Dockside Darling Harbour Hindu Wedding – Part 1

If you got a chance to check out the photos from Niru and Charlie’s pre-wedding celebrations, then you’ve already gotten a glimpse of all the fun we got to photograph over this awesome wedding long weekend. One thing became clear over the course of the festivities: Niru and Charlie’s families were just over the moon for them. Everyone exuded complete joy for these two. There was singing, there was dancing, there were bear hugs, and more excitement than could be blamed on account of all the sweets. Jeff and I agree that being amongst this sort of joy has become one of our absolute favourite things about being wedding photographers. I just love it when you can feel the happiness and hope that both families have for the bride and groom. Sometimes you can feel the enthusiasm in the air at the hotel in the morning, even when the bridesmaids started getting ready at 2:45am. Sometimes it comes through in the speeches that make half the guests teary-eyed. Sometimes you see it in the families’ eyes during the ceremony, or in their energy as they jump on the dance floor. I love it when families are not just excited about the couple joining together, but about the two families coming together themselves. Whether they believe it was destiny or just some amazing good luck, they couldn’t imagine the bride and groom any happier. Maybe Charlie’s friend saw something when, after Charlie’s first awkward introduction to Niru in university, he turned to Charlie and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if she was the one you ended up with?”

Niru and Charlie have family spread across two cities, Sydney and Brisbane, so they decided to celebrate in both locations! Stay with us for a big three-part peek into Niru and Charlie’s beautiful traditional Hindu wedding ceremony and swank Brisbane reception.

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The big day began for all before the sun was even up, to make sure that crucial aspects of Niru and Charlie’s ceremony happened at the auspicious hour of 11am. We welcomed the sun as we watched it come up from our high-rise vantage point. Niru’s henna looked amazing!

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Niru chose a vibrant magenta, yellow and orange sari for the first part of the day. What stunning colours!

Sydney bride getting ready at Meriton apartments Sydney

The lovely Fareha from New Look Beauty did Niru’s henna at her Mehndi night as well as her hair and makeup for the wedding day. Didn’t she look gorgeous?!

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Niru had many beautiful adornments attached to her hair to complete her elaborate bridal look.

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Meanwhile, Charlie was getting ready across town. In Hindu tradition, Charlie’s family members dressed him for his wedding day.

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At the ceremony venue, Dockside Darling Harbour, a joyous extended wedding processional known as a Baraat ensued! The groom’s family members and friends danced their way to the beat of the drums all the way to the ceremony site.

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Everyone really got into the fun!

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Darling Harbour Dockside Hindu wedding dancing procession

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When the groom approached the door, he was welcomed by all the smiling guests who gathered around.

Niru’s family gave Charlie a warm welcome, sprinkled him with rose water and presented him with a garland. Charlie also gifted a ring to his new brother-in-law.

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The ceremony musician played the Nadaswaram, a classical Indian wind instrument considered to be highly auspicious. The room was filled with the sounds and with the smoke from the burning flames as offerings were made to various deities.

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The ceremony space, or Mandap, was richly decorated with coconuts and other fruits, flowers, and many ceremonial items.

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With the guests seated, it was time for the main ceremony to begin. While this was not the first Hindu wedding Jeff and I have attended, it was the first full-length, fully traditional ceremony we have photographed. We’re no experts on all the intricacies that take place over a three-hour Hindu ceremony, and there were so many beautiful little moments, but I’ll try my best to provide some insight for those of you reading who are less familiar with these ancient traditions.

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First, the priest led Charlie and his future brother-in-law through a prayer to Lord Ganesha, asking for blessings and a trouble-free wedding.

Sydney Hindu wedding mandap at Darling Harbour

The music, the chanting, the smoke from the candles and the sun streaming through the windows felt so magical. It fills me with awe to imagine how all these rich rituals must have evolved over thousands of years.

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An auspicious thread was tied on Charlie’s wrist, and women from Charlie’s family placed nine grains in a pot of soil, a ritual symbolic of the germination of human life.

Then it was time for the moment everyone had been waiting for. Niru’s lovely bridesmaids led the procession…

In came our bride, looking absolutely radiant!

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The priest led more prayers and the bride’s family broke a coconut, considered a sacred fruit in Hindu culture.

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Niru and Charlie’s parents joined them in the Mandap for one of the most important rituals of the morning, the giving away of the bride. The parents greeted each other as the priest chanted a mantra.

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Emotions ran high when it came time for Niru’s father to quite literally give her hand in marriage to Charlie. Some beautiful moments ensued…

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As Charlie took Niru’s hands in his, he pledged to love and protect her throughout her life.

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The wedding garlands, along with Niru’s other wedding sari, were taken around to the guests for their blessings.

Wedding garlands being blessed by guests at Dockside Hindu wedding SydneyHindu wedding garlands being blessed by family at ceremony

It was time for Niru to change into her newly blessed wedding sari and for Niru and Charlie to officially become husband and wife. Check back soon for Part 2 of this beautiful marriage, their lunch reception, sunset portraits, and more! Friends and family of Niru and Charlie, leave a comment for the happy couple below and let us know what you think of the photos! We’ll notify commenters when the full gallery of images is ready to view online.

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