I joined Subo and Chris for their wedding days, spread across a long weekend in London. You can read about day one and check out their Old Royal Naval College wedding photography in my wedding adventures.
Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir Wedding
We had a short break between days to relax and recharge (ourselves and our cameras!). Then, on day three of this gorgeous long weekend, I joined Subo and Chris at their Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir wedding in Wembley as their Tamil Hindu wedding photographer, capturing all of the beautiful details of their ceremony and celebrations with their family and friends.
Completed in 2010, the Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir has intricately carved sandstone walls and domes with patterns from Hindu legends and 210 pillars depicting events from Hindu scriptures. Hand carved rosettes, feathers and leaves cover every surface of the 20,900 square foot temple, it’s an incredible sight! Inside the smooth marble floors run through 11 inner temples which house 41 deities in total.
It’s such a serene and special place and I felt so honoured to join Subo and Chris as their Tamil Hindu wedding photographer.
Tamil Hindu Wedding Photography
The ceremonies and blessings of the Tamil Hindu wedding ceremony are extremely important and I was excited to capture these moments in my award winning wedding photography style. I was joined by my experienced second photographer and we worked as a team alongside videographer Daran from Photon Image.
Understanding the rituals that are part of the Tamil Hindu wedding ceremony allows us to get really close to the important parts of the day and document the key moments. The vibrant colours, the laughter and the joining of two families are celebrated in the images we captured on this beautiful day.
Tamil Hindu Wedding Photographer
Subo kindly provided us with some more detail about the different elements of the day and their meaning. I went through the details of the ceremony before the wedding day, as although I have been a Hindu wedding photographer before, every ceremony is slightly different. It is really important to me to make sure I know what is happening and the significance of this as part of the Tamil Hindu wedding ceremony.
Subo and Chris – Getting Ready
Emil and I joined Subo and Chris as they prepared separately for the day with their families at home. We really felt like we became part of the family over the course of the weekend.
Varaagman – Groom’s arrival
Chris arrives at the temple accompanied by his Tholan, Subo’s nephew Arunesh (akin to a best man).
As a token of appreciation, he presents Arunesh with a gold ring. Aarathi (a tray of light that is circled) is then performed in order to welcome him and to forestall any mishaps in the proceedings. Chris is then received by Mathi (Subo’s brother) who adorns him with a garland and leads him to the Manavarai (ceremonial area).
Sankalpam – Sanctification & Protection
The Priest offers a prayer to Lord Ganesh, invoking his blessings for the wedding to take place without any hindrances.
The priest begins the purification of Chris by placing a Thetpai, a ceremonial ring, on his finger and fastening saffron thread around his wrist to enlist divine protection from the unforeseen.
Kanya Aagaman – Arrival of the Bride
Subo arrives with her family and is led to the Manavarai by her family and her bridesmaids, Tubah and Lindsey.
The Priest performs the same purification and protection rituals as he did for Chris. He lights the sacred fire, Agni, to witness the ceremony, bless the couple and give radiance and strength to their marriage.
Kanya Daanam – – Giving away of the bride
Subo’s family join the hands of the couple, signifying the handing over of the bride to the groom. The ritual is performed by placing Subo and Chris’ right hands together with a gold bracelet, symbolic of proud possession.
The Koorai (wedding saree) and Thaali Kodi (wedding chain) are passed around the guests for their blessings before Chris presents them to Subo and she leaves to change into her Koorai.
Maangalya Dhaaranam – The Thaali Ceremony
This is considered the most significant moment of the wedding. Dressed in her Koorai, Subo returns to the Manavarai holding a garland for Chris. She places the garland around Chris’ neck to signify her choice.
To the resounding melam (drumbeat) and nadaswaram (classical music) rising to a crescendo, Chris ties the Thaali around Subo’s neck signifying long lasting love. This act is precisely timed to the auspicious moment, which is determined by astrologers and priests prior to the wedding.
The guests shower the couple with saffron, flower petals and coloured rice as an act of blessing. Subo then takes her seat, this time to the left of Chris and Kumkumam (red powder) is placed on Subo’s forehead symbolising that she is now a married woman. The couple is declared husband and wife as they exchange garlands, representing the symbolic unification of the wedded couple.
Seven Steps and Prathakshanam
The couple walks around the Agni Saatchi (sacred fire) in three rounds. Chris places Subo’s right foot on the Ammi (granite stone) representing a strong foundation in life. He places a Metti (silver ring) on her second toe on each foot. They complete the final round to symbolise their union as husband and wife.
Finding the Ring
The priest drops a ring in to a pot filled with water. Subo and Chris put their hands in to the pot and take it in turns to find the ring. This symbolises the giving and taking necessary in marriage. Nalangu & Aseervatham then follow. Nalangu features a variety of games based on values of understanding, compromise and complementing each other. Following this, Aarathi is performed in front of the couple, forestalling all evil and wishing them on their new life together with Aseervatham (blessings) of the divine and families.
Subo and Chris
It was another beautiful day with Subo and Chris as their Tamil Hindu wedding photographer. They are such a fun couple to be around and they really made us all feel part of the family. We hope you enjoy these highlights from your wedding and can’t wait for you to see the full collection of images soon!
If you are looking for a Tamil Hindu wedding photographer then I would love to hear from you. I also captured Subo and Chris’ church ceremony and wedding at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.