Suhana + Anirudh tied the knot on August 8, 2015 at The Millennium Center in Winston Salem, NC. When this fun couple first described their wedding vision to me, I was sold on their desire for Anirudh to ride a white horse during a parade around the city (traditionally called the Baraat). All future horse-less weddings won't live up to the excitement of this couple's wedding day.
Suhana & Anirudh answered some questions about their wedding inspiration and photography experience below. To view all of the photos from their wedding and order prints, please visit their gallery on my online print shop!
1. What are some of your favorite things about your partner? How were these attributes expressed during or leading up to your wedding?
I love that Anirudh finds humor in everything. And while his childish, punny, sense of humor sometimes makes me roll my eyes, it also makes me laugh every time. He also knows what’s worth stressing about and what’s not. Whereas I tend to stress about a lot of unnecessary things, he helps me keep things in perspective. Both of these things were so important to me not having a mental breakdown during the wedding preparation. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and there are so many little details that go into the wedding day, you can drive yourself crazy trying to juggle it all. But Anirudh was really great about helping me prioritize and making a point to look at the big picture and reminding me, “We’re getting married!! This is going to be great no matter what.”
I love that Suhana is passionate. She is concerned about every aspect of what she does and pours everything she has into all of her tasks, things as small as making dinner to as big as planning a wedding. Her passion led her to DIY many aspects of the wedding, which added some nice, unique, touches that were widely mentioned as the best part of the day.
2. What was most important to you in planning your wedding?
Priority number one was making sure our guests had a good time. No easy feat because we had so many! But each person was special to us and our family, and a decent number travelled a good distance to come celebrate with us. We really wanted to make sure they were well taken care of.
3. Are there any details or moments from your wedding that are particularly special to you? (E.g., you choreographed a special dance, your partner unexpectedly serenaded you, there was a double rainbow all across the sky…).
So many! Our whole night was so special, but we can try to pick a few moments.
First, we’re glad we took the time to do a first look. We had a moment that was just us, and we brought notes we had written to each other. We didn’t have personalized vows during the actual ceremony, so this was our chance to say what we felt in our own words. Suhana’s was on a pretty notecard, and Anirudh’s was on a crumpled piece of lined paper. And no one was surprised.
Secondly, we were so touched by our families’ speeches at dinner. When you go to a wedding as a guest, you kind of tune them out, but as the bride and groom, having our family up there giving us their love and blessings was special for us.
And last but not least, we and our bridal party spent a long time practicing our dance routine to kick off the dance party. Suhana loves the memory she has of sorting out wedding details during the rehearsal, and hearing the synchronized singing and steps of our bridal party holding an impromptu practice in the background. Anirudh *claims* not to be much of a dancer, but despite his whining throughout the practices, he was totally into it for the performance. It was such a rush and a perfect way to fill up the dance floor. And the dance floor was never empty after that! So. Much. Fun.
4. Now that you’ve tied the knot (and survived!), what advice would you give to other folks planning their wedding?
Growing up in the U.S. I kept hearing everybody on tv and in the movies say, “you do what you want! It’s the bride’s day!” But in Indian weddings it’s really not--it’s the families’ day. So, I had to adjust my perspective a little bit. We had to find a balance between getting what we wanted and keeping family happy. For those in a similar situation, I’d say if you have opinionated family that wants to be involved, prioritize what’s important to you and this will help you pick your battles. I kept making the analogy to my friends, “you know how group projects are at school? This is a group project…with your parents.”
And secondly, as Anirudh reminded me, some things might go wrong on the wedding day despite your best efforts and 176249 lists/excel spreadsheets. But 99% of the time, no one will notice and/or care. So just fix it if you can, or don’t, and just enjoy the day.
5. Your photography package included an engagement session. What was it like to work with me before the wedding? How did this shape your expectations for your celebration?
The engagement session was such a great way to get to know Courtney and the way she does her work. She’s always very organized and on top of her game, made sure to know exactly what we wanted, and worked hard to meet those expectations. We could see that from the beginning with the preparation for the engagement pictures and that was really comforting for us.
The engagement session was also a great practice for posing for pictures. It’s kind of awkward to just hold a position, or force a laugh for an extended period of time. But once you get the hang of it, it doesn’t seem so weird and that was important for making the pictures go smoothly on the wedding day. Also, it was so great to get a taste of what Courtney can do with a little sunlight. It made us that much more excited to work with her and see our wedding pictures!
6. What is the first thing you want to do with the images? Wallpaper the hallway? Internet fame?
We have picture frames ready for our wedding pictures! They are just empty and waiting right now! I still haven’t put up pictures on our walls, because I want to be able to incorporate our wedding pictures!
7. What is next for you as a couple? Any big plans?
We’ve had a really busy few months! Suhana graduated from grad school right before the wedding, and now Anirudh is starting business school right after. So we packed up our boxes and we’re settling into our new home in Michigan! That’s enough excitement for us for a little while.
8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Just a HUGE thank you to Courtney for capturing the spirit of our wedding day.
Suhana + Anirudh, thank you so much for inviting me to photograph your week-long celebration! I was moved by your families' hospitality and enjoyed learning more about Bengali wedding rituals! I hope that these photographs bring you back to the excitement, joy, and vast community love from your wedding day! It was truly an honor to work with you.