A selection of photos from the multi-day Indian wedding of Supreeta and Jay, including a lavish beach ceremony and ballroom reception at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego. We captured all the rites and rituals of their traditional Sikh ceremony at the San Diego Sikh Gurdwara in Poway, as well as a colorful Sangeet filled with dancing at the San Diego Zoo's Zoofari Party Area.
After capturing Supreeta and Jay’s e-session in San Diego a few months back, I was really excited to reconnect with them again over their three day Indian wedding weekend. It was starting with a Sikh ceremony to honor Supreeta’s beliefs on the Thursday morning at the Sikh Gurdwara Temple in Poway, followed by a lively Musical Night/Sangeet with all their family and friends at the Zoofari Party Area of the San Diego Zoo on the Friday evening.
Then the celebrations finished with a beachfront Hindu wedding at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego on the Saturday to reflect Jay and his family’s religion, followed by a reception party in their glamorous ballroom.
Sikh ceremony photos at San Diego Sikh Gurdwara:
My second photographer and I drove down from Los Angeles early on Wednesday and got settled into our San Diego/Poway area hotel. We were staying in the same place as family and friends from Supreeta’s side of the family who had flown in from Chicago.
Then on Thursday morning, we headed over to where Supreeta was preparing with her entourage and waiting for the horse and carriage to arrive that was going to transport her to the Sikh Gurdwara Temple. I photographed some last minute preparations as her uncles gave her bangles and covered their heads in orange cloths, as well as a portrait of Supreeta looking gorgeous in her pink sari as she sat in the carriage.
Supreeta’s family then made their way through the streets singing and dancing in a Baraat procession to meet Jay’s family, with her dad and brothers leading the way. There was so much color to capture, with everyone dressed beautifully in traditional Indian attire. Supreeta’s brothers then lifted her down from the carriage for her to dance her final steps into the Sikh Gurdwara Temple.
According to Sikh beliefs, everyone must have their head covered (even photographers!) before entering a temple and remove their shoes. So we followed suit as we went indoors to capture the Sikh wedding rites and rituals, with lots of prayers and recitations taking place. Supreeta and Jay sat on the floor at the front of the temple with their guests behind them, with the men seated on one side and the women on the other.
After the official proceedings were complete, I grabbed a couple of portraits of the newly weds outside the Sikh Gurdwara Temple, including one of Jay twirling Supreeta in her stunning sari. The Sikh ceremony was being followed by a casual lunch, marking the end of the first day, which was going to be the shortest of the three.
Musical Night/Sangeet photos at San Diego Zoo:
I met up with Supreeta and Jay in the late afternoon of Day 2 to capture some portraits of them in and around the Zoofari Party Area of San Diego Zoo before their Musical Night/Sangeet began. I captured one of them seated at their traditional Indian sweetheart table and in front of the flamingo enclosure, as well as some of them embracing within the lush palm groves.
The greenery behind really made the colors in their wedding attire “pop”, with Supreeta in a pale blue sari and Jay wearing a peach and yellow sherwani. As part of their package, the San Diego Zoo had some of their animals on display for Supreeta and Jay’s guests to meet, with the children particularly inquisitive. There was also face painting going on in what was a really warm, family vibe.
But the main event was the Musical Night itself, beginning with a grand entrance by Jay and his groomsmen as they danced their way into the Zoofari Party Area, followed by Supreeta and her bridesmaids. The evening kicked off with speeches and toasts from family and friends, before the dancing performances began.
Jay and his family performed an energetic dance for Supreeta, before she responded with her own, followed by a traditional Hawaiian hula performance by the team at San Diego Zoo. They even got some of the men up to try their skills in characteristic Hawaiian dress.
There were then a series of cultural dances from different regions of India, including a stick dance that involved everyone’s participation. The wedding guests lined up to hit their sticks against their partner’s, before it was a free-for-all on the dance floor!
