Indian Wedding Videography

Good videography is difficult. Good wedding videography is much more difficult. Great Indian wedding videography is degrees of difficulty even more difficult. It requires a great wedding videographer with knowledge and experience in these remarkably unique Hindu wedding celebrations.

The groom rides into the ceremony on a beautiful white horse. The wedding videographer, sweat dripping down his face, is following behind. Not exactly a pretty sight. And not the wedding videographer you want.

The horse’s face, as well as the groom’s face, should appear in the video. And that’s exactly what happens when an adept videographer who is capable of walking backwards while capturing the moment is filming your wedding. It takes him years to perfect that move.

Over hundreds of centuries of Vedic custom, Hindu weddings have become deeply spiritual, visually enticing, and highly complex ceremonies. They’re colorful, they’re spiritual, they’re joyful. You need a videographer who knows how to discover those aspects of your wedding and is capable of capturing it on video for you.

There are dozens of significant elements to an Indian wedding that are must shots.

From the singing and dancing the night before, to the application of intricate henna mehndi designs on the bride’s hands and feet, and the veneration of Lord Ganesh (you’ll see a statue of him with his elephant trunk face when you enter) as the first part of the ceremony.

Second the couple meet and exchange garlands, the mandap (the canopy, representing the couple’s home as well as the entire universe) is blessed, the application of the vermillion to the groom’s forehead (the red dot), by the bride’s mother, and the bride is escorted to the mandap by her maternal uncle.

A ceremony asking the blessing of the planets follows. The groom is presented with milk and honey, and his feet are ritually washed. The groom and bride’s right hands are joined while the groom’s father pours water over their hands. The bride and groom take seven individual vows in Sanskrit.  The bride and groom circle the fire from four to seven times, and they turn to direction of the north star.

Big breath--There’s more!

The newlyweds receive blessings from the priest, their parents, and elder members of both families. Somewhere in the ceremony a coconut is split open, and purified butter will be thrown onto the fire. The bride receives jewelry—sumptuous necklace and earrings--and red strings are wrapped around the bride and groom’s hands.

Only a highly experienced videographer can grasp every significant moment of this rich and complex. Because the ceremony is taking place within the mandap, the videographer is faced with lighting and photo angle difficulties. Some external lighting may be needed. His experience leads to the right decision.

A Hindu wedding isn’t just a joining of a bride and groom; it’s a sacrament and the joining of two families. It’s a moveable feast as the families progress from one location to the next. Your videographer needs to understand what is happening, and be able to keep up with it, react quickly, and predict the next photo opportunity.

The brides want a portrait in her traditional red sari (because white is symbolizes death in Hindu culture) and also in her modern bridal gown, means your videographer needs to change pace from observing and documenting, to creating rapport between the bride and the camera in order to get a stunning portrait. He’ll need experience staging large family shots. If they look simple, he’s done a good job.

Vedic weddings have remained much the same over thousands of years. Various regions of India have developed their own wedding styles: Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Kashmiri, Bengali, Rajasthani, and Asamese all have their own unique customs. Even though all are different, there is unity in diversity.

The Sikh and Jain religions are offshoots of Hinduism and the wedding customs have their own flavor. The Sikh wedding is called the ceremony of bliss. Sikh weddings exhibit an exuberant and enthusiastic approach to life which is the trademark of the Punjab where Sikhism originated. Sikh wedding celebrations start weeks before the wedding with singing dancing, exchanging of gifts between the families, and continue until the bride leaves her family home, throwing a handful of rice over her shoulder signifying that prosperity will continue in the household.

A recommendation based simply on having experience shooting video of Indian weddings is not enough though. First and foremost is his style. And only after that, does his experience with Indian wedding videography become a valuable asset.

If you’re looking for more information to help in selecting your wedding photographer, please have a look at this video: