We are rob & lauren: two professional photographers who love weddings and travel. This is where all of those things come
together for us. Within these pages we hope you discover and sense our deep love for the cultures that we encounter and
experience. Our biggest hope is that you come away from this site with a great understanding, respect and love for them and
their ways. Enjoy!
Another from the Taj
April 27, 2008
So we just finished our very first wedding of the year back home in Edmonton. It was a South Indian wedding, and I think we'll certainly have to post up some shots of that soon, because there were some really new traditions! But we ended up shooting for 18 hours yesterday, so we're obviously still a bit worn out! So that will come soon! For now I'll post up a couple new photos from the Taj Mahal shoot with Megha and Chakshu to tide you over!
Hope you enjoyed those! And check back soon for those new wedding pics!
There are times right after you've traveled when you wonder why you ever decided to come home. You forget about the stresses and strains of traveling, and start to just remember all the fun stuff. These emotions are compounded when the place you live in looks like this right now:
Caption for the next photo = What the heck is this????
Yes, we thought we were being all sneaky, and completely missing out on winter. But Edmonton had a different plan, and the past two days have been marked by intense blizzards. We met so many people in Vietnam and India who said that they LOVED snow. Upon inquiring, we would always find out that they had, in fact, never seen snow in person. Well, to all those people, trust me, it's not so fun when you have to live it all day. We have 3 portrait shoots and a wedding this week, and have all this darn freezing white stuff to fight with!!!!
Anyway, this is a delay post until we get some more photos to put up! Right now Rob is working on the portrait sessions and weddings that we shot, and we definitely have to share more of those with you, because every time I look at his computer I get all excited about the photos! So just sit tight, and think warm thoughts until we post those up.
Hey Everyone, Thanks for dropping by! We returned home from our travels on the afternoon of April 5th, 2008. A common question asked of travelers is “What was it like?”. I smile at this question and think about how much things have changed for us and how different we have become simply by traveling from one place to another. I can really only suggest that they start this blog from the beginning to answer that question (a special thank-you to those of you who followed us all the way, shared in our laughter and provided encouragement when we were left without words or photos). I feel that our time spent in India has certainly provided great insight into a very beautiful culture, and that we will most certainly be drawing inspiration from this trip for many years to come—probably our lifetimes!
Anyways after traveling for so long we have a ton of great photos that would look great hanging on your wall! Man, that sounds cheesy! The truth is that right now our new house is pretty empty and we plan on filling a lot of the walls with beautiful prints and canvases of this trip. We figured a few of you out there might enjoy a little Wedding Travelers souvenir yourself so we’ve put together a gallery of some of our favorite photos available for purchase. Photos will be printed on either professional Kodak Endura Lustre paper or super awesome canvas and shipped to whatever cool place you call home. As mentioned before we will be donating 20% of the profits from these travel print sales to the Multiple Sclerosis society of Canada. Just click on the following link “I want a print!” , pick a few cool photos and then go find some warm cozy wall space for your new prints. If there is a photo found somewhere on this blog that you would like to purchase that’s not listed in this gallery then drop us a line and well make sure to add it. Also if you’re a graphic designer or would like to use our photos for any sort of commercial purpose than a hi-resolution file can be licensed and made available for download!
I know they've been posted already, but I just couldn't help posting a few of my favorites below that I think would look awesome as prints
With our wedding season about to take off we’ll be shifting our focus back to our regular photography blog. Please direct your attention there for a continuation of the mind blowing Rob & Lauren photography experience (I can’t say that with a straight face, who could?). All of that said, the Wedding Travelers will still receive regular blog updates (albeit less frequently). We would like to start featuring other cultural weddings. If you’ve shot a cultural wedding and would like to provide an article and a few snazzy snaps then we would love to post it on here! Please e-mail us to let us know what type of wedding you've shot and the details that make it so beautiful. We will also be posting little travel tips, maybe some short travel photography tutorials, as well as reviews from the places we’ve traveled. I think next winter we might try for either WT: South America or spend a couple months in Bombay (again!) so if you’re in either of those areas and interested in wedding photography be sure to get in touch with us.
I thought today I would share a bit of a review of some of the gear we traveled with. The following video is pretty long, so unless you're a photographer or someone seriously interested in how we traveled with our equipment then I might suggest passing over this one!
A couple extras:
- One thing we took with us that was essential was a rocket blower and a great microfiber towel. Using your gear on a daily basis means it gets dirty fast (especially in India) and you need the tools to make sure everything stays clean.
