22 Aug Indian Wedding Photography at the Fairmont San Francisco – Harman & Sonia
I have been an Indian wedding photographer since 2014 and still the Fairmont San Francisco Hotel is one of my most favorite wedding venues to photograph in. So you can imagine my excitement when an Indian bride tells me that I get to capture her wedding photos in one of the most beautiful wedding venues in the Bay Area. When Sonia and Harman contacted me, I had a great feeling about their wedding. Not only was the couple exceptionally beautiful, they also had Amrit of Anais Events on their team to plan every detail of their wedding. Well, just as I predicted, I enjoyed photographing this beautiful Indian wedding. Beginning from the moment Sonia was getting into her red lengha to their first dance in the Grand Ballroom and even up to the final dance offs at the end of the reception. The love shared between the couple and the families was very evident and it was a pleasure capturing all of the beautiful, candid moments through my lens.
The groom’s arrival to the ceremony hall is a very big deal in the Sikh Indian community and I really enjoy photographing the joyous moments of the baraat. Harman arrived in an antique automobile as he was greeted by a cheering crowd of family and friends who were already dancing in celebration to the dhol music of the drummers. Mason Street had to be closed down for some time as the parade took place towards the iconic row of international flags at the entrance of the Fairmont Hotel. It was definitely a sight to see! Several bystanders and tourists even took out their phones to share this moment on social media. Here are some of my favorite shots.
The Gold Room inside the Fairmont San Francisco was the perfect setting for this noble Sikh wedding. The stunning architecture made every ritual of the wedding ceremony feel royal and grand. Harman and Sonia circled around the Guru Granth Sahib four times as the Giani (officiator) read out the four Laavas. This is the most important part of a Sikh ceremony and represents vows the couple make to each other. Sonia’s family then walked her down the stairs and said their goodbyes in an emotional vidai ceremony, escorting her into an awaiting getaway car. That symbolic moment is one of my favorite parts to capture because the family is very raw and genuine in their emotions as the bride leaves her family and joins the groom and his family.
When evening approached, Harman changed into his tuxedo and bowtie while Sonia put on her Pratap Sons wedding dress and gold jewelry. Before the festivities resumed, we took a brief moment to take some portraits of the couple on the rooftop garden of the Fairmont San Francisco. These are typically the photos couples hang around their home so I make sure to position the couple to showcase the sentiment of their big day. Afterwards, we returned to the Grand Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel, which was beautifully decorated with gorgeous flowers and special lighting effects fit for a true celebration. Indian weddings have lots of traditions but when the wedding reception begins, it is all about celebrating, dancing, drinking and just having a really good time. To capture all of the vivid colors and atmosphere of a festive Indian wedding reception, I use my off-camera flashes and basically don’t stop clicking away until the music stops.
I always enjoy looking back at the photos I captured and reliving the emotions of those moments. It’s always rewarding to know that I was trusted to be there for the most important day of a couple’s life, capturing all the emotions and moments to be treasured forever. Understanding this huge responsibility and hearing how much the bride and groom appreciate the photos is what makes me so happy that I chose to be a wedding photographer.
Along with me being the wedding photographer, my brother and our cinema team pulled off an amazing Same Day Edit film that they premiered at the wedding reception. Check out the epic video in this blog post here.
I hope you enjoyed ALL of these wedding photos from this beautiful Sikh Indian wedding at the Fairmont San Francisco hotel.
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