Shreya & Mano’s Telugu Wedding | Hyderabad, India

This improbable story begins with deep fried churros in Disneyland and ends with panfried paratha in India.

Let’s start at the end, in a love-filled home in Vijayawada, India, where Shreya, Erika, Mano and I are savouring delicious home-made paratha, lovingly prepared by Mano’s mom. By now, Shreya and Mano’s friends and family feel like our friends and family. Surrounding us on the walls of this home wherein Mano grew up, are picture-frames beholding historical wedding photographs from generations past. In my pocket, securely fastened to my belt loop, are memory cards containing photographic documentation of all that has transpired throughout the last 4 days … a pocket full of memories not unlike – but very unlike – the archaic wedding photos on these walls. We’re exhausted and preparing for our inter-continental commute back home … but we’re smiling … reminiscing … and dreaming, which is how it all began.

In a quiet nook of The Hundred Acre Woods, 6 months earlier, Erika and I were hunkered down around our phone, cheek-to-cheek, sharing a churro and our single pair of headphones. It was the only place we could find relative peace and quiet in the facade of The Happiest Place on Earth. Travel schedules, time zones, citizenship complications and countless other circumstances had all conspired to render this our one and only opportunity to finally meet Shreya and Mano. And so, as our kids flew over Neverland with cousins and grandparents; Shreya, Mano, Erika and I hatched a fantastic plan to get us and our cameras to Hyderabad, India to document their 4-day Telugu wedding celebrations. We had no idea what we were in for!

30 hours of planes, trains and rickshaws brought us half way around the world to Golkonda Resort outside the madness of Hyderabad. There, we witnessed a small army (namely Adda Events, Ultima Events and Celebrations, and the remarkably talented Suma Korapati) essentially transform the already tranquil grounds into a shining ethereal oasis. Figuratively and literally, the stage had been set.

Words cannot describe that which would transpire throughout the following 4 days (and we couldn’t understand a single word of the commentary which attempted to). What we witnessed and documented was essentially a non-stop, swirling, whirling celebration of sacred earth, fire, water, air, and turmeric… so much turmeric! Most of the time, we had no idea what was happening… but we were absolutely enthralled with it all… the symbolic rituals… the flavourful foods… the rich colours…  the music and dance (Zinx Band was incredible)… the ceremonious food fights… the staff who were absolutely bent on ensuring every wedding guest had the time of their lives, and especially, the unbridled bonds of love.

From Shreya’s hometown of Hyderabad, we all travelled 300 kilometres to Mano’s hometown of Vijayawada where hundreds of well-wishers showered Shreya and Mano in thousands of flower petals to the remarkable tunes of IndoSoul. Which brings us back to Mano’s home, his mom’s paratha, and those historic framed wedding prints. It was a perfect, fitting end to 4 days we’ll never forget.

A special thank you to our friends and alumni, Sam & Ekta and Namrata for their valuable help, and to Chai Motion Pictures who were awesome to work alongside (we can’t wait to see their film). Teamwork made the dream work.

Shreya and Mano, what can we say? You and your families trusted us with wide open hearts. We hope these photos help keep these memories alive in your families for generations to come!