- Those WD pocket drives are from Western Digital. The apple sticker on it was just something I threw on so that I could distinguish between all the drives.
- We did take a remote release cord which is pretty much essential when working with the tripod or gorillapod-- nobody likes waiting for the 2-10 second timer!
If you have traveled with your gear, I would love to know what you felt was the most important piece of gear you brought with you. Also if you haven't traveled with your gear, what do you think would be the best thing to take? When we left on this trip I thought I had everything perfectly figured out, but after being gone for so long I realize that there must be a ton of great ways to travel with your gear. Leave a comment or send me an e-mail!
Lauren and I are still working on getting everything caught up here which is why we've been relatively quiet on the blogging front. Expect things to pick up though! For now follow the link and check out this movie trailer.
We have physically stood in some of the exact same places this movie is filmed! And actually if you check out our Jodhpur video below you'll see some of the exact same shots! Thanks to the viddler user who tipped us off to this. I can't wait 'till this movie comes out. Man, I already miss traveling.
So we woke up this morning to a really fantastic surprise! Our little video of Jodhpur, India (which incidentally was our favorite place we visited on our whole trip!) is featured on the front page of Viddler! Viddler is the really fantastic website we use for all our videos, so to be put on their front page is extremely exciting!
Make sure you visit the site today to see us on the front page! Just hit up www.viddler.com for a little extra dose of The Wedding Travelers!
Wow, it was really strange just now to write our location as Edmonton, rather than exotic places like Singapore, Vietnam or India! But even though Edmonton is a little more tame than some of the places we saw in the last three months, I can't even begin to tell you how glad we are to be home. Our 40 hour journey home was long, arduous, and not totally problem free, but we made it here with all our bags intact, and our sanity more or less in place. We got a great sleep last night, and our bed felt like a huge fluffy cloud compared to the beds we've slept in for the past 3 months. And believe it or not we're feeling good this morning, not really jet-lagged, and have already gotten back to work! You might think we'd give ourselves time off to recoup, but it feels like we've been waiting to get home and get back into the swing of things, and we just couldn't spend a day sitting around doing nothing!
We're going to hook you up with a few videos we took over the past few days. Our cameras didn't really see the light of day after the wedding, so there aren't any photos. But a few neat little videos will be good for you!
First, from the Singapore Changi Airport. After 2 months in India, we felt like we were in some spotlessly clean futuristic utopia when we got to the airport in Singapore. Seriously, we just kept smiling the whole time we were there!
And then a little video from our landing in Los Angeles. It was in the evening, so we were treated to some beautiful sunset colours.
And finally a video in two parts, since we ran out of memory card space, and I don't know how to splice them together. Here is Rob giving you a little tour of all the goodies we brought back!
There you go! We've got a bunch of shopping to do here, for some food and some business stuff. But we'll be getting back to this blog soon to add a ton more photos from our trip, and an unbelievable amount of info still needs to go up! So thanks for all the well wishes for a safe trip, and we'll talk to you all soon!
P.S. In the video Rob mentioned my Shootsac, and I figured some people might be wondering what that is! Well, it's an absolutely fantastic little camera bag, perfect for people who, like me, change their lenses a lot when they are shooting. I really really really wished I had brought it along on our trip! I know I'll never be leaving it at home again, no matter where we are going! Anyway, if you're interested you need to check out the website, www.shootsac.com. We love it!
Finally the time had come, and it was the day of the marriage ceremony. With Sikh weddings, the ceremony is supposed to be finished by noon, which always means an extremely early morning. We were up and ready and at Kimmi’s house by 6:00AM….We barely were even functioning! But we were able to get a really cute shot of this. It is tradition that the bride is lifted from the washroom by her uncle and brothers (and when I say brothers, I mean brothers in the Indian sense, which is really just any male cousins around her age).
Then as she ran off to the salon to get ready all the boys had their turbans tied. It’s really a funny process and I enjoyed getting to see it done! (I'm usually with the girls side, and have never seen it before!)
A quick cat nap for us as everyone finished getting ready, and then off to the location! It was just flat out incredible, an enormous colourful tent full of majestic benches and fans taller than a person!
The ladies were all waiting anxiously for the groom to arrive.
And when he arrived he arrived in style! There was a marching band that brought him in, complete with bagpipes, which were a bit strange to see in India, but neat nonetheless.
When the groom arrives his face is covered by the Sehra, which are garlands made of tinsel, beads, or sometimes even fresh flowers. He also carries a long sword, and I think he looks absolutely downright impressive!
Then the band threw up some ribbons and petals and marched around Harsimran and his mother as they greeted Kimmi’s family.
