The golden sunrise reflected so elaborately on Atlanta’s own, all-white BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple as Meha climbed up its stairs to see Hari for the first time. It was the morning of their wedding day… and to see the two in red-and-gold set against the clean and sacred backdrop is like a feast to both the eyes and soul.
Having lived in Atlanta for 15+ years, it was our first time discovering this hidden gem – apparently the largest Hindu temple of its kind outside of India. Made out of imported Italian Carrara marble, Turkish limestone, and Indian pink sandstone, it took more than 1300 craftsmen and 900 volunteers to put it together. To say that we were in awe of the temple’s glorious beauty is the understatement of the year.
After their first look – which involved a special hand-drawn cartoon by Mr. Trivedi that triggered radiant giggles out of his future wife – we got ready for their Baraat. We shoot enough South Asian weddings to expect a decorated horse ready to go – but Mr. Trivedi is not your typical groom. What we found instead was a black-and-yellow Georgia Tech firetruck big enough to hold the entire wedding party!
Another “first” for us was the Vidaai ceremony. In accordance to Hindu traditions, this ceremony symbolizes the final stage of the wedding when the bride’s family bid her adieu as she leaves and starts a new life with her husband. Witnessing this moment through our cameras was really unforgettable as tears were flowing – both out of joy and sorrow – and respects were paid by Meha to her parents and elderly relatives. Not to miss out on the fun, Meha’s younger relatives also took part in blocking their getaway car. The idea is for Hari to ask for their permission to “whisk” Meha away… and these ladies sure did not make it easy for him!
Hari and Meha – thank you for including us at the start of your exciting journey as man and wife. Hope you enjoy these pictures and get to relive these moments for years to come :)