Give a girl a walkie talkie, attached to an ear piece with a bunch of wire looped through her shirt to her pants buckle, and suddenly she’s become an FBI agent. “Groom is on the move. I repeat, groom is ON the move.” One hand raised to my ear trying to hear over the chatter of the guests.
Working a wedding as a Phoenix wedding photographer is one thing, but to work a wedding behind the scenes as an assistant to the wedding planner, Apropos Creations, is a whole other ball game. A whole different world opened up and I got to experience it all first-hand (and even carry my camera for those in-between seconds where I still get to be a photographer).
I had thought having a wedding planner was important. And, don’t get me wrong because it really is important, however, my perspective has changed considerably after this experience. Especially for a guest list of two hundred seventy five in attendance. A wedding planner is crucial to having your wedding day run as bump free as possible.
You’re probably wondering what made me assist a wedding planner in the first place? I’ve never photographed an Indian wedding before and my curiosity had peaked to the point that I’d do just about anything to get a peek behind the scenes and learn about the cultural ceremonies. And that’s just what I did.
Because Indian culture is so vibrant, glamorously adorned, and highly decorated, I didn’t want to be the photographer whose senses were over stimulated by all the mystique that surrounds an Indian wedding. Photographing every single detail of the brides lehenga choli and her adornment. And shoes, and seats, and henna, and the celebration dances with beautiful saris. Maybe you get the idea. So . . . I absorbed it. I thought I might have the “Ooo Shiny Syndrome” just like a dog who sees a rabbit, but come to find out, I didn’t get caught up with the gorgeous colors, patterns, beads, and henna. What most interested me was the emotional connections between the family. My heart strings were being pulled. Not an unfamiliar feeling I get when I photograph a wedding. Even from the side lines, I get teary eyed.
Meeting up in New York while Bhavika was doing an internship for radiology, Runjan swept her off her feet and they couldn’t be any more adorable together.
My mission: Make sure lunch is served on time, tables are prepped, food is piping hot, and after eating, everybody makes their way up to the Baraat celebration.
Meanwhile, up at the Different Point Of View, Jo Ann is prepping the ceremony area and surveying the vendors for a timely ceremony. Once mission number one was accomplished, I made my way up to the ceremony spot. Bhavika was quietly waiting with her bridesmaids while the Baraat was underway. Because I couldn’t sit by the wayside and watch while the events took place, I grabbed my camera and planted the lens in front of my face, up against the window, watching patiently as the groom made his way to the entrance on a stunning white horse. I had a unique perspective from where I was and had the advantage of watching the entire celebration from the second story window.
As the photographers were doing their thing in the midst of the party below, I saw something that moved me. I peered around the corner to see the bride sitting quietly with closed eyes, taking a moment to just breathe. And, in that moment, she was the most beautiful sight to lay eyes upon. As a photographer, you know when not to disturb someone’s private moment and remain respectful of their privacy. As much as the urge struck me to capture that moment, I refrained from clicking the button, insistent on remembering this moment I shared with Bhavika. Taking a few seconds myself to breathe.
Beautiful backdrop to the ceremony atop Different Point Of View. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Emotions running high, guests sneaking photo opps, the bride and grooms parents watching every detail unfold while they sit beside their children. Every detail had not gone unnoticed.
Shortly concluding the ceremony, Runjan and Bhavika’s guests got a little more than excited and grabbed the flower arrangements that were hanging on shepherd’s hooks lining the isle. As you can imagine, red and white carnation petals are parading over the bride and groom as they face the crowd of happy onlookers.
We weren’t quite sure why the guests thought the flower balls were meant to be tossed about since we were about to use them for the reception halls centerpieces. Panic sets in. Luckily the wedding planners hired for the day had all of the vendor contacts at hand! Quick thinking on our part, we immediately called the florist back to repair what we could salvage on sight and add fresh carnations in the missing styrofoam ball holes. Catastrophe blip eradicated.
The remainder of the night went off without a hitch. The guests were happy, dancing ensued, and Runjan and Bhavika live happily ever after.
And that’s why a wedding planner is important to have around. To be ready to expect the unexpected so you don’t have to.