A nice shot of that sword.
Then the Milni took place. It involves the corresponding male members from each family (ie. Kimmi’s maternal uncle and Harsimran’s maternal uncle) greeting each other, putting flower garlands over each others neck…
And sometimes they take turns to lift each other way up in the air!
A close up of those garlands
Harsimran’s brother looks so happy in this shot, I love it.
And as this all went on Harsimran looked on.
Then, after the Milni was finished, it was time for the gals to have their fun. All the sisters and female cousins strung a long ribbon across the entrance to the tent to keep Harsimran from getting in.
He then had to bargain with them to get in. I’m not sure how much he had to pay, but in the end the girls all cheered loudly so I’m sure they were well compensated ;)
After everyone had some great breakfast the close family and the army of photographers and videographers headed off to the gurdwara for the actual marriage ceremony.
A few details from the ceremony. This is a chaur sahib, which they use to fan the book.
And the book itself: the Guru Granth Sahib. The text is treated as the eternal Guru of the Sikhs. It is not an object that is worshipped, but rather it guides Sikhs in prayer and worship. The text contains over 5000 shabhads, or hymns, that are set to classic music, which is why there is always music during Sikh ceremonies.
Here are the musicians playing.
One of the important parts of the ceremony is when the bride and groom walk around the book. This is similar to when they walk around the sacred fire in the Hindu ceremony, but here the bride is lead and helped along by her brothers as she makes her way around.
A neat shot of them walking.
Kimmi looked so happy and peaceful.
And the setting was so lovely.
One great thing was that all of the women were wearing different shades of pink. It looks so beautiful.
As I've just learned, there is no such thing as a priest in the Sikh religion. Rather, there is what is known as a granthi, who is someone who reads from the Guru Granth Sahib and takes care of it. Anyone can be a granth, as well as either gender. This is the granthi from Kimmi and Harsimran's ceremony. You can see that the Guru Granth Sahib is always covered overhead, and is on a raised platform. Everyone sits on the ground, at a lower level than the book, to show their respect.
Two of Kimmi’s fathers friends, who are holy men, attended the ceremony and blessed the new couple.
A neat shot of the whole setting.
Then after the ceremony was finished, the couple returned to the tent to see all of their guests. This time when they entered Kimmi was alongside Harsimran and his family.
It was a spectacular entrance. Kimmi told me she had wanted a ton of flower petals thrown on her, and she certainly got that.
And, of course, there was a bit of dancing.
But even though so much of the wedding is full of happiness, these weddings also have a ceremony marked by strong emotions. It is called the Doli, and it signifies the bride leaving her parents house to join her husband. We have, on many occasions, had a Doli that wasn’t too sad, but in many cases, as in this one, the couple plans to move very far away from home (these two are moving to California in a month) and so you can imagine how intense the feelings were. Kimmi was definitely overtaken by the emotion.
She and Harsimran sat together as they were fed sweets. But now that they were married they were finally able to hold hands.
And then they walked outside. Kimmi threw puffed rice behind her to signify prosperity, and the returning of what her parents have given her over all the years.
Then she got into the doli, which was carried by her male cousins. Her brother stood at the front to carry his sister away.
It was certainly very emotional, walking down the street as she was followed by her whole family.
Harsimran walked along beside her.
Kimmi and her father hugged goodbye.
And her brother led her to the car.
But not without a last hug from her mother.
Everyone was caught up in the emotion.
And then as the car drove off all her brothers and cousins pushed it away.
And one last one of the grandmas just hugging each other, a sweet way to end such a wonderful wedding.
At the end here I'd like to say an enormous thank you from Rob and myself to Kimmi, Harsimran, and their families for allowing us to be a part of this, and to Kimmi's family for taking such good care of us throughout the whole week. We were once again treated just like family, and always well looked after, and we couldn't have asked for more caring hosts. To our friends, the Mahajans, who let us stay in their palacial home, and were so kind and giving, an enormous thank you. And to everyone we met there, thank you for your friendship. I'm positive we'll all meet again some day!
And that’s a Sikh wedding. I’ll probably be adding to this once I get home, since there are many more photos to add, but I hope you all learned something and enjoyed this! And as always, if you see anything that I got wrong, or anything I should add, please feel free to let me know! We’re all learning here ☺
Anyway, Rob and I are probably on a plane right now on our way home back to Canada. We really can’t believe it’s over already, and at the same time we can’t believe how long we’ve been gone from home. Things won’t end here, as we have much more to add to this website. We have reviews from our travels, of our gear, and where we stayed. We have hundreds more photos to share with you, and more descriptions of different weddings to fill you in on. So please stay tuned, and give us a shout if you have any suggestions. We can’t believe all the support we got throughout this whole trip, and want to extend a very heart-felt thank you to all of you who read along, even if you never commented! We weren’t doing this blog for ourselves, but rather to maybe spread the word about how cool Indian weddings can be, and how gorgeous this whole world is. I hope we succeeded!
