Snigdha & Himanshu | North Indian Hindu Wedding | Noida Golf Course, Delhi NCR

“All Good Things Take Time” - The Power of Slow is quite underrated. So is my talent for procrastination. Eight Months. Eight Long Months have I sat pondering what’d be a good start for this blogpost. Well, thanks to my lazying around, I don’t need to think for another intro to this post now, do I?!

Speaking of time, I started speaking to Snigdha about her wedding photography in late-2011. Yup! That isn’t a typo :) My Manipal senior Namrata had hired me to shoot her wedding with her fiancé Vikram. It was my first paid wedding photography assignment. I was mind-blown by the experience. And it’s there where I first met Snigdha, Namrata’s cousin who doubled up as her bridesmaid/gift collector/gift protector/shoe-stealer/overall life of the party & family. I took a few photos of Snigdha in action. So back in 2011 she told me that when she gets married, I’d be shooting her wedding. It felt good that a girl was fixing her wedding photographer before her fiancé :D

Eight years later, in July last year Snigdha pinged me saying she’s getting married in February 2019 and wanted me to shoot her wedding! I was thrilled! Not only did she remember what she’d told me, she had kept her word as well!!! Apart from getting to shoot a proper Dilli Ki Shaadi, here I was, back to where I started. Seeing the super-warm faces of Snigdha’s family once again was pure joy! Most of them remembered me. It felt so good to have them ask about my haal chaal. And to top it all - I got to see Namrata’s & Vikram’s lovely kids Ranveer and Samar :)

So yeah, coming back to the point - If a wedding’s photography takes eight years to materialize, it’s okay if its blog takes eight months to come through! Almost poetic, won’t you call it?

Photography:
Elvin Jacob
MUH: Varnika Suryavanshi / Glammed by VS
Venue: Noida Golf Course, Delhi NCR
Special Thanks: Ragini Singh
Super Special Thanks: Namrata Nath <3

Here’s Snigdha from Namrata’s & Vikram’s Wedding in 2011 :)

(L-R) 1. Snigdha had just turned 21 on this day. And was moments away from a cake being smashed on her face!
2. Snigdha smiling at someone. Pretty sure it wasn’t Himanshu! :)
3. Immediately after stealing Vikram’s shoes, Snigdha posed for this photograph and later during negotiations asked for a cool Rs 21,000 from her jiju :D

And here’s the adorable note Namrata & Vikram sent me after their wedding in 2011. It stays safe with my other certificates. It’s not less than one after all :)

Nikhil & Saranya | Hindu Kannadiga - Tamil Brahmin Wedding | Temple Tree Farms, Bengaluru

Ok so I have to confess. I really tried to pun Lawyers and Lovers for this blogpost. I really did. But I failed. So go ahead - Sue Me!

Coming back to Nikhil’s and Saranya’s wedding - Both of them are lawyers and pretty sure quite popular. ‘Cause they had as many friends as other wedding guests at their wedding! Friends from school, college and work came together to attend their beautiful wedding at the Temple Tree Farms in Sahakarnagar, Bengaluru.

Like my sense of humour, monsoons also threatened to ruin the wedding. The venue for the Sangeet was a beautiful outdoor one. But a sudden downpour forced everyone indoors. Nikhil and Saranya however put up a brave face against both these ‘natural calamities’. Their friends chipped in with some heavy but graceful cardio disguised as dance. And it was mission accomplished with the Sangeet.

Saranya’s adorable set of school friends danced beautifully and later told us that they danced badly - just like those class toppers from school who’d would write answers to everything in the question paper but would later tell their mortal classmates (like me) that they will fail. I refuse to be fooled again like this.

Big shoutout to Vibin Venugopal (Founder of Headless Hippies) who connected Nikhil & me. I had shot Vibin’s wedding in 2016 and the things he did ahead of the wedding were quite interesting. Check his story out here.

