Indian Wedding Photo Story

Part 3: Hindu Ceremony on The Beach in Aruba

Hindu Wedding Photos & Documentary Style Wedding Photography

Indian wedding ceremonies are amazing. As professional wedding photographers and documentary style storytellers, we LOVE photographing Hindu weddings.  South Asian and Indian weddings have such robust character and flare. The colors are rich, the textures and layers are dramatic, the aromas and flavors are mesmerizing. In addition, the symbology of every ritual, every flower petal and adornment, and each moment are imbued with deep historical and cultural meaning. 

Hindu weddings are built around family and community, which contribute to many passionate and emotional moments of connection and compassion. This makes our work as documentarians and journalistic style wedding photographers perfectly matched to the complexity and beauty of Indian wedding celebrations.

Our wedding photography team had so much fun creating this photo story for Sachin and Nitu’s destination wedding at the Hilton Aruba Resort in the Caribbean. We hope you enjoy the photos as much as we do. This post (Part 3) is the story of the wedding day. 

Our team began photography at 5am with getting ready and finished up around 1am the following day. That’s a 20-hour shoot day! This particular post includes: getting ready, the first look, the baraat, a full Hindu wedding ceremony on the beach under a glorious pink Mandap, and a gorgeous and emotional Vidaii ceremony. 

This part 3 in a four part series about an amazing destination Indian wedding photography story on the Caribbean island of Aruba. Click any of the links below to jump to a different post in this series. 

Getting Ready Photos for a Hindu Wedding

After an amazing welcome party the night before, everyone is up early on the wedding day. The bridal suite is abuzz with anticipation as Nitu and her bridesmaids prepare for the ceremony and the many Hindu wedding traditions planned for the day. Everyone looks amazing and the energy in the room makes for some really beautiful and delicate moments that become gorgeous photos of getting ready. Nitu is wearing an ornate red and gold lengha with intricate gold jewlery and bangles adorning her arms. Of course no Indian bride is complete without henna painting – Nitu’s hands, arms and feet are adorned with exquisite mehndi art that tells a beautiful story of her love for Sachin (see images below). 

 

Indian wedding bride getting ready putting bracelets on her wrists. She is in her wedding dress and her hands are adorned with traditioanal henna painting. A professional wedding photography story by Drew Bird at the Hilton Aruba resort.

“Drew! We are in awe of the photos you captured!!! We are so grateful to have you be part of our wedding story. You captured our friends and family so honestly and beautifully.”

– Sachin & Nitu

Indian groom getting ready in a hotel suite at the Hilton Aruba resort for a Hindu wedding ceremony on the beach. Professional wedding photography by SF Bay Area photographer Drew Bird who specializes in Indian destination wedding photography.

“Your photos are MAGIC and take us right back to Aruba and one of the best weeks of our lives. We are forever grateful for your contribution to our wedding story and the amazing photographs.”

– Sachin & Nitu

The bride in her vibrant red Hindu wedding dress walks along a path amongst tropical palm trees and a flowing creek for an Indian wedding photography session and the first look at the Hilton Aruba resort in the Caribbean by destination wedding photographer Drew Bird.
Indian wedding bride and groom embrace for the first look session at the Hilton Aruba resort in the Caribbean. The photo is creatively framed with blurred out palm leaves in the foreground for a Hindu destination wedding photography story by SF photographer Drew Bird.
A close up photo of an Indian bride, in full traditional Hindu wedding attire and jewlery and henna painting, with her arms around the groom with their noses almost touching for an Indian wedding photography session on the beach in Aruba.
The entire wedding party with bride, groom, groomsmen, and bridesmaid stand together for a group portrait in front of a palm tree forest. They are all wearing traditional Hindu wedding attire for an Indian wedding ceremony on the beach at the Hilton Aruba resort in the Caribbean by SF photographer Drew Bird.

