Friday, April 4, 2014

An Engagement Fit for a Princess

Last night my 2nd shooter, Lakna, and I went to photograph a Muslim engagement at one of the 5-star hotels in Colombo. We began the photography at the salon, which didn’t thrill either of us, as the background at the salon was a bit plain. We did get some nice shots of the bride, but we were waiting until we got to the hotel to get the really good ones.
Typically, the bride-to-be stays in the hotel room and her mother, father and in this case, brother and friends came up to see her and wish her well. This bride also had 5 uncles who came up to say hello! Fun group of men. Although it was a 5-star hotel with beautiful gardens, the bride must stay in the room so that no one besides family and best friends can see her. This makes photography a bit dicey as tables, chairs, lamps and the bed are all in the way of good shots. Which is why we usually end up rearranging the room.
Our bride had on a shocking pick lehenga (long skirt with a tight-fitting top with sleeves) with lots and lots of zirconium work that made it sparkle like the Milky Way. Her hands and feet had the traditional Mehindi art, done with henna paste. I was told by one previous bride that her groom-to-be initials were hidden in her artwork and that in order to ‘mess around’ on their wedding night, he’d first have to find the initials! Since this was an engagement of women only, my bride did not have her husband to be initials hidden in the Mehindi! Definitely not something this bride would do.
Since Lakna takes the detail shots I won’t get them until Tuesday when I see her next, so I’m going to post some of what I have that won’t show the bride’s face. I must say though that the décor, done by Joan Forbes, was just precious. The throne consisted of a bejeweled carriage and everything had a princess crown topping it – floral arrangements, the cake, even the centerpieces on each table. And all the flowers, lots of pink roses, were fresh. Some weddings use silk flowers and they just don’t hold a candle to fresh ones. The gifts that the groom’s family gave the bride's family were all placed on table-sized gold carriages. The elegance of the gifts was mind-boggling. Besides tons of chocolate, fruit and nuts, there were at least 8 bejeweled saris, with matching shoes and bangles and purses. My mouth was agape, as I looked them over.
The crowd was super friendly and happy - and beautifully dressed. When photographing the groups of different family members, I like to trick the women who are fully covered in black. I take one photo, telling everyone to smile. And then I point to the covered lady and point my finger saying, ‘You didn’t smile!’ As if I could tell! It always makes her and everyone else laugh and puts everyone at ease.
Lakna and I started at the salon at 6PM and the function at the hotel finished at midnight. We had such a good time, that time just flew by and before we knew it we had photographed all the family members and friends and of course, had tons of gorgeous photos of the bride (which of course, you can’t see – sorry!)

The bride's Mehindi'd hands resting on her lehenga.

It's the small details that count.

The princess crown topping
each fresh flower bouquet.

Close up.

At each table. I liked the lights of the
chandelier above the crown.

The cake amidst the gift tables.

Some of the spectacular saris.

Life-sized cake with crown!

The lehenga and all its glitter.

Another tower bouquet.

Pretty in pink.

The gold and diamond tali (wedding necklace)
that the groom's family gives to the bride.

Some of the flowers.

More flowers.

 Part of the carriage that held the gifts.

A little darling up on the throne.

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