Photography:
Elvin Jacob, Srinivas RS
Traditional Team: Sudheer Hebbar
MUH: Sruthi Julta
Wedding Planners: Millionbellz Events
Venue: Temple Tree Farms, Sahakarnagar

Prathama & Richard | Hindu Odia Wedding | Bhubaneswar

Prathama & Richard (P&R) spoke to me sometime last year, saying they’re getting married and that too across three different continents - Asia (Odisha), Europe (Bath) & Africa (Johannesburg). I almost leapt for joy at the prospect of shooting all three weddings! The dreamer in me woke up and went to work. I pictured myself geotagging my social media posts with exotic locations like Paris (instead of Pallakad), Cape Town (instead of Kanyakumari) and Bali (instead of Bengaluru) with hashtags like #internationalweddingphotographer & #shootlife! I swear the only place where I didn’t check-in was the moon itself!

Life, Prathama and Richard however had other plans. P&R told me that they wanted me to only shoot their Odisha wedding. Sigh! My dreams, hopes, aspirations and social media strategy came down crashing that very instant. But their wedding turned out to be exactly the fun, intimate and ‘non-wedding’ wedding that I’d dreamt of attending someday. Be it the Odissi & Chhau dance performances, daily parties or Sobriety Tests (i.e. drunk people asking the sober ones to prove their sobriety by walking in a straight line. Nice try!) - It was fun! Everyone danced together on Odia classics like Rangabati among Hindi/English tracks like they knew each one of those songs! P&R were personally involved in all aspects of their wedding. Their family & friends from across the world were coming down and P&R ensured they got to see India the way many Indians haven’t. Everyone at the wedding was having a great time. And personally, I didn’t feel I was working as the vibes were such.

On Day 1, Prathama’s & Richard’s respective fathers got onto the stage to speak. I am pretty sure neither had any idea of what the other was going to say. But it was beautiful how both speeches complimented each other perfectly. Richard’s Father mentioned that he grew up during the peak of Apartheid in South Africa where fraternising with people of colour was a taboo. And that to see the very next generation in his family look beyond all these material differences was just so heartwarming! Prathama’s Father on the other hand quoted Indian Astronaut Rakesh Sharma - “People always ask me what I looked for when I first viewed Earth from orbit. Well, the thing that astronauts of other countries did was to look out for their country. And that's exactly what I did. It was a wonderful sight and when our then Prime Minister Smt Indira Gandhi asked me what India looked like, I told her: Saare Jahan Se Achchha (the best in the world). Then, slowly, you begin to realise that borders are not visible from space and then you start looking at your country as part of a whole and the whole being planet Earth itself. You come back feeling how fragile the planet is and how it needs to be protected.” Different perspectives, similar inferences!

I think I’ve said enough. So let’s see some pictures from the wedding, shall we?! :)

Photography: Elvin ‘Almost International‘ Jacob
MUH: Shubhraseema Nayak / Manu’s Midas Touch
Venue: MAYFAIR Lagoon, Bhubaneswar
Entertainment Courtesy: Pruthwiraj Panigrahi, Anashwara Radhakrishnan, Prasunna KP
Special Mention: Plasma :)

Sneha & Manoj | Hindu Tamil - Sindhi Wedding | Bengaluru

Most love stories have three versions - Her Story, His Story and The Actual Story. The love story of Sneha and Manoj also has three versions - One for Sneha’s family, One for Manoj’s family and lastly ‘The Actual Story’ that only Sneha and Manoj know of! :D I sincerely hope their families never get to read this blog so that Sneha’s and Manoj’s secret remains safe ;) Oh and yes, if you know them personally, ask Manoj why he likes to rub his nose on Sneha’s cheeks :D

Sneha’s & Manoj’s wedding was the perfect fusion of the legendary punctuality of Tamil Brahmin Weddings and the outrageously high energy levels that Sindhi weddings are famous for. It was three days of almost non-stop wedding celebrations for their family and friends. Legend has it some of them are still dancing :)

I personally consider this as one of my favourite weddings of 2018. Be it Sneha sporting jewellery designed by her own Mother (Sarita Aunty) or the family portrait at Manoj’s place on a swing that has been with the family for several decades - the warmth felt real.  

