Where do I even begin….
It has now been over a year since I shot this wedding. It has been published in Town and Country Magazine and Harpers Bazaar India So I’ve had to patiently wait to post it on my own.
To start off the story Swathi contacted me around 9 months before her wedding. Right at the exact time I found out I was pregnant. When she went into detail about her 4 day wedding plans and about why she needed me I was just praying that her wedding fell nowhere near my due date. But low and behold the wedding was the week before my due date yikes haha. Luckily, my doctor cleared me to fly at 9 MONTH PREGNANT. I was terrified. But with my previous baby I didn’t dilate at all, and had to have a c-section after waiting and entire day, and my mom was the same way with all her kids so my doctor thought I would be fine. That didn’t stop me from crying the whole plane ride haha.
To help with the craziness I brought along my awesome 2nd shooter Amanda Rumsey in case I went into labor haha, and my husband for moral support!
The first night was right in Baton Rouge where they had what I would say is kind of like a bridal shower. All the girls were in their bright saris and doing henna on each other, there were heaps of incredible indian food, which is mine and my husbands favorite food on earth so I was good to go. Then everyone gathered and shared kind words about the couple.
The next night was called the Sangeet. Its a pre-wedding party to get everyone pumped for the wedding! It was held in Swathis parents backyard which is right on a big river. It was beautiful. More amazing food, so many beautiful saris, people and deliciously cute children. But most of all there was DANCING!!!
Then the Wedding Day. The most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed. It was held on a massive plantation. The trees looked fake they were so gigantic, with moss hanging from every limb. Everything was just covered in lush green. I want to go back to that place so badly I think I could just explode. There were bright gorgeous saris, purple flowers, gold decor and more flowers!!! The wedding ceremony was over an hour and consisted of lots of beautiful things I didn’t understand haha, an outfit change, games, rice being thrown at each other, putting flower leis on each other etc. It made my wedding look like a pebble under that weddings shoe hahah. Side note, by this point my baby was due in 7 days, my feet looked like loaves of bread and it was humid beyond belief. I sat down maybe once that day, I had to dig deep and just zone out of my body to make this day happen. But boy I’m glad I did.
That night our team drove to New Orleans. We stayed right in the heart of the city in a big old amazing hotel which was right across the street from where the reception was held. I just remember every building was a different bright color, and the streets were old and dirty but fabulous! The reception was held in an old shipping building. We had literally 10 minutes to shoot the couple before the reception, so we just pulled them over in front of a bright building quickly. I wish we would have had 3 hours!! There were lights strung everywhere, orange flowers, an oyster bar and incredible appetizers. The family gave speeches, Jay gave the best speech about Swathi I’ve ever heard a groom give it started with “Im gonna give you guys 3 reasons why I love Swathi” it was hilarious. There was more food and more crazy dancing and then the night ended in a tradition called the “second line” where the band played the wedding party out of the reception to the song ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ in a typical, New Orleans fashion!
I didn’t sit down the entire night. I don’t remember a time in my life where I felt more exhausted. I hobbled, literally hobbled, hunched down to a 90 degree angle across the street, My husband pretty much carried me the rest of the way to my room, a laid on my bed and cried for the next hour. hahaha. I cried mostly because I couldn’t believe the whirlwind that had just happened, and I was so amazed that I had actually done it. Im so happy I did. I was the best shooting experience thus far in my life. And I am so grateful Swathi chose me to capture it.
This week Swathi emailed me and told me her father had passed away due to complications in a heart surgery. Both her parents were doctors, actually the entire extended family were also doctors. I was completely shocked and my heart goes out to them for their loss. He was the absolute sweetest guy. He was so kind to us. He pulled me aside at one point at the reception and said not to worry if I go into labor because everyone there was a doctor haha. I hope their family is ok and am praying for them.
All Images shot by Jessica Janae and Amanda Rumsey
Almost all the Saris at the wedding were from Swathi’s own gorgeous clothing line https://luxemi.com/