17 : Vik and Becky
The First Take:
Pushing the door open, I entered the room where the Christian wedding ceremony was being held, the metallic clicks of the door drawing the attention of everyone in the room. As I set up my camera gear, it was impossible to move about the room like a sleuth. The room was so silent that every photo I took attracted the immediate attention of the subjects. Guests were quietly entering the room, sitting in their neat little rows, and talking in hushed tones. Becky’s brother (the officiant for the Christian wedding), the groom, and the groomsmen took their places at the front of the room. Just as the anticipation/tension in the room reached a peak, the best man broke the silence by initiating a final unmarried selfie with Vik. Laughter rippled through the group, before the attention shifted to the back of the room. Everyone stood up in respectful preparation of Becky’s arrival.
The Second Take
By the time I returned to the room, chairs had been re-arranged in a circle around the centre of the room. The focal point was a small fire, permissible only after much discussion with the event co-ordinator, but deemed virtually necessary by Hindu tradition. Guests were taking their seats and engaging in energetic conversation, before switching seats with someone across the room. Luckily for me, one aunty was kind enough to pull me aside right before the ceremony and explain that this ceremony would be different, that people would be talking and moving around the room throughout. I embraced this layered chaos in my photos, capturing not only the progression of events, but also the community that was gathered to celebrate Vik and Becky’s wedding. As Vik entered the inner circle he was greeted by his parents. A few minutes later Becky entered the room with her family, was greeted by Vik and his family before the two exchanged the tali, ritual flower garlands.
Although there is a general flow and traditions that are followed, there is no standard list of absolute must-dos for a wedding. My favourite part about weddings is witnessing two people come together to merge their traditions. This was particularly palpable at Vik and Becky’s wedding because of the differences between the Christian and Hindu traditions. But despite the differences of the orientation of the room, the ambient noise amongst the guests, and the clothing that was worn, there are a surprising number of similarities. During the Christian ceremony, the bride’s father leads her up the aisle and gives her away; in the Hindu ceremony this is called the Kanyadaan, when the father gives away the daughter and joins in the ceremony. During the Hindu ceremony the bride and groom choose to hold hands in front of the fire to symbolise their union, the Panigrahana; in the Christian ceremony, the bride and groom join hands as the officiant says a blessing joining them together. During both ceremonies the bride and groom make vows to each other: in the Christian tradition they each repeat a small speech after the officiant, in the Hindu tradition this takes the form of taking seven steps around the fire, the Saptapadi, with each step including a promise to each other.
This diverse medley of traditions meant that I took an incredible number of photos at this wedding. Enjoy the scrolls.
Location: Banff, AB
Date: July 24, 2014
Equipment: Canon 5diii, Canon 40d, Canon 24-105mm, Canon 35mm, Canon 70-200mm, Canon 50mm, Canon 580EX
A winter walk through Old Strathcona with Judy and Andrew.
This article about Wedding Photography was written by the Montreal-based portrait and wedding photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle.