Rushi & Aniket
Traditional Indian Wedding in Oregon City
I was so excited to be the Portland wedding photographer Rushi & Aniket choose for their garden wedding at Abernethy Center.
Rushi and Aniket have been together for around 3 years. The two met while they were attending college at Virginia Tech, where they were both computer science majors.
While the couple is currently living in Maryland, they decided to get married in Portland. They said, the city was beautiful and they love how green everything here is. Plus, Aniket's sister and some of his family live in the Portland area.
They choose the Abernethy Center's lush Abigail's Garden for their wedding day celebration. I could easily take photos in this garden all day as it has so much to offer any event, from the lush green landscape, water feature, and cafe lighting, I am one happy wedding photographer. Plus all of the included amenities like lawn games, heating and cooling systems, and on site parking make it a great experience for all of your wedding guests as well.
Aniket is originally from Mumbai and Rishu is from Kashmir. They had plans for their parents to fly in for the wedding but sadly because of rising COVID cases in India, at the time, travel to the US from India was suspended. Neither of their parents were able to make the trip, luckily though, one family member was able to make the journey in time to help show the families support in-person.
This is one of those times I am so thankful for technology. All through COVID, technology has allowed us the opportunity to stay connected during a time we had to keep apart. Rushi and Aniket's families were able to join via Zoom no matter what country they were in. It was around 1am India's time when the ceremony started, those parents were troopers, though I am sure this was something they were happy to stay up late for.
I love learning about the wedding traditions of other cultures. I love it even more when I get to be present and photograph them. This is what I learned photographing their traditional Indian wedding ceremony. The ceremony is performed by a priest and in this case the ceremony was performed in Hindi and Sanskrit.
Shortly after Rushi and Aniket came together at the ceremony they both placed a garland of flowers around each others neck. Exchanging the garlands, or "varmala", in ancient times was believed to be the acceptance ritual by the bride and the groom for the marriage.
The couple also lite a small fire pit that they would then walk around 7 times. This might be what we think of as taking their vows, and after each commitment they would circle the fire together. It was a beautiful wedding ceremony and I love how the guests were invited as well. The wedding guests would join in at different times, throwing rose petals, offering advice and giving blessings.
The couple does not exchange rings, but jewelry still plays a part. The groom puts a necklace or "mangala sutra" around the brides neck to serve as a visual marker that she is a married woman. The groom will also place a small dot of powder, made of vermilion, on the bride's forehead, this is another symbol that she is now a married woman.
Another tradition I learned about was stealing the groom's shoes. If you steal the groom's wedding shoes, he has to buy them back from you. Rushi's sister, Shivani, had the honor of snagging the shoes and negotiating for there return.
Next, guests were treated to a delicious mix of catering from Abernethy Center and Bhuna Restaurant. Including Vegetable Pakodas with Mint Chutney, a Hummus Bar, Dum Aloo, Dudh Paneer and more.
Rushi and Aniket created their own photo booth for guests to enjoy and take selfies with. I loved when photo booths became a trend for weddings, they are so much fun. Also it creates a great keepsake for your guests that they can share and use to remember your wedding day.
After dinner, all the in-person guests gathered around a big screen TV to include their family and friends who were still joining the wedding via Zoom for a special video and toasts. One guest gave an especially touching toast, where he spoke about the caste system. He said it needed to be done away with and that it was beautiful weddings like this, where different states, cultures and castes come together to create new groups that are more equal. I was also extremely touched when another guest thanked me in their toast. It was a day to remember for sure!
Venue - Abernethy Center
Bride & Groom's Rings - Helzberg
Bride & Groom's Attire - Manyavar Mohey (New Jersey)
Bride's Make-up and Hair - Blossom and Beauty
Florist - Songbird Floristry
Officiant - Portland Pandit Janak Padhya
Cake/Dessert Baker - Saint Cupcake
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