Like many of our couples from the last few years, Sapna and Ari experienced the ups and downs of finalizing their wedding date and venue in the midst of a pandemic. Plans and guest lists were continually in flux. When they finally settled on hosting a three-day Indian wedding at Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming, I was thrilled. Sapna and Ari’s star-studded event planning team came together to create an Indian wedding unlike any I have seen or photographed.
Indian Wedding Tradition: Haldi Ceremony
Sapna and Ari’s Indian wedding started off by honoring an ancient Indian tradition. The couple partook in a Haldi ceremony — which symbolizes a blessed start to a new marriage. It also involves lots of turmeric! The bright yellow color glowed against the surrounding Wyoming wilderness.
A Western Welcome to an Indian Wedding
Sapna and Ari welcomed their guests in true Western form with a blue denim-themed party. The denim not only nodded to their location but also to Sapna’s dearly departed brother, whose name ‘Neel’ means ‘blue’ in Hindu. Having everyone dressed in blue denim was a festive and meaningful way to honor Neel’s spirit during the celebration. Guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, and a live country music concert at the big welcome event.
Sangeet Under the Stars
Sangeet means ‘music’, but when it’s used in reference to an Indian wedding event, it translates to ‘music night’ or ‘music party’. Sapna and Ari’s sangeet took place at Brush Creek Ranch’s farm, and it couldn’t have been more lively and memorable for us to photograph. Watching the bride, groom, and their families come together to dance, sing, and celebrate Sapna and Ari’s union under the stars together was a bit of magic we’ll never forget.
A Sunny First Look
Before the ceremony, we found a secluded area in the sun where Sapna and Ari could take a few moments for themselves to enjoy some peace, quiet, nature, and alone time before their wedding. It’s always moving to see the love and excitement between a bride and groom as they share a first look.
A Western Take on a Traditional Baraat
In Indian culture, it’s customary for the groom to make a grand entrance atop a horse. This is referred to as a baraat. Ari opted for a western take on this tradition — making his grand entrance on a platform hooked to the bed of a vintage blue pickup truck. With music playing in celebration, Ari and guests cheered and danced their way to the main event. As you’re probably picking up on, Indian weddings go all out! And they’re as much fun to capture as they sound.
An Ethereal Ceremony
Indian weddings utilize what’s called a mandap — a temporary structure covered in floral arrangements — which serves as the altar for the ceremony. Sapna and Ari’s mandap was constructed entirely of baby’s breath. It was the perfect soft backdrop to Sapna and Ari’s gold wedding ceremony attire. The wide-open Wyoming wilderness stretched on for miles behind the stunning mandap, as guests looked on from elegant acrylic seating.
Sapna and Ari exchanged garlands during the jai mala portion of the ceremony, which serves as a moment of unity between the bride and groom before officially wedding one another in Indian culture. For an even more personal touch, their processional song was written and performed by Sapna’s friend Anuradha Palakurthi. This ceremony was truly one of a kind.
Baby’s breath and white garlands adorned the tabletops of Sapna and Ari’s wedding reception — held in the Lodge at Brush Creek Ranch. Sapna changed into a casual and colorful dress, and Ari changed into a classic suit. The newlyweds looked elated to join their guests for another wonderful celebration — this time as husband and wife. Sapna and Ari wined, dined, and danced with their guests long into the night, savoring every moment.
've spent the past decade capturing love and chasing beauty across the globe, and I believe every story like yours is different and special, and deserves to be told exceptionally.
Drawing on years of experience in the fashion and editorial photography industry, my photographs are graceful, honest and boldly natural, while completely intentional. Whether it’s the opportunity to narrate the retelling of once-in-a-lifetime wedding days, or the ability to communicate issues of global importance, or all the stories in between, I look at photography as the method by which I get to leave the world a little better than I found it.