This was my first EVER Asian Wedding in Portsmouth with a Mehndi Night & Nikah Ceremony, apart from second shooting, I have NEVER (did I mention never haha) photographed an asian wedding so this was a pretty big deal…..for me anyway!

 

Rabia & Andy had 3 days of celebrations 2 of which I was present for.  I have tried to pick a simple few images to illustrate these 2 fabulous events but that was nearly impossible.

 

As you can tell I was actually quite excited about this being my first EVER Asian wedding on my lonesome.

 

Here are some of the things I learned over the course of 48 hours:

There is a LOT of stuff to do….’’But all you have to do is photograph the wedding, don’t get your knickers in a twist mate’’

 

Well YES you would be right with this train of thought, however, there is quite a bit more to it if you wish to give not only your couples but also their family, friends AND any other suppliers they have hired, the absolute best you have to give.

 

SO, stuff I learned shooting my first ever Asian wedding:

 

COMMUNICATION

 

I first met Rabia & Andy the year before they were to be married, we had a really in-depth chat over a lovely pot of tea about not only their wedding plans but how they met, how the ensuing days would work from an organisational point of view, I made sure I found out as much as I could about the 2 ceremonies I would be documenting.  Looking at this from the couple’s view point, they had not only demanding day jobs but also a 3 day event to organise, hundreds of guests to cater for, long distance trips to and from South Central Asia….you get the idea, so it was really important for ME to keep checking in for updates and the order of the day more so than I would with a traditional 1 day church/registry office wedding because, bugger me, was there a lot going on!!

 

RESEARCH

 

I had to do a lot of research, with Mehndi Night celebrations, a civil ceremony AND a Nikah there was much interestingness to learn.  I did google a lot of the information, but Rabia, Andy and their family and friends were super helpful and informative, advising me of what was happening when, how it would happen and what was expected of the attendees along with other traditions such as blessings, dances prayers….I could go on but I won’t!

 

EQUIPMENT

 

These 2 days were full on events, both carrying on late into the evening, artificial light is a must, you cannot shoot a full stage of people at 11:30pm with no flash, it just isn’t going to work chum.  I basically used everything I had in my arsenal over the course of these celebrations, stuff I haven’t used since I started out so it is always worth being prepared!!

 

OTHER SUPPLIERS

 

I found the other suppliers to be absolutely critical to my survival and general well-being during the wedding celebrations, wedding photography can be a lonely job sometimes, when you have a large wedding party to photograph it can also be stressful making sure you get everything shot at the right time and all the right people in the right places.  For this particular wedding I was working along side 2 videographers who helped me stay sane and were just absolutely fabulous shining stars, they even let me use their video light, cheers guys!!  We kept up a great line of communication with the catering staff also, so that no stone was left unturned with regards to coverage.

 

HAVE A SECOND SHOOTER

 

Just have one, you need one, it’s very important.

 

LETTING GO

 

I am a documentary wedding photographer first and foremost, whist I am not dead against formal group shots, I do focus (‘scuse the pun) more on the day as a whole and what is happening than on making sure Auntie Beryl is looking at the bloody camera, capturing fleeting moments etc etc blah blah, whilst I was still able to shoot as a documentary wedding photographer it was really important to shoot more formal groups than I would usually, as mentioned before; people have travelled a LONG way to attend these Asian Wedding celebrations, if they would like more group shots than normal then who am I to stand in their way?! I happily let go and let the day the people and the wedding lead ME.

 

DON’T DRINK…AT ALL

 

Not that you would get shitfaced AT a wedding, that would just be idiotic….and not in any direct correlation with this being a traditional muslim wedding, sometimes it’s just nice to have a tipple after a long day shooting, but, I was SO amazingly tired it would have been such a bad move…..I can only say this hand on heart as I bought 2 small bottles of beer on the way back from day 1 and had no bottle opener, after several attempts using a marker pen and slicing my fingers open, I decided it obviously wasn’t meant to be and am I glad! I just went to bed, the next day was longer and had DOUBLE THE GUESTS!!!  So yeah, I learned (albeit by happy accident) not to drink at ALL after the wedding ceremonies, even though it may be an attractive prospect…DON’T DO IT.  I woke up tired, but fresh, and ready to take on the next day!!

 

HAVE SUPER FUN!!

Alongside all of the above, it is a brilliant experience, I met some amazing people, learned a LOT, got to see some absolutely breathtaking outfits, ate some incredible food and have some lovely images to show for it.  I can’t wait to shoot another, this was an absolute BLAST!!

 

Here are some moments from this cracking 2 dayer……