One of my goals for this year was to gain more experience shooting the weddings of other cultures. I was particularly interested in photographing Desi weddings, as they involve so many amazing colors and details. Desi is a word that comes from Sanskrit, and means “of the country,” and is typically used to refer to the people and culture of South Asia, including India and Pakistan.
My good friend Saad Syed is a Raleigh Wedding Photographer who has built a reputation as being one of the preeminent photographers of Desi weddings on the east coast, so I contacted him to see if I could tag along for one of his bookings. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to shoot the Shadi Ceremony of Faiza and Nadeem in Durham, NC with Saad and his wife Mahroo.
Desi weddings are commonly held over three days:
-The Mehndi Ceremony is the bride’s henna ceremony
-The Shadi Ceremony is the main wedding ceremony hosted by the bride’s family
-The Valima Ceremony is a reception held by the groom’s family
Each of these ceremonies may differ significantly based on the religion of the participants (Muslim or Hindu), and the particular cultural and family traditions of the couple. Faiza and Nadeem are Indian-American Muslims. Thank you to Faiza, Nadeem, and both of your families for welcoming me into your ceremony, and thanks to Saad and Mahroo for being such generous hosts.
my friend Saad, “in action”
the ring ceremony
It is a Desi tradition that the female relatives of the bride steal the shoe or shoes of the groom, and he must pay them to get his footwear back. The bargaining process can be exciting, and very entertaining.