  • Silhouettes of bride and groom walking hand in hand with foreground of sparkling lights on the ground at night
  • Groom is seen illuminated in the washroom of pool side house
  • Groom gets his makeup done
  • A bride gets her eye makeup done
  • A groom gets his makeup done
  • A bride and her reflection are seen as she gets her lip makeup done
  • A groom and his groomsman prepare for the ceremony
  • Silhouette of groom and groomsmen dancing in a room with a reflection of themselves and trees on the pool
  • A man blowing fog on the wedding lawn
  • Groom and groomsmen dance at party with sparkling lights reflecting on the floor
  • Bride and groom sing accompanied by the band among lights
  • Bride lifts her arms in the air and dances
  • Bride and groom sing and dance at pre-wedding party
  • Guests sing and dance at pre-wedding celebration
  • Dancing at pre-wedding celebration
  • Happy guests dance and smoke at pre-wedding celebration
  • Bride and groom stand hand in hand on a lawn lined with lights
  • Indian groom undergoes wedding ceremony involving rice
  • Telugu wedding tradition of pouring turmeric paste on the groom's head
  • An Indian groom at turmeric ceremony
  • Family members and friend apply turmeric paste on groom's head
  • Little girl watches the ceremony of applying turmeric paste on an Indian bride
  • A happy Indian bride at turmeric ceremony
  • Side profile of an Indian bride with splashes of water around her head at pre-wedding celebration
  • Tradition of a senior blessing the Indian bride
  • Indian bride winces as water is poured over her head
  • Throwing flower petals on the head of an Indian bride
  • Wedding guests form a dance train in the pool
  • A man stands in a pool with a tray of drinks on his head
  • Kids play in the pool
  • Man standing in pool has drinks poured into his mouth
  • An Indian bride's mehndi feet and hands
  • A groom massages his face after shaving
  • Applying mehndi on hand of the bride
  • Helping the groom with his attire
  • Women apply makeup and hair pins for the bride
  • Indian women tie circlet for the groom
  • Drawing a mark on the forehead of an Indian bride
  • Groom embraces bride from behind inside of an ancient structure
  • An bride's wedding ring on top of her mehndi hand art
  • A happy Indian bride holds groom's arm in a ancient structure
  • Silhouette of groom embracing bride from behind in front of an ancient structure and with a foreground of looming trees
  • Man wearing traditional Indian attire at pre-wedding celebration
  • A groom puts on his shirt
  • A groom washes his feet in the tub
  • Applying mehndi on feet of groom
  • Indian women tie head belt for the groom
  • Doing makeup before wedding ceremony
  • Indian mehndi hands design
  • Preparing for wedding ceremony
  • An Indian bride puts her hand on circlet
  • Attaching head jewelry for the groom
  • Groom puts on his dress shirt in front of a mirror
  • An Indian groom ties turban while looking into a mirror
  • Families walking an Indian groom to the ceremony under a mandap
  • Groom and guests wearing sandals walk across stone path
  • An Indian groom drinks under mandap
  • Groom can be seen behind women wearing colorful attire
  • An Indian groom with sunglasses at wedding ceremony
  • Indian wedding tradition of washing the feet of the groom
  • Bride kisses the hand of a senior
  • Indian bride walks to the ceremony with bridal party under a floral mandap
  • Groom sits and reflects before wedding ceremony
  • An Indian bride sits with parents behind a curtain
  • Bride sits behind a curtain
  • Bride and groom touch each other's heads across a curtain
  • Bride and groom touch each other's heads by one hand at ceremony
  • Bride and groom sitting face to face while placing turmeric paste on each other's heads
  • Groom touches the head of the bride during Indian wedding ceremony
  • Man sprinkles material on bride and groom during an Indian wedding ceremony
  • Indian wedding tradition of throwing rice on heads of bride and groom
  • Indian bride and groom smile while family sprinkle rice on them during wedding ceremony
  • Smiling Indian bride and groom at wedding ceremony
  • Senior hugs with bride and groom
  • Friends and family with photographer photography Indian wedding ceremony
  • Indian bride pours rice over head of groom
  • Indian bride and groom pour rice on each other as a part of the wedding ceremony
  • An Indian bride is showered with rice by her friends and family
  • Mehndi feet of Indian bride and groom
  • An Indian groom places flower petals on bride's head at wedding ceremony
  • An Indian groom puts a garland on the bride
  • Smiling Indian bride with many colorful garlands
  • Emotional Indian bridal couple at wedding
  • Happy bridal couple sit in a rain of flower petals
  • Lanny Mann motions that he sees the perfect shot at a wedding ceremony
  • Placing flower petals on groom's head
  • Newlyweds smile and gasp as people throw flower petals on them
  • Friends and family place petals on groom's head
  • Silhouette of groom and bride embracing in an ancient Indian temple
  • Blurred lines of light and shadowed trees in the background surround a wedding couple