that the word Garba comes from the Sanksrit "garbha", which translates to "womb" -- the Garba celebrates and honors the feminine form of divinity, dancing in a circle around a clay lantern called garbha deep ("womb lamp"). Sunny was the perfect representation of this idea, as an incredibly talented dancer herself; check out her moves!
As you can tell, the lively colors and patterns paired with extravagant, sweeping choreography make for the perfect wedding celebration photos, only enhanced by Sunny’s style and attention to detail. She’s the perfect representation of the feminine form of divinity and honoring womanhood. The Indian Garba dance is the perfect way to start a wedding weekend, but it’s just that - a start.
The next day, we got up bright and early to enjoy the wedding and reception at the San Ramon Marriott in San Ramon, California. It’s big, spacious ballrooms and unique lighting provided the perfect backdrop for a traditional ceremony so focused on lively colors and motions. And, as you can see, the dancing never stopped.
These weddings give us the opportunity to exercise our creativity because there are so many unique traditions to be a part of. The bride and groom and their family say their vows on a raised ceremony platform decorated to look like an ancient throne room. Necklaces, wristlets, and Henna catch your eye every step of the way. The whole community of guests act as witnesses as they march with the groom to receive his bride, and the light blues and golds of the night before are replaced with lively reds and purples as the ceremony commences. A somewhat more modern tradition, the convertible, was a fun way to capture the couple’s transition from ceremony to reception.
At the reception, Sunny’s royal purple and gold flowed elegantly and peacefully into Ronak’s arms to provide us with shots that were serene and calming in contrast to the Indian Garba dance photos from earlier in the weekend.
It was a lot of fun to see this couple interact with such love and excitement, not only with each other, but with the proverbial village of friends and family that accompanied them. From the boy band dance performance of the groomsmen and the virtual army of friends and family that marched with Ronak to the stunning bridesmaids that performed the Indian Garba and stood with Sunny, this couple had all the support they could ever need to draw from. They say it takes a village, and Sunny and Ronak are certainly well equipped.
Such a lively weekend provides the ideal start to a couple’s forever, and the Indian Garba dance is the unique, ancient tradition that kicked it all off. Thanks to Sunny and and Ronak for allowing us to be a part!