A couple weekends ago, Mike and I attended my college friend’s Nimisha & Alton’s big, fat Indian wedding in Hua Hin, Thailand. We decided to turn this wonderful opportunity into a Thailand vacation where we visited Bangkok first, and then head down to the coastal town of Hua Hin.
Nimi and Alton’s wedding took place at the beautiful Anantara resort, right on the water! And boy, do her family and friends know how to party! The wedding was a four day event, starting with the private “Welcome Pool Party” at the Lagoon of the resort. Wow – this pool party was incredible! Think Vegas-style pool party; DJ playing Indian house music till the wee hours of the night, open bar and food, and even a drone that flew over the pool to videotape the whole thing! Mike and I agreed that our entire wedding probably wouldn’t top Nimisha and Alton’s “Welcome” party…
I did my best taking pictures of Nimi’s wedding as a guest – I didn’t want to get in the way of their official photographers!
Day 2: Mehndi (Henna Ceremony)
After a hangover breakfast, the women of the party, including guests, could get henna done on their hands and feet, if they wished. Here I managed to get some nice, candid shots!
Then finally, Nimi made her grand entrance with her two sisters after having her hands and feet done with henna. She looked so glamorous – and so happy!
Here’s Nimi’s happy family; Alton’s new extended family!
Nimi and Alton’s intricate henna work. Well, Alton’s is short and sweet 🙂
That evening was the Sangeet, also known as pre-wedding dinner and late-night dancing. And when I say “late night” it really was “late night”! Mike and I were exhausted by 1am, but the crowd was pumping by the time we left. I overheard some guests say that the party is scheduled to go till 4am… 4AM?! We felt old… I didn’t take any photos at this event (other than some casual iPhone photos), as I didn’t trust myself taking my SLR when there’s open bars involved…
Day 3: Wedding Ceremony
The final day, when vows were exchanged and promises were made. The day started with Alton’s Sehra Bandi; a ritual where grooms ties a headdress on his head.
You’ll never guess what happened next. Alton was escorted to the ceremony site on an ELEPHANT that the Anantara Resort had brought in! We all danced around the elephant as it walked to the ceremony site. Don’t believe me – see for yourself!
Nimi’s sisters watched from their balcony! They were helping their lovely sister get ready for her big debut!
After Alton arrived at the ceremony site and the guests finally settled in their seats, music started playing and we stood up to welcome the beautiful bride. She was accompanied by her lovely sisters, and was greeted by her parents at the beginning of the alter.
Look at her big, genuine smile! So much happiness! Makes me teary just thinking about how happy she looks in these photos…
We watched the ceremony in silence as we joined them in prayers (most of it was in Hindi). Very rarely did I get up to snap a picture of the couple, as I didn’t want to get in the way of the official photographers. I’m happy that I captured some candids of the rings though – phew!
The ceremony concluded in a final prayer and vows.
The final moments of any wedding ceremony, no matter what religion, is always a happy moment of the bride and groom walking out together, hand-in-hand. They did it!
Of course, reception followed the ceremony where there was more dancing, more food & drinks, and more partying. By 11pm, I was exhausted! Boy – Mike and I just couldn’t keep up – we felt so old! Unfortunately, we had to catch our flight back to Los Angeles the next morning, so mentally, I already started shutting down my “party” mode and going back to reality. Boo reality!
Regardless, I was SO HAPPY that I got to be part of Alton and Nimi’s beautiful wedding, for all four days! Even though we don’t get to see each other very often (2009 was the last time!), I’m relieved that we still share a special friendship where we can beat the distance between us. I wish Alton and Nimi all the happiness that they deserve as they begin their wonderful journey together as husband and wife 🙂