I tried to capture all the movement and energy of Supreeta and Jay’s Musical Night, with an explosion of color against the green turf floor. Then the wedding guests made a long archway with their sticks for Supreeta and Jay to make a grand exit, marking the end of Day 2.
Getting ready photos at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego:
We started the final day early to capture Supreeta and Jay getting ready for the Hindu wedding at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego. I photographed Supreeta as she made her final preparations, with her bridesmaids assisting with her gorgeous red sari and jewelry, then captured a first look with her obviously very proud dad.
After a few portraits of the bride in her suite at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego, including a creative, reflective shot against the window, we headed downstairs to the gardens where the first look with Jay was going to take place.
Pre-Hindu ceremony portraits at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego:
I photographed Supreeta as she walked up to her groom, who was also dressed spectacularly in traditional Indian bridal attire, and captured his reaction at seeing her looking so amazing. Then I grabbed some romantic portraits as they walked hand-in-hand along the garden walking trails, with the green of the palms being a perfect backdrop against the red in their outfits.
Hindu ceremony at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego:
After some bridal party portraits with their ten bridesmaids and groomsmen, it was time for the Baraat ceremony to begin. Jay rode on horseback along the beachfront of the Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego, accompanied by his family and friends, with curious onlookers soaking up this colorful sight. There was plenty of dancing and Indian traditions taking place, with friends and family diving to get Jay’s shoes and Supreeta’s mom playfully trying to pinch his nose.
Supreeta and Jay’s Hindu wedding at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego was being held right on the sands, with the mandap stage backed by the Pacific Ocean. We were actually quite lucky with the weather, with cloudy skies resulting in even diffuse lighting that allowed the colors to stand out.
Jay was covered by a cloth as his bride made her way down the aisle, carried on a palanquin by her brothers. They were then revealed to one another and the priest led the proceedings, with a lot of jokes and humor thrown in. I captured both close-up shots and reactions as the Hindu rites and rituals took place, as well as a wide-angle shot looking across the ceremony site. I photographed as female relatives came up to whisper things in Supreeta’s ear and the row of groomsmen watching on proudly, as well as the reactions of both sets of parents as they witnessed their children getting married.
After the dads embraced to mark the end of the ceremony, Supreeta and Jay made their joyous recessional walk down the aisle as “husband and wife”. While this marked the end of the official proceedings, the newly married couple, their parents and priest then went into a small conference room for some quiet prayers.
Meanwhile, Supreeta and Jay’s guests were boarding a three story boat for lunch, which was docked right near the ceremony site. After the newly weds had finished their prayers, they too jumped aboard a speedboat and waved goodbye to their guests as they sped out across the water.
Post-Hindu ceremony portraits at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego:
Everyone had a couple of hours to relax, before we met up with Supreeta and Jay at the Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego for some more portraits before their reception began. They had both changed outfits, with Supreeta in an elegant navy blue sari and Jay in a classy white jacket and black pants. I captured portraits in the gardens of the Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego and down on the beach overlooking the marina where their wedding ceremony had taken place.
Reception photos at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego:
Then the couple danced their way into the reception, which was being held in the grand ballroom of the Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego. Their first dance was followed by speeches and toasts from Supreeta’s parents before a father-daughter dance while Jay watched on from his sweetheart lounge.
Then it was Jay’s family’s turn, with speeches and toasts followed by the mother-son dance. In Sangeet-style, there were also a few dance performances by family and friends, before Supreeta and Jay surprised their guests with a song. Towards the end of the evening, clouds of balloons were released from the ceiling onto the dance floor and everyone let loose. Glow sticks illuminated this party, which was a fitting way to end what had been an incredible three days.
Wedding photos at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego:
I really can’t thank Supreeta and Jay enough for selecting Aevitas to capture their wedding at Bahia Resort Hotel San Diego. It was such a privilege to spend time with their families and friends and witness the traditional wedding rituals from their Sikh and Hindu faiths. I know that they are off to Bali for their honeymoon and wish them an incredible time and all the happiness in their married life together.