Sahithi & Kedar’s Wedding in Bahrain
I barely had any space to move. I could maybe move about 1 inch in any direction. The videographer was right beside me, our shoulders touching, taking up as little space as we could in the chaotic crowd of over 130 people, on a small 25 X 25 foot platform. My hair, which had started in a tight ponytail, was saturated with rice and turmeric, whipping violently into my face from the strong gusts of wind, obstructing my vision.
My eyes felt like sandpaper because, along with the strong winds, came the tiniest grains of pelting sand. I was being jostled by people trying to get into a good position with their cell phones. I was knocked off balance as I precariously squatted, trying to hold my ground against the mosh pit, my thighs burning with lactic acid. From above I heard a loud crack. I looked over at the videographer and saw fear in his eyes. Oh shit, this structure is coming down, and we’re in it.
I looked behind to see all of Sahithi’s cousins struggling to hold up the side of the structure. The structure that took 6 full weeks to build and decorate was falling apart, with 130 people in its grasp. It was by far the most chaotic ceremony we have ever photographed.
In the midst of this absolute panic and chaos, in the midst of this middle eastern sandstorm, was the eye of the storm. A place of calm. Sahithi and Kedar staring into each other’s eyes, oblivious to absolutely everything. Oblivious to the sandstorm that stung my eyes. Oblivious to the collapsing structure. Oblivious to the uncle who was aggressively yelling at me in the middle of the ceremony to get out of the mandap. Oblivious to the hoards of people, jostling, trying to get a shitty photo with their cellphones. Oblivious to it all. They were the eye of the storm, and we got to photograph it. Eyes stinging, hair whipping, thighs burning, forearms cramping, we got to photograph the beauty within this chaos.
When we showed up for Sahithi and Kedar’s wedding in Bahrain, I don’t think we knew quite what we were getting into. Having photographed several Telugu weddings, we sorta knew what to expect, but the extent of this wedding’s festivities was second to none. Bartenders from Turkey, a festival band from Paris, an entire construction team to build a one-of-a-kind mandap on a remote island (of which they had to build a bridge to access). Fire dancers, whirling dervish, not one but TWO world class wedding planning teams. And, that’s just the tip! Throw in a tropical sandstorm, in the middle of the ceremony, Sahithi and Kedar’s wedding was legitimately OFF THE HOOK. Four days of non-stop partying. 87,543 photos later, we came home with a new benchmark of what it means to “work a wedding.”
Too many incredible humans to thank for this one (see the extraordinary list of professionals below). But we can’t not thank one of the best photography assistants and alumnus known Two Mann. Geeshan travelled from Dubai to work his ass off (and save ours). Geeshan, you rock!
And of course, the biggest thanks to Sahithi and Kedar. They sought us out from half way across the planet, and trusted us to do what we do! We’ll never forget you and your legendary wedding!
Photography by Two Mann Studios
Videography by Chai Motion Pictures
Event assistance — Weddings and Events Co.
Venue — Jumeirah Gulf of Bahrain
Videography — Chai Motion Pictures
Assistant photography — Geeshan Bandara
Make-up — Namrata Soni
Florals — Alia Flowers
Attire — Taruntahilani
Jewelry — Kishands Jewelry
Music — Festival Band
Bartending — Alcoholoco