Getting to know Saktti and Bill was wonderful. It was lovely speaking with the lovely couple, as well as Saktti’s daughters, who were also part of the bridal party. The week prior to the wedding, Saktti and I met at the MCC Sports Club to tie the plans together and discuss the final details of the day.
I was amazed at how calm she was throughout the entire planning process; it was clear she knew exactly what she wanted. It was important to her that the celebration was based around family and friends. Leaving that meeting, I felt confident this would be a special wedding.
When the day finally arrived, the atmosphere felt very peaceful. We began with family photos; we had a list prepared for the day, so things were moving along smoothly. Friends travelled from afar to be a part of their special day. As they are a large family, we had so many group shots to go through!
Saktti spent many years working in Singapore before settling in Melbourne, so many of her friends flew in to join the celebration. They made up half the guest list – luckily, I had my wide angled lens to fit everyone in these shots! They laughed throughout this session, clearly so happy to be reunited.
While the day started with blue skies, clouds hovered above us as the afternoon progressed. This, however, didn’t deter us from getting any outdoor shots and luckily the rain held off for us. The natural light still shone through in these images. Once all of the family and group shots were finished, we headed inside.
A beautiful ceremony took place on what would later become the dance floor. The many children sat down in the front row, while the rest of the family members sat on a row of chairs. Friends gathered around to take in this very special, yet relaxed, ceremony service.
There were many gorgeous elements throughout this ceremony. One of my favourites was the Sacred Fire Lighting Ritual, during which Bill and Saktti lit the Agni, the sacred fire that symbolises light, power and knowledge.
I also loved watching the exchange of garlands. The garland symbolises happiness, enthusiasm, excitement, aspiration, zeal and beauty. This traditionally reflects the engagement ring. Saktti offered Bill her garland as an indication of her desire for them to be married. Bill accepted, which united them in heart and spirit.
The Seven Step Ritual was also a beautiful aspect to witness. As per the Hindu tradition, the bride and groom take seven steps together, representing the start of their journey. With every step:
- They will provide for and support each other.
- They will develop mental, physical and spiritual strength.
- They will share the worldly possessions.
- They will acquire knowledge, happiness and peace.
- They will raise strong and virtuous children.
- They will enjoy the fruits of all seasons.
- They will always remain friends and cherish each other.
Capturing these traditional elements in my work was so rewarding. After these lovely moments, the venue staff circulated drinks and canapes. All of the guests were elated for Saktti and Bill and the energy was full of love and happiness.
As the reception unfolded, the evening was filled with very entertaining speeches, as well as guests daring shots! To top it all off, the bride and groom blew their guests away with two professional dance routines. They were incredible!
One part of the day I’ll always remember is the beautiful poem one of Saktti’s daughters included in her speech. It was a beautiful way of acknowledging the union of their two families – Bill, his son and daughter with Saktti and her three daughters. She eloquently said:
“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”
I wish this inspiring couple and their family the very best. It was an absolute pleasure being part of their special day. See images below and join me in congratulating Bill and Saktti!