Before we start blogging about this New York Sikh wedding, we want to say that this is one of the most emotional projects we have done.
Raman, our bride, is very close to her family and you will see that through the small gestures she did throughout the wedding for her family and husband-to-be.
When brides ask us what they can do differently to make their wedding special, we always suggest adding meaningful gifts on the wedding day for family members.
Connecting with New York Bride
Even though, Raman booked us after we had previously photographed 3 of her family’s weddings; it was still important for us to her needs as a client.
Three months before the wedding, we had a call with Raman to discuss her engagement shoot session; images that would be showcased on the wedding day. She told us that she had lost her grandfather whom she was really close with. Unfortunately, a month after the passing of her grandfather, Raman lost her grandmother as well and this was 2 months before the wedding.
Our first job as photographers is always being a storyteller, we here at Alfaaz Photography, believe your images are not just for today or next years. These images are going to mean a lot more as the years pass by. As your family grows from this bond of love and marriage, we would love that your images can showcase your relationship to the new members of your family.
Our team when photographing weddings are always looking out for grandparents as they are pillars of our foundation. We know in 10-15 years from now they may no longer be around, so these memories of our beloved elderly will matter as you show these images to your children and grandchildren.
We had a call with Raman and we wanted to discuss with her what can be done to create some connecting photographs for her. As a photographer it is very important for us to understand what our clients value. Raman told us that her kalire have images of her grandparents. We also requested her to give us some childhood images with her grandparents so we can incorporate them on the wedding day.
We flew to New York. During the pre-wedding events, you could see the fresh memories of grandparents and some of the most emotional people we have met in a while. There was so much love and respect within the family.
Philadelphia – It all begins.
Let’s talk about Jassi – parent’s second son was getting married and excited in their brand new house in Philly. Jassi is a big fan of cars and since the Baraat was driving 2 hours to the state of New York for this Sikh wedding, why not enjoy this ride in a yellow Lamborghini. So we started our day super early as the Baraat had to leave at 8 am to be in New York at the Sikh Temple.
Photography Styles in New York Wedding
Raman was very clear to what she had wanted and yes communication is a big part of the process. We usually believe in giving our clients opportunities to express their preferred style with the help of visualization exercises. Raman had requested bright and airy as well as dramatic getting ready portraits. Getting ready is a big part of the Sikh and Hindu wedding images, they set a tone for the rest of the day.
THE GOLDEN RULE – If it is pretty show it all and if it is not pretty show what you need to show.
We always tell our brides if you are looking for a bright and airy look please give us a clean room with a big window and space to work around. In bright and airy products, you will see everything that is in the room i.e. the furniture, suitcases and so on.
We wish we had a photo of the room where Raman decided to do her shoot on the wedding day at her house; it was a nicely lit and newly renovated house so it was easier although the room was full of couches, wall hangings, a super heavy marble table and much more. Big thanks to the bride’s brother who helped us move the furniture to one side of the room so we could work with one clean wall and a window.
All Good Things Take Time – Bride Getting Ready in New York
It’s all about time, we always request for about 1 hour and 35 minutes from the time the bride is fully ready to the time she has to leave her house for pictures.
- 30 minutes before dupatta is put on (after which the hair and makeup artist can leave)
- 30 minutes when the bride has dupatta on
- 15 minutes with immediate family
- 15-25 minutes with guests (10-12 groups)
Please trust us that we do not want to be rushed on the wedding day.
PRO TIP – Trust us that 9 out of 10 times hair and makeup gets delayed by 15-30 minutes. So, keep some buffers and don’t forget to communicate that to your parents because they will feel that you are getting late when we are getting some portraits.
We started with some dramatic looks for Raman at her New York house with the help of her brothers to hold mirrors, candles and much more to get some extraordinary shots. This Sikh bride had a phenomenal smile wearing a red bridal lengha. After the dramatic pictures, we opened the curtains, changed the whole look to bright and airy to incorporate a fine sunny New York morning.
Raman had told us about some gifts she will be giving her parents and family so we were prepared to document them as candidly as possible. We never let those small emotional moments which the bride or groom have with their parents or siblings taken away from them. We had experiences in the past where videographers had completely killed the authenticity of the moment by posing special moments like when mom sees the bride for the first time.
We highly recommend asking your photographer or videographers how they document these special moments and if they are going to stage the first look with parents or the couple, please run away from those vendors 🙂 just kidding tell them that you do not want certain parts of the day staged.
