Monique and Mayank’s South Asian Wedding at The Pleasantdale Chateau
Documented by Berit Bizjak (Principle Photographer), Kenny Pang (Second) and Maggie Yurachek (Third)
One of the main reasons I became a full-time professional wedding photographer was because of the individual ceremonies and traditions involved in every wedding I have the honor of documenting. This is why, when asked to document Monique and Mayank’s South Asian wedding at The Pleasantdale Chateau, I was beyond honored.
We arrived early Saturday morning to The Pleasantdale Chateau, after a full day of events the day prior, include the meaningful pre-ceremony rituals and colorful Sangeet. We caught up with Monique in the bridal suite, getting ready. One of the most amazing things to witness during an traditional South Asian wedding is the elaborate dress worn by the bride in combination with the very ornate jewelry. Monique was truly breathtaking! We followed her down the Chateau’s iconic spiral staircase, where Mayank was waiting for his First Look. The couple then headed outside where we caught some adorable Bride and Groom photos.
A short time later, their family and bridal party joined them for some portraiture before the Baraat (groom’s procession) ceremony in the driveway of the Chateau. If you have never experienced a traditional Baraat you are truly missing out. Nothing compares to a groom arriving on horseback, with a DJ and drummer playing a special drum called ‘Dhol’ engaging a crowd. The color, the sounds, the entire environment is exciting, inspiring and steeped in tradition. Following the Baraat, we had the pleasure of documenting the Ponkvu, in which the Bride’s mother greets the groom and his family. During this time, Monique’s mother placed a Tilak on Mayank, a South Asian ritual of marking someone’s forehead with a fragrant paste, such as of sandalwood or vermilion, as a welcome and expression of honor.
Immediately following the Ponkvu we were ready for the ceremony. Monique and Mayank’s ceremony was traditional Hindu in which the ceremony was held at a Mandap and began with a priest’s prayer to Lord Ganesh, remover of obstacles and a symbol of happiness, good fortune and wisdom. During this deeply moving ceremony, we witnessed the Kanya Aagaman and Jai Mala, Kanyadaan and Hasta Melap, Agni Pooja, Mangal Phera, Saptapadi, Sindhur and Mangal Sutra, Akhand Saubhagyavati and final blessings in which the priest blessed Monique and Mayank for their happy marriage life by sprinkling grain on them. Their parents also blessed them and accepted them as their family members.
As guests walked in for lunch, they were serenaded by the beautiful sounds of the live String Quartet called The Dolce Ensemble playing a combination of fusion and Bollywood tunes. Post-lunch was the incredible send-off ritual called Vidaai with bride & groom riding away in a horse-carriage.
This amazing morning was followed in the evening by an equally spectacular reception that began with a fun live Fusion Jazz Band called ‘Band Bajha Brass’ during the cocktail hour. The reception was a great evening made even more special as we witnessed a Friend’s group dance performance and an amazing song written and performed by Mayank for Monique. There was not a dry eye in the ballroom. This truly was “Bollywood Love”.
I love the occasions in which I can witness and document ceremonies with such purpose and meaning. Thank you, Monique and Mayank for entrusting me with such an awesome responsibility!
Entertainment: DJ USA Entertainment | Catering: Chand Palace | Florals, Mandap for ceremony & Reception stage decor: Elegant Affairs | Videographer: Blue Moon Video Productions | Horse Carriage: KV Carriage
Check out all of the pre-ceremony rituals performed at Monique’s parent’s home including the Manwa Muharatt, Graha-Shanti and Haldi.
Monique & Mayank’s colorful and festive Sangeet from Friday evening.