Hindu Wedding Traditions: The Baraat and the Milni Ceremony

The Baraat is one of the most interesting traditions at Hindu weddings. The groom and his groomsmen undertake a literal (and metaphorical) journey over some significant distance to arrive at the ceremony site. Historically, the Baraat has its origins in the fact that the groom and his family would often travel from one village to the bride’s village prior to the wedding. Sachin and his close friends traveled via a private sailboat to a marina dock half a mile away from the ceremony site. Once on dry land, they were met by a hundred of their friends and family. What followed was a lively parade with music, dancing, celebration, and singing. (See photos below)

During Indian weddings, the Baraat is a celebratory wedding procession meant to deliver the groom to the wedding venue while also boosting the energy and excitement of the wedding. Once at the wedding ceremony site on the beach at the Hilton Aruba Resort, Sachin and his family were introduced to Nitu’s parents during a beautiful Milni ceremony. The Hindi word “Milan’ is derived from a Sanskrit expression meaning “a coming together” – and this joining of two families is the deep significance of the Milni ceremony. Nitu’s parents blessed Sachin with rose water and offered him a Shagun, a token of good luck. 

An Indian groom in full Hindu wedding attire is lifted and carried on the shoulders of his friends in a crowded celebratory parade. This is part of the baraat ceremony as the groom and his friends travel to the Indian wedding ceremony site on the beach at the Hilton Aruba resort in the Caribbean by SF Photographer Drew Bird. This is a gorgeous documentary style wedding photo of an Indian wedding ceremony.

“Drew works diligently to integrate into whatever scene he’s photographing in a way I’ve never seen before from any other destination wedding photographer. Drew and his team blended in seamlessly and became part of our family. And the photos are so damn good!!”

–  Carmen & Barrett, destination Wedding Clients (View Story Here)

“Indian wedding ceremonies are amazing. As professional wedding photographers, we LOVE photographing Hindu weddings.  South Asian weddings have such expressive character. The colors are rich, the textures and layers are dramatic, the aromas and flavors are mesmerizing. In addition, the symbology of every ritual, every flower petal and adornment, and each moment are imbued with deep historical and cultural meaning. This makes our work as documentarians and journalistic style wedding photographers perfectly matched to the complexity and beauty of Indian wedding celebrations.”

–  Drew Bird, SF Bay Area Wedding Photographer for Indian and South Asian Weddings

A detail photo of the stage, pink mandap, floral arrangements, and wedding seats with matching pink covers on the sand with the turquoise ocean and blue skies in the background for a Hindu wedding ceremony on the beach at the Hilton Aruba Resort in the Caribbean by Indian wedding phpotographer Drew Bird.

The Hilton Aruba Resort is a magnificent venue for Indian weddings - and really, any destination wedding. The beachfront property has incredible outdoor spaces for welcome parties and beach wedding ceremonies. It's a dreamscape for professional wedding photographers.

An Indian bride in her traditional Hindu wedding dress is carried on the shoulders of her family to the Mandap at the beginning of the wedding ceremony on the beach at the tropical Hilton Aruba resort in the Caribbean by Indian wedding photographer, Drew Bird.
A gorgeous wide angle photo from far away showing the pink mandap on the beach amongst towering tropical palm trees set against a brilliant blue sky background at the Hilton Aruba Resort in the Caribbean by Indian wedding photographer Drew Bird.
During a Hindu wedding ceremony on the beach, the bride and groom see each other for the first time as the antarpat - also called the varmala or jaimala, which is a white sheet that prevents the couple from seeing each other, is raised. The couple are holding hands and their family are standing in the background crying, laughing, and clapping. The white sheet symbolizes the two families being separate, lifting the sheet symbolizes the families being joined together. A destination Indian wedding photography story at the Hilton Aruba resort in the Caribbean by SF photographer Drew Bird.

"Empathy, intuition, and responsiveness to the story unfolding are the documentary wedding photographer's guiding principles. We will create a visual story of your Indian wedding built by artistically capturing genuine and real moments. Many years from now, these are the photos that will remind you of what your wedding day felt like.”