Photography: Elvin Jacob, Nishal Lama
Traditional Photography & Videography: Sudheer Hebbar, Revanna, Prasad
MUA (Mehendi/Sangeet/Reception): Kulsum Parvez
MUA (Engagement/Wedding): Shreya and Chandini Asrani
DJ: Vipul Khurana
Wedding Film: NJM Productions
Venues: Radisson Blu Atria (Bengaluru), Taj Westend (Bengaluru), ISKCON (Bengaluru)

Anupama & Vineeth | Traditional Malayali Hindu Temple Wedding | Trivandrum

Hindu Weddings in Kerala are famously short. They are simpler, calmer and quite often, very relaxed. Anupama & Vineeth got married in a similar and traditional ceremony in Trivandrum’s Shanghumugham Devi Temple. Upon checking the timestamps, I realized that the actual wedding ceremony lasted just over 10 minutes! This duration isn’t even enough for a warmup in many Indian wedding ceremonies. And here, the entire wedding ceremony was over!

During the wedding, I befriended Veda and Vihaan - Vineeth’s niece and nephew, respectively. And they turned out to be pretty good with the camera for their age. In fact, some of the photos they took ended up in the final wedding set. Cool huh?! :)

Photography: Elvin Jacob
Wedding Venue: Shanghumugham Devi Temple, Trivandrum
Reception Venue: Trivandrum Golf Club

Srishti & Vishal | Vedic Hindu Wedding | Isha Yoga, Coimbatore & Ooty

Srishti - "Elvin! We are getting married in Isha Yoga, Coimbatore and I want you to shoot our wedding."
Me - "So Cool! I would love to shoot your wedding."
Srishti - "But you won't be allowed to shoot the actual wedding." 
Me - "Huh?!!!"

So Srishti & Vishal are Sadhguru followers and they hired me to shoot their wedding in July. And I ended up shooting everything but the actual wedding. :) Instead, Srishti & Vishal invited me to attend their intimate wedding at Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore. Thanks to them, I got to witness one of THE MOST beautiful weddings that I have ever seen. Their wedding was conducted as per ancient Hindu customs. The setting, music and rituals were such that everyone just kept mum and participated in the wedding. Read more about this vedic Vivaha here.  Also, photos can not do justice to the statue of Lord Shiva at Isha Yoga. It's HUUUUUGGGGEEE!

Needless to say, the wedding was an emotional affair. Srishti & Vishal couldn't really hold back their tears. I get laughed at often for admitting this, but it's easy to get me all emotional. I have shot many a Vidaais with blurry vision (Thank God for Auto Focus!). This wedding wasn't very different. 

Srishti & Vishal did have some rituals as per North Indian customs at Coimbatore and later in Ooty, that I got to photograph.  Throughout the wedding, Srishti had an infectious but reassuring smile on her face. Vishal, on the other hand, had a calm demeanour. And they are both Doctors. So if I am ever ill, and I get doctors with faces like theirs, I know I would already be on the road to recovery.

Photography: Elvin Jacob
Wedding Film: Amal Roy Films
Jaimala Venue: Celebrity Resorts, Coimbatore
Wedding Venue:Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore
Pheras & Cocktail Venue: Sterling Ooty Elk Hill, Ooty
Special Thanks: Tanjul Sarkar and Pranjal Patel

Devika & Satyen | Hindu Kannadiga Tamil Wedding | Bengaluru

Satyen's & Devika's wedding reaffirmed my faith in intimate weddings. They took their vows surrounded by close family and thick friends from all stages of their life. Speeches by their friends during the Sundowner left many teary-eyed and left some paralyzed with laughter. It was truly heart-warming to see the union of this 'two souls, one heart' couple :)

Read more

Svana & Santosh | Hindu Kannadiga Wedding | Bengaluru

Svana & Santosh joined the gym separately with the sole intention of walking out fit. While they did walk out fully toned, neither of them expected to meet, fall in love and walk out of the gym with another fully toned person!