Sikh Weddings in New York
At the Sikh temple in New York, everyone waited with much anticipation for the baraat as they arrived from Philadelphia with band bajada and dhols.
Baraat was pumped with Dj van, smoke grenades and a lot of dollar bills flying up in the air. There was such ecstatic energy as the groom’s side came dancing to the Gurdwara Sahib.
This Gurudwara Sahib, just outside New York in Jersey, had a beautiful interior with big windows and that airy feel – there was nothing more as a photographer you’d want to see. Anand Karaj was about to begin and we wanted to make sure we captured every single groomsmen and bridesmaids as they walked down the aisle. It is very important your photographer knows these small details so they can help organize things for better images. We had our bridal party walk in exactly the way we had requested them too and then came time for Jassi to see his bride. Having been together for a decade, you could see the excitement in Jassi’s eyes to see his bride. All heads turned towards the bride as she walked in this New Jersey Gurudwara Sahib.
First look is one of the most intimate moments in traditional Western weddings. In most Sikh and Hindu weddings, the bride and groom only get to see each other for the first time at the altar. As a photographer, it’s very important for us to get that moment captured. We always prepare two camera angles – one focusing on the groom and one focusing on the bride, and if we have a third camera angle on the front. Certain things come with experience and we have learned these things with time on how and where to position ourselves during the ceremony to capture the best of expressions or moments.
Anand Karaj was on its way and we kept a close eye on both side’s parents, bridal party, close family and moms’ for tears of joy as the ceremony progressed. Soon the ceremony concluded as per the Sikh rituals and we are so glad we were there to document every bit of emotion.
Cherry Blossoms At Sikh Wedding in New York
Sometimes luck favours you if you are going with good intent, we were in New York at the best time of the year. It was Easter long weekend and there were cherry blossom trees almost everywhere. Raman and Jassi had assigned during the planning time to go to the shores of New York where one of the biggest cherry blossom festivals in North America is held. Trust us when we say we rarely get time on the wedding day to go somewhere nice and this was a photographer’s heaven, although it was a good 45 minutes drive we were all up for that.
Here are some images from this beautiful Sikh Wedding couple at the Cherry Blossom Festival in New York.
Doli – The Emotional Touch
We feel doli is one the most touching parts of Sikh Weddings and we try to give more than 100 percent energy to capture all the emotions going on during this time. Knowing the emotional nature of this family, we were extra thoughtful of emotions in brothers, father and mother as Raman departed her family home to start a new life in Philly with Jassi.
A Grand Reception in Philadelphia
The reception hall was decorated with Victorian pillars and venician paintings on the 25 ft ceiling; everything was beautiful about this venue. We started our day photographing the fresh flowers and decor at this venue. Raman and Jassi met us right at the heart of Philadelphia downtown at the Library where we shot their reception look. Gucci dressed groom and feathers on bride’s outfit were key highlights of their outfits as they took some GQ style images.
Reception was starting and New York sure knows how to party. With over 450 people waiting for the bride and groom to make their grand entrance in this beautifully decorated room. Dj had this room all set for the couple’s entrance with sparklers all around. In the midst of it all, I went upstairs to meet the bride and groom before the entrance for a quick silhouette image. Jassi, a foodie, first told us to drop our cameras and eat some Amritsari fish and mint kabobs. To be honest, these small gestures of kindness matter; we are always so occupied in creating images for our clients that we forget to eat. When couples treat us like family it makes our lives so much easier.
As soon as we ran back downstairs after taking this image, we had our Emcee for the night ready to get the party started. The room was filled with energy and dollar bills to make it rain as the bride and groom walked in.
Raman and Jassi walked down the stairs wrapped around the corners of the room with sparklers. Everyone was off their feet as they walked to the centre of the stage. It was New York on another level, we saw some interesting dance moves that night.
Soon as the dance floor cleared, we had our couple ready for their first dance followed by two emotional speeches. Next, we had the Apna Versa team get the crowd jumping on the dance floor. This wedding was so full of love and joy that we enjoyed every bit of it. We still remember warm hugs from Raman and Jassi before leaving the hall and that reminds us that we have the best job in the world.
Check out our video slideshow preview of the final product delivery:
Also, see our blog post on Harneet & Jo’s Chicago Sikh Indian Wedding.
Videography – Infinite Films
DJ and EMCEE – Apna Virsa
Makeup and Hair –