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Blog

Annie + Noordin // An Atlanta Indian Wedding

Halie Johnson

I shot Annie + Noordin's engagement party almost two years ago and never imagined that I would have the honor of shooting their wedding. I have always been so drawn to the energy and vibrance of Indian weddings, so I was on cloud nine when Annie asked me to document their five day long Ismaili wedding. I was also SO nervous! As a wedding photographer, there are certain traditions that I cannot miss. Aside from this, we just document the day as it unfolds naturally. Most of the time this only consists of the first kiss, the cake cutting, the garter toss, and bouquet toss.  But imagine having probably hundreds of those important traditions to keep your eyes peeled for. There was never any down time or just hanging out, which I loved. There was ALWAYS something interesting to watch, from very emotional and tear filled traditions to choreographed dance routines full of energy. My favorite thing about this wedding was that I could see and feel how happy every single guest was for Annie + Noordin. Even with 300 guests at one point, you could see that they didn't invite anyone because they felt like they had to - which resulted in such an emotion filled week. Even though this is only about 10% of the photos and you're only getting a small glimpse of each day, I hope you still get a sense of the story and the emotions that came along with it.

I want to brag on Annie for a second. She designed the yellow saree and the floral embroidered outfit that she wore on Day 2 and everything she wore on Day 4. She hand sewed the white gown that she wore at her Civil Ceremony and her mom hand beaded the crop top. For the dress she wore on Day 4 for her exit, she used pieces of her mom's Nikkah saree. Annie is a super talented fashion and graphic designer. Check out her blog and Instagram.

Thank you to the rest of the crew responsible for these photos. My fiance' Alec was shooting with me and my dear friend Kiyah Crittendon of Kiyah C. Photography stepped in on Sunday when Alec had a family emergency. They both ROCK. Our best friends and videographers, Stephen + Sofy Payne created this killer video.


DAY ONE - MEHNDI

Mehndi is the art of painting elaborate patterns on the skin with henna. 


DAY TWO - PITHI & SANGEET

Pithi refers to a cleansing ceremony, in which the bride and groom are rubbed with turmeric paste in a beautification process. It is believed that turmeric softens and whitens the skin, so the purpose of this ceremony is to help the bride and groom be radiant for their wedding.

The traditions continue with the men in the family showering the groom with eggs, flour, ketchup, mustard, maple syrup and anything else they can get their hands on.

After cleaning up a little, Annie + Noordin entered for Sangeet. During the Sangeet, the bride and groom's family and friends sang and performed dances as a tribute to the couple. Then everyone KILLED it on the dance floor. Seriously, I even asked her mom for dance lessons.


DAY THREE - NIKKAH & KHOBA KHOBI

In Arabic, marriage is called Nikkah. The religious ceremony consists of the recitation of Nikkah Nama (The Marriage Contract) in Arabic. After the ceremony, the family tied the ends of a scarf on Annie + Noordin in a sacred knot, symbolizing everlasting togetherness.

During Khoba Khobi, Annie + Noordin sat in front of each other with a bowl of rice between them. A coin is dropped inside and they have to race to see who finds the coin first. The winner is considered the head of the household. Noordin cheated by hiding a coin in his lap. However, he didn't get away with it. They had a rematch and Annie was named head of household! After the rituals, we took them outside and let their friends throw rice on them for a few portraits.


DAY FOUR - CIVIL CEREMONY

This day was very similar to an American wedding, but with a lot more color and dancing!

After the ceremony, Annie took a short break from everyone. She changed into yet another amazing outfit and then joined Noordin for a few quiet moments before entering the reception.

I probably teared up 5-6 different times during the reception. Not only were there multiple heartfelt speeches from family members, but her mother surprised her with a song on the piano. Since Annie was little, she always told her mom she wanted this song played at her wedding and her mom always said no. Little did Annie know,  the entire weekend her mom was making sure that the DJ never played this song because she was learning it herself. I think Annie thought all of the crying was over, but then Noordin surprised her by singing her a song in front of all of their guests.

The ultimate grand exit. Bubbles. Another perfect dress. An antique Rolls Royce. 


DAY FIVE - SATADA (SEE OFF SUPPER) 

This day focused on the intimate tradition of Annie's family giving her away to Noordin. As Annie walked out of the house for the final time, she threw back rice for her mother to catch symbolizing blessings for her previous household.