Spread over three days, the couple celebrated their coming together in front of an intimate crowd  of family and friends.  I've got to mention the bride's niece Zola here, who was the most popular girl (after the bride of course!) on those three days! We even discussed Peppa Pig, after the wedding! :)

Lastly, special thanks to Nilma Dileepan from With Love, Nilma :) Thankoo!

Photography: Elvin Jacob
Traditional Videography & Photography: Kumar NK & Venkatesh
Wedding Venue: Fiestaa Resort, Bengaluru

Pooja & Jason | CSI Christian Wedding | Vellore

Hearing the word '2015 Floods' brings bad memories rushing to the minds of those who were in Chennai at that time. But for Pooja & Jason, it's the 'official' start of their love story. I say 'official', 'cause they'd already met while working in California earlier. And Jason's heroic efforts to ask her out for a coffee had bombed. Not once but thrice. :)

So Pooja was stuck in office due to heavy rains and sent out a distress email to colleagues asking if someone was going towards Mandavelli, so that she could also tag along. Jason, being the gentleman he is, responded to the email and volunteered to drop her, since his Aunt too lived in Mandavelli. But Jason really had no Aunt living in Mandavelli! :) Classic Move, Jason! Classic Move, Mate!! Pooja agreed, but hit the 'Reply All' button while responding to Jason's email. And we all know how dangerous that can be! Next day, everyone wanted to know details of their first drive!

Fast forward two years, Pooja & Jason tied the knot at a cozy church in Tirupattur, Vellore this December. Jason's parents and even his grandparents had gotten married in the same church! So the wedding was even more emotional. During makeup, Jason walked in to steal a glance at Pooja. Seeing her dressed in a stunning wedding gown, I think Jason's eyes welled up a little. During the entire ceremony, I think Jason couldn't believe he was getting married to Pooja and hence kept looking at her - a fact well documented :) The sincerity in their love towards each other was easy to perceive. How nice it feels to see couples committing to each other for life, especially in this day and age of failing relationships!

And yes, I ate some kickass Ambur Biryani and watched NatGeo in Tamil during my time in Tirupattur. Highly Recommended!

Photography: Elvin Jacob
Wedding Film: Studio F3
MUA: Suresh Menon
Wedding Dress Designer: Ashwin Thiyagarajan
Wedding Venue: CSI Christ Church, Tirupattur
Reception Venue: Nandhini Mahal, Tirupattur

P.S. Pooja & Jason are just adorable and left me a beautiful testimonial, that got me overwhelmed. You can read it here :)

Ruth's First Eleven Months - Family Documentary Photography

As some of you already know, my daughter Ruth will turn one this December. Despite being a photographer, I am terrible at documenting my own family. However, somehow I ended up taking a few photos of her & Rini. It’s only after I laid all the photos down last month, did I realise how important it was to capture a baby’s first few days/weeks/months. So I have decided to gift the same experience to five to-be-parents out there, for free, in 2018!

I am looking for couples:

  • Who are expecting a baby in the coming months and are willing to let me photograph them and their baby’s first few days.
  • Who don’t mind letting the beautiful and not-so-beautiful sights captured - after all, they complete the story together!
  • Who are not interested in candy floss shoots with props or cake smashes, but who would appreciate real, unposed moments being captured.
  • Who have an extra couch that I can crash on for 2-3 nights - I might end up shooting for 48-72 hours, or even more!

Please note that I will be only shooting babies below the age of six weeks as part of this project! :( I intend to shoot families with older babies in the second leg of this project!

Sharing a few photos of Ruth’s first year. I intend to produce photographs beyond the style spectrum, as seen in this post.

If you are expecting a baby or know someone who is, please drop me an email on ej@elvinjacob.com before Dec 31, 2017, explaining why/how this shoot will be important for you. Among the mails received, I will be selecting five couples and announcing their names on my Facebook & Instagram profiles, in January first week. And I hope to start shooting from February 2018.

Please share this blogpost with anyone you think might be interested! TIA!