4/19/2016 0 Comments
Mickey and Yousouf met while studying at Staffordshire University at exactly the same time as me, though I never knew them! Even weirder still, Mickey also went to my school the same time as me too, and I still didn’t recognize her! Small world eh? I first met them last Autumn and instantly knew I wanted to be their wedding photographer (even though they hadn’t picked me yet!). As they told me about their plans for an Anglo/Asian wedding at Shrewsbury’s Morris Hall I was so excited! I love learning about different cultures, but living in a rural town like Shrewsbury you really don’t get to mix different kinds of people very often, so to have the chance to be a big part of an Indian celebration was too good to miss! The colour, the sights, the music, and the FOOD!
The wedding was everything I hoped for and more, I feel so privileged to have been a part of it and I really had the most fantastic time. Having the opportunity to photograph something very different to my usual subject matter was just wonderful, one thing use photographers love is a new challenge! You get so used to the traditional wedding set up and running of the day that you know exactly what is going to happen next, and therefore know exactly where you need to be at the right time. This was totally different! Even Mickey herself wasn’t totally sure what was going to happen (and the bridesmaids told me it is often done differently at every wedding!) so this was like being right at the beginning, but despite this I loved every second.
I arrived at the Morris Hall to a very nervous looking Yousouf, whose first words to me were to the effect of “I’m scared” but a little more graphic and unrepeatable! He was a good sport though and managed to keep it together for some pictures before things kicked off. I was eager to photograph all of the details of how they had so beautifully decorated the hall before the huge number of guests arrived, it would have been such a shame not to after all their hard work. The focal point being the canopy on the stage where the bride and groom would exchange rings. They had a loose ‘Lord of the Rings’ theme with the tables named after places in the story, and of course the rings themselves had the famous inscriptions (Yousouf told me that he used to say he had been watching the films just to impress Mickey!).
I was completely dazzled by Mickey as she got out of the car. There was a brief moment of sunshine between driving rain and even hail stones(!) where I took her last photographs as a Miss, drinking in all of those incredible details of the henna, armfuls of jewellery, and her red and gold dress. She probably thought I was a crazy person as I couldn’t stop staring! Just an absolute vison of beauty.
The Imam started by asking both the Bride and Groom separately if they consented to the marriage, and then asked Mickey's brother Jamie if he gave his permission. If all were happy to go ahead, the Imam then went on to say a few words in Arabic memorized from the Koran (I wasn’t allowed to take photographs at this point for religious reasons). The end of the speech marked the end of the official part of the ceremony, which meant Mickey and Yousouf were married before they had even set eyes on each-other. Yousouf was then led out of the hall to another room, and the crowd eagerly anticipated Mickey’s entrance. She was walked down the aisle by Jamie to the thumping sounds of Bangra music (which I love, this wedding just gets better and better!) and sat under the canopy with one of her doting bridesmaids.
The door opened and Yousouf was allowed into the room to see his Bride, but this came at a price. Two more bridesmaids stood at the door and wouldn’t let him in until he had presented them with numerous envelopes full of cash (no money, no honey!). With nearly empty pockets, they led him up the aisle where he had to pay the last bridesmaid all he had left, so he could finally be with his Bride to exchange the rings.
The rest of the day was much as you would expect from a Western wedding. Family group photographs, hilarious speeches, cutting of the cake (which as you can see was AMAZING!), mountains of absolutely delicious Indian cuisine (best food ever!) and thankfully a little bit of sunshine when I took the happy couple off to The Quarry just a short walk away for some cute couple portraits, my favourite part of the day. Their wedding attire along with the colours of the perfectly manicured Spring blooms in The Dingle were just screaming to be photographed, and they were more than happy to spend a few minutes peace and quiet while I snapped away.
If I could have, I would have shared every single photograph from this incredible wedding, I love them all! However I hope this small selection gives you just a flavour of what a brilliant day it was for everyone! Thank you so so so much Mr and Mrs Russell Siab for having me be the one to capture all of that awesome stuff for you. I think I can safely say I LOVE Asian weddings now, so I really hope this isn't my last!