Indian weddings frequently entail elaborate and colourful rituals, not to mention guest lists that can easily balloon to the size of a small town. By holding their wedding in Cancun, Nina and Anesh kept their guest list to a minimum, but the opposite was true for their wedding ceremony. Not only did they participate in a Hindu ceremony, but also in a traditional Mayan wedding ceremony; at home in Canada they tied the knot for a third time with a civil ceremony. Read on as the team of Derek Campbell and Lorena Jaimes of Photos in Cancun share their experiences of this multi-faith, three-day destination wedding in Cancun, Mexico.
Words and photography by Derek Campbell and Lorena Jaimes
A photographer’s dream
A Hindu wedding ceremony is a lot of work to plan whether at home or elsewhere. The ceremonies are very traditional and you can not overlook any steps along the way.
When Photos In Cancun had a chance to meet with a couple regarding their upcoming Hindu and Mayan destination wedding ceremonies, we were excited. Both Lorena and I have both grown up in very multicultural cities and enjoy friends from all walks of life, but to be able to document a ceremony with this degree of detail and planning can only be described as a photographer’s dream.
The Mayan wedding ceremony
Nina and Anesh had both a Hindu wedding and a Mayan ceremony. These were held on separate dates, but at the same venue: the Sunset Princess Hotel and Spa in Mayan Riviera, Quintana Roo, Mexico. The Princess is an exceptionally large hotel catering to any event and the grounds are very lush and green.
These photos only tell a small part of the story.
The Hindu wedding ceremonies
According to the Hindu belief, marriage should be considered a lifelong social and spiritual responsibility. Married life is considered an opportunity for two people to grow from life partners into soul mates.
There are many elements to a Hindu wedding ceremony, with the most important being the Saptapadi (“seven rounds”) where the couple conduct seven circuits of the Holy Fire (“Agni”), which is considered a witness to the vows they make each other.
With each circuit, the couple makes a specific vow to establish some aspect of a happy relationship and household for each other:
1. To provide a prosperous life for the household or the family that they will look after, and to avoid those that might hinder this
2. To develop their physical, mental and spiritual powers in order to lead a healthful lifestyle
3. To earn a living by righteous and proper means, and increase it so that their materialistic wealth increases manifold
4. To acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love, respect, understanding and faith
5. To have children, for whom they will be responsible
6. To pray for self-control of the mind, body and soul and longevity of their marital relationship
7. To promise that they will be true and loyal to each other and will remain companions and best of friends throughout their lifetime.
Nina and Anesh’s friends practised for months so that they could play and sing live Indian music on the day–despite the fact that none of them spoke a word of Hindi or were from the Hindu culture. It was mighty impressive to say the least.
Hindu weddings have many different elements to the various ceremonies. This next one was fun to watch and to listen, too. The sticks are called dandiya sticks. Once everyone gets a hang on the underlying rhythm they can be used to make music.
Everywhere you look there is a bright colour or a decoration of some sort, and the nights are filled with music and food. This is a wedding we won’t ever forget! Thank you, Nina & Anesh.