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East Indian Engagement Ceremony

One of the things I love most about photography is meeting new people and learning more about their traditions. A couple of months ago I was asked to photograph an East Indian Engagement Ceremony! I was so excited, since I’ve heard about these ceremonies, but haven’t been able to witness one first hand. I was also secretly hoping that I might be able to sample some delicious Indian cuisine, which I did–another perk of the job!

I’m clearly not an expert about the meaning of every step of the ritual, so I’ll add this link (which obviously is correct since it was the top google hit) in case you’re interested in learning more about how it works and what everything means:
http://www.culturalindia.net/weddings/wedding-rituals/engagement-ceremony.html

For now, I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. Later, I’ll post some pictures from the more traditional engagement session we had the next day!

EngagementCeremony-1So the general gist of the ceremony is that the couple is now officially recognized to be married and the families come together to give the bride and groom gifts. Those circle fabric things handily turn into pouches to hold their loot!EngagementCeremony-2Most importantly (obviously), the bride is given gifts that will prepare her for being a bride (i.e. jewelry and makeup)EngagementCeremony-4 EngagementCeremony-8The family also symbolically give the bride a henna tattoo (though her’s was really done beforehand)
EngagementCeremony-7
EngagementCeremony-9Next comes the exchange of the rings, which are to make sure everyone knows that they’re engaged and off the marketEngagementCeremony-11 EngagementCeremony-12 EngagementCeremony-14 EngagementCeremony-15The whole ceremony was pretty relaxed, in that all the guests were mingling, walking around, and taking pictures during the ceremony–including this adorable little girl!EngagementCeremony-16EngagementCeremony-18Voila! Officially engaged! Thumbs up works in every culture. And so does my super cheesy posing! mwahahahaEngagementCeremony-19Then on to some dancing! Now you can really appreciate all the beautiful fabrics everyone was wearing!EngagementCeremony-22 EngagementCeremony-24 EngagementCeremony-25Kids are always the best dancers!EngagementCeremony-32 EngagementCeremony-27 EngagementCeremony-29 EngagementCeremony-30Congrats! Wish I could tag along and photograph your wedding in India!

Jess Cockburn

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