Ardenwood Historic Farms has won the “Couple’s Choice” award for their wedding venue on WeddingWire the last three years running. It’s easily one of the premiere outdoor wedding venues in the Bay Area - and it only takes a few minutes on the farm to see why. They have four different options for ceremony sites, including an old world gazebo, a towering patch of redwoods on the Patterson House lawn, and a giant Oak tree.
Risha and Sid chose to have their ceremony in front of the giant Oak tree and it was STUNNING.
But we’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves here, because A LOT of ceremony and pomp happened before we even got to the actual ceremony. That’s how most Indian weddings work, and that’s one of the reasons we love shooting them so much. They’re lively and fun. We started the day shooting Risha and her ten (yeah, 10) bridesmaids in and out in front of the Patterson House as they prepared for the day. With Indian brides, there is a lot of prep work to get ready for the ceremony: henna tattoos, yards and yards of material for the traditional saree, fitting of bracelets, anklets, and wristlets, and much more. We love shooting these ladies pre-ceremony because each aspect of her outfit represents a unique tradition behind it. Risha looked like a princess surrounded by her adoring royal court as the ladies in their light purple and gold sarees readied her for the day.
Across the farm, Sid was dawning his pagri (a handsome male headdress) and wedding sherwani. After preparations, we took him out to Ardenwood Farms’ historic big oak trees for a first look session with his soon-to-be bride. It was a magical moment and we got to play around a little bit with some oak leaves as filters, giving the appearance of capturing secret shots of the couple.
The next part of the day was a blast in a half, and is one of the reasons Ardenwood Historic Farms is such a special place for Indian weddings. The baraat is an Indian Groom’s wedding procession (some would call it a parade), and the whole community escorts the groom as he journeys to the ceremony site to meet his bride. Traditionally, high class Indian families would ride in on an elephant in front of their whole community. For American-Indian families, the elephant generally gets traded out for a Porsche (or other fancy convertible), but the thing that remains the same is the community. There can sometimes be over 500 people in this procession! What a cool way to show that a wedding is about more than just the couple getting married. The whole community is involved - literally. This is one of the reasons a big, spacious venue like Ardenwood Farms is so important for Indian weddings - so the whole community can be involved.
And unlike in traditional American weddings, the groom is escorted down the aisle by both of his parents before the bride follows suit, showcasing the agreement in the joining of the two families. As the two exchange vows, their parents stand with them, joining them together with a long thin rope and holding the couple’s arms as they clasp hands, signifying the two families coming together. The families remain on the mandap throughout the ceremony, partaking in almost every traditional element. What a remarkable display of unity and solidarity! But then it’s time for the two to become one and venture off on their own, so they leave the altar and stride down the aisle alone, hand in hand with just the two of them, signifying the start of their journey together.
Looking for an outdoor venue to have your Indian wedding? We recommend Ardenwood Historic Farms.