The Big Fat Mallu Wedding // Ashwin & Greeshma
When I got an enquiry for covering a wedding at Al-Saj, Trivandrum, I was pretty excited. As I knew that a wedding at Al-Saj would certainly be a big one, that would give me an excellent exposure. With crossed figures, I send them my quotes and within a day they confirmed. So this was going to be my first big fat event, since officially inaugurating RahulDevakumar Creative Media Studio.
The family was very clear on what they wanted and this actually made my work easier, but they also gave me full freedom to use my creativity. The groom, Ashwin, was working abroad and the bride, Greeshma, was studying at Kollam. The wedding was scheduled for 29th December, 2019. But the bride and the groom were to arrive only a few days prior to the wedding. They wanted to do a simple Save the Date shoot first.
Save the Date
We came to a consensus of doing the shoot at Varkala Beach. I kinda felt sorry for these two. They were engaged a year back and he had flown back. Now Ashwin had just come and would also return back soon after the wedding. There was love in their eyes and endless laughter. Never once did I ask them to pose. They were in their own world filled with love and I just captured those beautiful moments. The soft rippling waves and slight breeze was the perfect backdrop for their deep intense affection.
The Wedding Eve
It is customary, in certain sections of the Hindu community, for the groom’s side to present the bride with her wedding trousseau. And this function is usually kept on the wedding eve. Post lunch, as I arrived at Ashwin’s house, his relatives were all abuzz. They were all super excited. Ashwin’s cousins gave him gifts and his parents handed over the bride’s wedding trousseau to his sister. The groom and his party were in a celebratory mode and they all headed towards the bus that were going to the bride’s house.
Due to a huge traffic block on the way to the bride’s house, it was early evening, when we reached the bride’s house. The bride’s house was beautifully decorated with colorful lights and they were eagerly waiting for the groom’s party. The groom’s sister, Pooja led the party to the house. In the hall, the bride was waiting, dressed in a simple yet elegant deep blue skirt and top. Without wasting any time, the ceremonial lamp was lit and Pooja handed over the wedding trousseau to her future sister-in-law, Greeshma. After some quick photo sessions, the groom's party proceeded for dinner. As it had been late, by the time we reached, without spending much time at the bride's house, the groom's party decided to bade goodbye. There was a sense of excitement lingering in the air, excitement for the D-day.
The Wedding, The Reception and Happily Ever After
The groom, Ashwin, was all dressed up in a golden colour kurta, by the time I reached his home. The rest of the family members were getting ready and the mood was upbeat and festive. The wedding ceremony was scheduled between 11:43 AM and 12:20 PM at Al Saj Convention Centre, Kazhakootam, Trivandrum. After offering prayers to his ancestors and taking the blessings of parents and the other elders at his home, we started from his home at around 9 am.
As we reached Al Saj, a huge crowd was waiting for the groom. The bride's party was waiting with a garland at the entrance. Traditionally, it's the bride's brothers who welcome and escort the groom into the hall. All of the groom's party followed Ashwin, into the hall and slowly everyone settled down. By this time, Ashwin and his party, proceeded to the greenroom. As there was ample time, Ashwin relaxed a bit and then changed into his golden and maroon sherwani. All this while, our bride was waiting in the next room, all decked up in a gorgeous golden saree with maroon blouse and lots of gold jewelry. All of Ashwin's cousins were walking in and out of his room and as the time for the wedding approached, Ashwin went back into the hall, to take blessings from his uncles, aunts and other elders in the family.
As Ashwin waited, Greeshma, the bride made a grand entry with a flower Chadaar over her head. It is usually in North India that Chadaar is used for the bridal entry. So here it was totally refreshing to see a Mallu bride enter under a Chadaar. Another thing that caught my attention, was that it was the father of the bride who helped her onto the stage. Somehow, it was heartwarming to see him help her with her sari n all.
The bride and the groom along with their parents and close relatives,offered their prayers and greeted the guests. The groom took a seat in the beautifully decorated mandap and the bride sat next to her groom. As the musicians started playing the traditional wedding beats, Ashwin and Greeshma exchanged flower garlands and Ashwin tied the sacred 'Thali', around Greeshma's neck. As close relatives and friends showered their blessings on the newly weds, I could see mixed emotions of happiness, anxiety and excitement on their faces.
Everything was tizzy now. The bride and groom started posing for pictures. Guests queued up to get their mandatory picture with the newly weds. A lot of people proceeded towards the lunch hall for the sumptuous Kerala meal. More photos, more excitement and finally someone came and interrupted as it was almost time for the newlyweds to leave. Then there was a rush to have lunch and finally the bride's party had all turned up at the entrance to bid adieu to their little girl. Greeshma's eyes welled up, her parents were trying to put up a happy face and the only truly happy face was that of Ashwin's.
The newlyweds reached the groom's residence by late afternoon. The bride was given a lamp as she entered her new home, which she kept at the pooja room. Then they were given a glass of milk and a banana to eat as per custom. The wedding reception was scheduled for the same day. So, the newlyweds proceeded to get dressed for their reception party. In the meantime, it is customary for the bride's party to visit the groom's house with sweets and gifts. Greeshma's near and dear ones arrived at Ashwin's house.
By early evening, guests started arriving at Al-Saj mini hall for the reception party. The digital LED stage was a visual treat. Ashwin and Greeshma soon arrived at the venue. Ashwin looked dapper in suit and Greeshma waa ravishing in red lehenga. With live food and music, the guests were having a good time . As time passed, the guests slowly started bidding farewells. I was feeling almost completely drained. But I was in for a surprise. Ashwin's cousins had other plans. They took centre stage and then I could see people of all age groups dancing their hearts out, including the extremely tired newlyweds.
Finally after much enjoyment, it was finally time to call it a day. The lights were put off and the newlyweds rode home to their happily ever after. God Bless them abundantly.
A picture is worth a thousand words. And a video, much more.
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