Kansas City’s South Asian community sure knows how
to throw a party and when it comes to weddings there’s nothing better than the
BIG FAT DESI Wedding.
We had the pleasure of shooting Arsalan and
Baila’s multi day wedding ceremonies in August. The festivities began several
weeks before the wedding weekend and spanned from Kansas City, (bride’s home town) to Baltimore, Maryland (groom’s hometown). We joined Baila and her family for a series of events in preparation for the wedding day. The festivities began with a bridal shower, desi style. Adorned with posters from Bollywood movies the party hall captured Baila’s inspiration for romantic flair. The nights entertainment included carefully choreographed dances to the bride-to-be’s favorite Bollywood songs.
The second event was the dholki, where Baila looked like a regal Pakistani princess in yellow mustard kameez with churidar tights. Her siblings, cousins and friends gathered around a traditional drum known as the dhool and sang their hearts out to traditional Urdu and Punjabi songs. As is tradition, the family matrons gathered around the bride for blessings, waiving wads of cash over the bride’s head and placing a dot of henna on her hands before feeding her delicious sweets.
The mehndi night was around the corner and it was time to color Baila’s hand with the lovely stain of mehndi or henna. Arooj designed an intricate lace of flowers up her arms, followed by mandalas on her palms.
As wedding photographers we look for the moments where your heart melts whenever you see the photos and Baila and Arsalan’s wedding provided the numerous natural moments from all the guests. As one of the youngest in the family Baila is the beloved baby daughter and baby sister for all her family and the realization of her becoming a bride began to sink it,tears of joy and love flowed freely from eyes and hugs lasted longer than ever.
We finally got to meet Arsalan for the mehndi ceremony with his family. Their excitement was visible, they had come to marry their son off to the woman of his dreams and as he so eloquently puts it: His
best friend for life.
As we stole them away for a quick couple’ photo session we found out how they truly felt about each other. They graciously posed, flirted and stole glances at each-other. Word has spread about the incredible
dance routine Baila’s family and friends had prepared in her honor and Arsalan’s
family came prepared to battle it out on the dance floor. Song after song the
families out did the other and the energy in the room buzzed with excitement
until they all got onto the dance floor and the bhangra took over and they could
dance no more.
The wedding day arrived and Arsalan dressed in
regal outfit walked nervously to the ballroom with his family beside him.
Baila’s sisters were up to no good as they mischievously blocked his way for the
‘raasta-rukai’ a traditional ceremony where the groom pays penance for coming to
take their sister. Little did Arsalan know this was only the beginning of the
many test he would endure before marrying his beloved. He soon got to see her
for the first time as a bride and she literally took his breath away, he leapt
to his feet and grinned ear to ear as her brothers escorted her down the aisle.
They met in the center and her bother placed Baila’s hand in his and gave his
blessings. As Baila blushed under Arsalan’s loving gaze the guests erupted into
applause. Hand in hand they made it their way to the stage where the local Imam
pronounced them man and wife.
The marriage was official but the pranks were not
yet finished, after a series of family portraits with the bride and groom the
families gathered together and Baila’s cousin suddenly stole Arsalan’s shoes off
and ran away. Thus began an interesting negation and the official and final
prank for welcoming Arsalan into he family.
May you two always look at each other the way you did at your