–  Drew Bird, SF Bay Area Photographer specializing in hindu and indian weddings

Bride and groom walk under a pink Mandap around a ceremonial fire with blue sky and ocean in the background for a Hindu Indian wedding ceremony on the beach at the Hilton Aruba resort by professional wedding photographer Drew Bird
Bride and groom toss rice into an open fire under a pink Mandap with blue sky and ocean in the background for a Hindu Indian wedding ceremony on the beach at the Hilton Aruba resort by professional wedding photographer Drew Bird.
The Indian bride and groom stand on the beach at the water's edge holding hands for an artistic wedding portrait after their Hindu wedding ceremony on the beach at the Hilton Aruba Resort by SF photographer Drew Bird who specializes in wedding photography for Indian weddings.
A group family portrait of a Hindu wedding couple and their family under a pink mandap on the beach with the ocean in the background following an Indian wedding ceremony at the Hilton Aruba resort in the Caribbean by SF photographer Drew Bird who specializes in documentary style Indian wedding photography.

Hindu Wedding Traditions: The Vadaii Ceremony

After the beach wedding ceremony at the Hilton Aruba Resort, Sachin and Nitu were joined by their closest friends and family for the Vadaii Ceremony. The Vadaii is a gathering during which the families say goodbye to the bride and groom as they depart to begin their new life together. For Nitu and her family this was a very emotional ceremony with tears of joy and sadness. (Photos below). 

According to Hindu tradition, women are a manifestation of the Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity. During the Vadaii the bride will normally throw a handful of rice and coins over her head back to her family as she leaves the ceremony site. This symbolizes a repayment to her parents for all that they have given her throughout her life and it communicates good wishes for her parents and there household. 

At the end of the Vadaii, Sachin and Nitu moved towards a Bentley, decorated and adorned for the occasion for the final farewell. The groomsmen stand behind the car to help push the vehicle, symbolizing their acceptance of the new marriage and the couple’s voyage together. (Photos below). Meanwhile, the bridesmaids and other women stand in front of the car pushing back and preventing the car from departing. Sachin offers the women gifts as a showing of his value and sincerity. After receiving the gifts, the bridesmaids move and allow the car to depart. 

 

During the Vidiaa ceremony the bride embraces both of her sisters for a group hug. One of her sisters has tears in her eyes and the bride's parents are blurred out in the foreground during this Hindu wedding ceremony tradition. The moment is artistically and genuinely captured as a documentary style wedding photo by SF photographer Drew Bird who specializes in Indian and South Asian weddings. This is a destination Indian wedding in Aruba.

This part 3 in a four part series about an amazing Hindu and South Asian destination wedding in Aruba, Caribbean. Click the following links to jump to any other post in the series:

Part 1 is an epic adventure photo session we did with Sachin and Nitu all over the island of Aruba.
Part 2 is the Indian Wedding Welcome Party at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort.
Part 3 is the Indian and Hindu Wedding ceremony on the beach at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort.
Part 4 is the evening wedding reception Tierra Del Sol on the island of Aruba.

**All photos in this post by Drew and Stan for Drew Bird Photography. Special help from Emily, our Photo Assistant. Emily saved our lives. This was a 4 day wedding celebration. On the wedding day alone (Part 3) we photographed for over 20hrs of photography in a single day. During the middle of the day and the Hindu wedding ceremony on the beach, temperatures exceeded 95F. Emily brought us ice cold towels to wrap around our necks. This literally saved our lives. 

Drew Bird is recognized as one of the top 20 wedding photographers in California and one of the top 100 Destination Wedding Photographers in the world by the Wedding Photojournalist Association. Drew and his team specialize in professional wedding photography for Indian weddings, Hindu weddings, and South Asian weddings. He is currently based in Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area and creates destination wedding photography stories for clients world-wide. Get in touch with Drew. Visit our FAQ page

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Such lovely work! I’m so drawn into the energy of the people and the connection and the colors. I think it’s amazing the way you capture these incredible moments in a way that makes me feel like I’m part of the action. These are easily some of the most impressive and unique wedding photos I’ve ever seen.

OMG – can’t believe you photographed for 20 hours on the wedding day. Really fun photos tho ; )