The groom arrived mid-morning on Day 2 of Parin & Shiragi’s wedding. (See DAY 1 here) and the atmosphere was ripe and welcoming. Shiragi, by tradition, was hid by the brothers and men closest to her pretended to keep her and make it rough to get to her. I legitimately teared up when they finally hugged. 24 hours of pre-celebrating without him had made everybody so eager for his arrival and for them to finally be together.
Now that both families were together, the time melded together into the flurry of family laughter, reunions, everybody wanted a picture with a loved one ALL the time. it was awesome. Pulling away to get a few quick portraits with the bride and groom became less about what time it was and more about how sneaky we could be. It became a game…lots of intuitive eye contact with Shiragi and Parin and keeping a pulse on family. We also had to be fast both because relatives would start hunting us down AND because it was the first triple digit day in the desert and we were SWEATING bullets.
As Parin and his family collected onto the terrace of Westward Look, the music and dancing began and ushered everybody into an energetic and playful Pithi ceremony while they blessed and prayed and laughed over Parin. Best moment was when aunts got fiesty and demanded he strip down and the haldi got crazy. Mom and dad got flanked too. It was fantastic.
There was an interlude in the afternoon for reprieve, showers and primping for the Raas Garba (i.e. the coolest, loudest, most vibrant dance party you’ll ever go to). Once refreshed and ready, we grabbed some moments alone with the couple for a few sunshine desert portraits…and of course a cohort of friends insisted on coming to cat call and join in :)
There is a an indian art form called rangoli where a relative or loved one created an intricate pattern drawn by hand an then filled with powdered rice, flower petals, chalk powder and coloured sand. It’s a form of blessing and expression of celebration. A close relative of the bride and groom was interior designer, Nisha Tailor Interior Designer, who lovingly shared her heart and her art in these designs all over Westward Look’s property. Her particularly eye-catching peacock piece was center stage in the massive ballroom for the Raas Garba.
During cocktail hour and through the evening, our photography team took turns running an open air personalized photo booth. It was a fantastic way to be part of the welcoming experience for guests. We got to meet each couple, take more portraits, connect personally and were welcomed warmly.
MM Celebrations LLC was ON FIRE all weekend long. The event design and planning company from New Jersey had driven in a massive UHAUL cross-country packed with all the treasures to transform each ceremony into an explosion of festivity. Raas Garba was said to be a crowning jewel of color and dancing for the weekend so we came with energy drinks, extra manpower and eye wide open. Santosh flew a band of famous musicians from India for the weekend and they treated guests with lively music until midnight. Sticks were passed out as part of the traditional dance, Dandiya Raas, and EVERYBODY got in on it — old and young — men and women. The energy (and sweat) and fun in that room took “how to celebrate” to a whole new level. Here is a little youtube clip of the BEGINNING of their 45 minute Raas where two circles are formed and start with a first dance of bride and groom. If you can imagine all 400+ guests ending up in that room, dancing in circles faster and faster for 45 minutes.
Midnight came quickly and the party did not peter.
Day 3 coming soon :)
// VENDORS //
Venue: Westward Look Wydnham Resort Tucson // Photography: Laura K Moore Photography // Videography: Fine Art Productions // Event Design & Decor: MM Celebrations LLC // Grah Shanti, Mehendi, and Garba Hair and Makeup: Blushed by Ish // Wedding Hair and Makeup: Makiaj Beauty // Wedding and Grah Shanti Outfit: Ekaya // Reception Outfit: Shyamal and Bhumika // Garba Outfit: Swati Manish // Parfum: Valentino // Shoes: “a random stall in india” // Reception Flats: Keds // Rangoli & Other Design Details: Nisha Tailor Interior Designer // Tesla: Turo // Famous Singer & Band: Bhavin Shastri & Group // Famous Flutist- Anis Chandani // Famous Female Vocalist: Dhara Shah // Famous male singer- Dharmesh Chauhan