Sarah.chiragIt’s always a treat for me to photograph weddings outside of my own faith, and Hindu weddings are one of my favorites for a couple of reasons.  First, I really like to photograph bright, vibrant color (done!).  Secondly, the ceremony style tends to be more relaxed which allows us to get a little closer and some different angels.  I could go on, but Sarah was kind enough to share her wedding planning experience with us, so please read on! From Sarah:

My fiancé and I had recently moved from New York to west Texas when we started planning our wedding. Unhappy with the country theme in Midland, we explored Austin for possible venues.  We weren’t exactly sure what type of venue we wanted, knowing that we wanted to have a Hindu-American blended wedding (my husband is Indian). The Winfield Inn was our last appointment for our weekend trip to Austin, and as soon as we saw the gorgeous house-we were sold. Looking on their website, they also had hosted another Indian wedding, so we felt confident they could handle our needs. Living 5 hours away, it was extremely helpful when they gave us a list of vendors they had worked with in the past and recommended. After doing our own research, we chose all but one vendor from that list.

Although there were several photographers recommended, the Winfield Inn thought Mike Reed would be perfect for our unique wedding. We could instantly see why from his online portfolio. His photos are so vibrant, and he can capture the true emotion of the moment. Mike was amazing and so accommodating for us. Being that we lived so far away, we actually shot our engagement photos 4 days before our wedding! During that short turn-around time, Mike worked his magic and was able to get us a few of the engagement photos to show off at the wedding. During the shoot, he encouraged us to act natural. Of course, it was awkward at first (both of us are camera shy), but it wasn’t long before we became comfortable. Mike wanted to make sure we get the shots I wanted, so before the wedding day, I was able to send him over a list of the family shots I really wanted, along with various, random sentimental shots (I really wanted a picture of my perfume bottle, as I had saved it since I was a little girl!). On the big day, it was nice to have two people, Mike and his assistant Barbara, so we could get multiple angles and be time efficient. As I started getting a little (okay, a lot) nervous having my hair and makeup done, Barbara was so calm and confident, which helped me calm down. During the ceremony, I didn’t even see Mike, which was something that was important to me. I didn’t want a photographer blocking the view for my guests or in my face taking me out of the moment. About half way through the reception, he pulled us away to do some night time shots. After we were done, Mike told us to take a few minutes to be by ourselves. It was so perfect, we could hear all of our friends and families in the ballroom, but taking that moment to be alone with my new husband is something I will always cherish.

Of course, our wedding wasn’t complete without some hitches. There was an accident that caused everyone (vendors and guests) to be 45 minutes late. During the ceremony, I assumed the priest would speak English because my entire family is from America, and my husband only lived in India for a short while. So not only did we not really understand what he was saying, he didn’t stick to the program that I had spent hours on researching and making.

I think the most important decision we made to ensure our wedding day was successful was choosing the venue. They were able to help with choosing vendors, planning, and keep the timeline of the day. Make sure to look at everything the venue has to offer (ours offered catering, gratuity, linens, chairs, tables) when looking at the total cost.  Be confident in your vendors, you pay them a lot of money for their expertise, but don’t be afraid to ask them about other aspects of your wedding. These people work in the industry and have a lot of knowledge. Enjoy your big day, laugh at the hiccups, and remember what’s most important-the love between you and your (new) husband!

Special shout out to Joel at Greenbelt DJ for keeping the dance floor moving!