Washington Duke Inn Wedding Double Take. Let me first apologize for the length of this post. This wedding was, well, huge! It had two ceremonies, two receptions and so many elements that made it impossible to do it an injustice and cut it short. This Washington Duke Inn Wedding featured a gorgeous bride & groom, a traditional Hindu Wedding Ceremony, a Jewish Wedding Ceremony and two receptions. Everything got started on the Friday before with Gita (the bride) at her parents house with all her bridesmaids having a Henna party. This is where the Henna artist applies the beautiful artwork using a pigment that stains the skin. This was the first time I have seen Henna tattooing being done so it was fascinating to me and I was really happy to have the opportunity to photograph it.
On Saturday, I met the bride at the Washington Duke Inn for their wedding ceremonies. The Hindu ceremony was first and as all the ladies prepared, I felt like I was in the middle of a tornado! Don’t get me wrong, I am used to being in the middle of a flurry of activity, but with the beautiful and vibrant colors, around 12 people in the room and all the ceremonial accoutrement with a Hindu Wedding, I almost went into photography overload. So many wonderful photographs to be taken. Anyway, before I digress, with the ladies in their final stages of wedding preparations, I headed over to the groom’s room where Twix bars and jokes were the orders of the day. In stark contrast to teh flurry of activity in the Bride’s room, David and the guys were relaxing and David only looked slightly nervous about his upcoming ride on a horse for the Barat.
We all headed downstairs and into the Washington Duke Inn parking lot for the Barat (Hindu wedding element where the groom rides a horse to meet the brides family surrounded by his family and friends). As we made our way thru the parking lot, everyone was singing, dancing and, well, just making great photography moments for me! Of course it wasn’t for me, but I certainly took advantage of it. Once David had dismounted and gone inside, more traditions followed. I will have to let the images speak for themselves on this because I don’t want to get the names and meanings wrong. Either way, it was a beautiful entrance and from here everyone entered into the ceremony room. After the exchanging of wreaths, everyone sat under a beautiful Mandap (Made by JW Walton) and the ceremony began. The bride’s parents are very involved in Hindu ceremonies so they also sat in with Gita & David while coconuts, flower petals and other items were exchanged. After the Hindu ceremony ended, we got a few quick formals then back up to the room to change for the Jewish ceremony.
Back downstairs for the Jewish ceremony, the couple signed the Ketubah (a marriage agreement of sorts) and then started the Jewish wedding ceremony. With the exchange of the rings, the smashing of the glass and, of course, a big “Mavel Tov” from everyone at the wedding, we ran outside for more formals and some one-on-one time with the now twice married couple while their guests enjoyed their cocktail hour.
Once into the wedding reception (which if you haven’t been to a Washington Duke Inn Wedding, is something everyone should experience), things got started immediately by a dancing entrance by the wedding party then into the first dance. For being a big guy, I think I blended in pretty well because I got some of my favorite candids during Gita & David’s first dance. I want to talk more about the reception food but first, I would need a dictionary and, second, I could write another two pages. Let’s just say it was fantastic! After the toasts, cake cutting and bouquet toss, I think every wedding guest was out on the dance floor helping the happy couple celebrate their wedding. Even though it felt like it could go on until the morning, the evening eventually came to a close and the lovely couple exited to a flower toss (of which I had to include two photos – as one is just hilarious) and the evening came to a close.
Gita & David – It has been a real honor to work with you and I hope you enjoy your wedding photos!
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