Huge hugs and kisses from us, and when you hear from us next we’ll be back home! Yay!
The next day was one of the most fun parts of an Indian wedding: the mendhi! Mendhi, more commonly known as henna, is a form of body beautification. A paste is made up of dried leaves of the henna flower, and then it is applied to the hands. When the paste first goes on and is wet it appears dark green.
As the paste dries, it turns black, and gets hard.
In order to let the colour get darker, you need to leave the paste on as long as you can. You can put on a mixture of lemon juice and sugar to keep the paste moist and sticking on the skin.
The designs are always different, and each hand is different. It’s really good fun to see all the ladies going around and comparing their patterns.
Here’s a shot of me that Rob really likes and wanted me to put up! You can see that I got my hands all covered in mendhi too, my favorite part of Indian weddings :)
The house was looking fab.
Then the girls started getting ready for the Maya. They made up a decorative design out of coloured powder to place in front of Kimmi’s feet.
It started off with Kimmi’s mom putting some oil in Kimmi’s hair with a small bunch of grass.
Then everyone took turns applying a paste made up of turmeric powder (which is called haldi in Hindi. If you’ve read my article on Hindu weddings you’ll realize that this Maya ceremony is essentially the same as the Haldi ceremony, just a different name for Punjabis!) and water.
Even covered with yellow goo, Kimmi still looked gorgeous and oh-so-happy.
Her mom tied a special bracelet around her wrist.
All the female sisters and cousins helped out.
Then it was time for the Chura ceremony. The chura are the special red and beige bracelets that a bride wears. Generally they are worn for as along as possible after the wedding. For some brides it is for a few days, for others it is a few months. Here the male uncles all touch the chura as they sit in a bowl of milk.
Then the brides maternal uncle puts the chura on.
And by now you should know what comes next. Party! Kimmi and her dad had a great time dancing together, with her mom looking on between them.
Even the grandmas get into the action.
Wedding houses are always lit up with gorgeous lights. Check out how spectacular the house looked.
And finally the kalirehs were tied on by the female cousins and sisters.
Kimmi hits her kalirehs above the heads of her un-married cousins for good luck, in hopes that they will get married soon.
According to a Indian bridal magazing we picked up here in Delhi, the shape of the kalirehs has a symbolic meaning. The top is shaped like a coconut, to show that the bride will always have food in her new home. There are metal pieces hanging from it, to show that she will always have wealth.
And a final shot of her gorgeous chura against her beautiful mendhi.
At this point all the events leading up to the big day had been completed. You could just sense the anticipation, as people tried to head to bed early for the wedding ahead. That means that dinner was held at 9:00 PM, instead of 11:00 PM! Lol. Indian people definitely tend to stay up late! We ducked out early, since we knew that we’d be getting up around 5:00 AM, and needed a ton of sleep. And it was well worth it, because the next day was just spectacular. Stay tuned for that!
The next day we got to rest during the day, which was much needed after the very long first day. And then it was time for the ladies’ Sangeet. Here everyone was really dressed in his or her finest and ready for a fun evening. Originally the Sangeet was only for the ladies, but these days both men and women attend, although the groom generally doesn’t come.
They started off the evening with a great round of dandia, a dance where they hit sticks together. I know that sounds strange, but it really looks like great fun.
This time the colour scheme was bright pink.
Kimmi’s younger brother was a fantastic dancer.
And everyone enjoyed bopping to some bhangra
Then they enjoyed the Jaggo dance. Here the ladies take turns holding a pot with lit candles on top of it, as they dance and twirl.
There is always great music and rhythm for these events. On the right side of this shot you can see a guy playing a dhol, and on the left side of the shot you can see a woman who is banging a stick against a big wooden tray. Tons of noise and fun.
Rob loves this shot. These guys asked for a posed shot, but we got this instead and find it so much more energetic. It’s like they are bursting out of the photo.
And to end off the night Kimmi’s brother (the one in the red) hopped up on stage and treated us all to a song.
And that’s the Sangeet! A time for everyone to have fun together, eat some great food, and dance and laugh before the wedding starts and everyone is stressed about getting things done on time.