Weddings around the world: An Asian celebration
21 Sep 2016
European photographer Anete Lusina offers exclusive access in to her colourful and culturally diverse world of weddings. This month's instalment comes from an Asian wedding in Leeds
After having covered European weddings, it came as a colourful, vibrant and unforgettable surprise to have the opportunity of shooting an Asian wedding for the first time.
As a wedding photographer, you should be prepared to improvise and exercise your artistic abilities regardless of the type of the wedding, but even then life sometimes gives you new experiences that you do not know how to prepare for.
The wedding between Zara and Hasnain was held over three days, unlike the more traditional European-style weddings I am used to shooting. The first day saw us celebrating the upcoming union of the beautiful couple, with both families coming together for a party at White Rose in Leeds. Interestingly, the celebrations began quite late, at 7pm. The venue was full of colours, lights and a central stage for the couple to sit on. Filled with exotic fruits and other treats, the edible gifts were served as part of the ceremony, where the family members fed the bride and gave heartwarming well wishes to the couple, not empty-handed, though. Each one of the well-wishers had a monetary gift for the couple.
The dance floor and highly energetic Asian music made everyone join in for a dance, from the youngest ones to the older generation. Furthermore, some family members had specifically prepared a dance for the couple, who enjoyed the show whilst sat on the stage, until the very end when they were convinced to join in on the dance floor. Seeing two families come together and enthusiastically join in on dancing was such a wonderful experience, and it left everyone feeling energised and excited, ready for the next part of this wedding.
The second day was the official union, which was held in an exquisite venue – Great Victoria Hotel in Bradford. The emotions were running high as this was the actual giving away day for the bride’s family. The couple made their entrances separately, with the groom coming in first. As the groom and his party said the prayers, the guests joined in with their silence and respect. The bride’s arrival was highly anticipated, with everyone dazzled by the rich and beautiful colours of Zara’s dress.
It is interesting to see how in this wedding the bride and groom’s family play a major part in the whole day, from giving the bride away from one family to another, to personally coming up to the couple to wish them well in the future, to ensuring the wedding runs smoothly by helping out with the catering and making sure everyone is well fed and happy, including the photographers. When the official part was over, it was time to cut the wedding cake. While the initial first cut is equal to that of British weddings, the follow-up is personally feeding pieces of the wedding cake to the bride and groom’s family members, a very intimate and personal touch that brings both families together.
While the couple enjoyed their wedding day with a room filled of laughter, joy and smiles, the parting at the end of the night was truly emotional. This is the moment when one realises it’s happening, the bride has now been given away and will begin life as a married woman, and form her own new family unit. The tears were running down the bride’s cheeks as she said goodbye to her father, and even the male members of the family shed a tear or two. The night was over, and we all left feeling somewhat sombre, having experienced a major change in two families’ lives.
The third and final day, held at Kilhey Court Hotel in Standish, had a completely different feel to it, with its relaxing and content atmosphere surrounding both the couple and the guests. Having put the official part behind them, the couple was finally able to mingle with the guests in their own time, by personally approaching every single table in the room and having a moment with each one of the guests. And finally, the couple had time for a brief intimate photo shoot – just the two of them, no family or friends around them, just enjoying each other’s company, now as a husband and wife. You could almost feel relief lingering in the air, as the couple, now officially united, enjoyed their evening amongst the guests. The evening was short and sweet, full of thank yous, good wishes, kisses and hugs. A perfect send off for the newly united couple into their new married life.
White Rose, www.whiterosebanqueting.com
Great Victoria, www.victoriabradford.co.uk
Kilhey Court, www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-kilhey-court/