“We spoke with a few photographers, but the vibe and connection with Leigh was instant. She was so positive and open to listening to our needs, understanding the cultural aspects that would be needed, willing to do the research and customized a package for us that would include our multiple event wedding weekend! We could not be more thrilled with our galleries!!! The photos that Leigh takes not only exhibit every detail that we would want, but also bring out the love and happiness we felt and continue to feel when we look at them! We want to use our photos and our wedding to increase the diversity and inclusivity scene in Charleston, we are thrilled to have Leigh be a part of this journey! 100% would recommend her over and over again! “- Krutika & Brad

This Wedding was Featured on The Knot!

Charleston Indian Fusion Wedding

Krutika & Brad’s Charleston Indian fusion wedding was a two-day multicultural celebration of love! All events including the turmeric ceremony, rehearsal dinner, Indian wedding ceremony and reception were held at Harborside East in Mount Pleasant, SC.  This springtime wedding was super festive and joyous with its vibrant color palette and rituals. It was totally amazing to photograph!

How Krutika & Brad Met

The couple met on a dating app called Coffee Meets Bagel. They hit it off very quickly due to interesting pictures, witty banter, and a large helping of sarcasm.  However, Brad almost ruined everything by saying he had heard about this great restaurant they should try for their first date called Chili’s!  He was joking of course and the couple ended up going to Prohibition for their first date. In order to honor their first date they even started off their engagement photo session at the same bar.

From the very beginning, Brad & Krutika were intentional about what they were looking for in a relationship and in a partner. Subsequently, they were #PleasantlySurprised at how easily the pieces fell into place. Brad proposed with a gorgeous solitaire diamond ring from Brilliant Earth.

Prewedding Rituals

Their Charleston Indian fusion wedding was filled with traditional Hindu ceremonies.  For example, wedding festivities were kicked off with a Haldi ceremony. During this pre-wedding ritual, family members and the wedding party painted the bride and groom’s faces and bodies with turmeric paste. This is traditionally done in order to bring the couple good luck as well as brighten their skin tone for their big day.

Later on that evening after getting cleaned up they held their rehearsal dinner. It was immensely colorful with orange, purple, and hot pink Indian decor.  Guests were offered Mehendi, which is when henna paste is used to decorate hands in elaborate intricate designs. After dinner, there was lively dancing with metal dancing sticks. This joyous energy propelled this multicultural wedding into full hype mode!

Wedding Day Preparations

Groom’s Baraat

When the groom and his groomsmen arrived at the venue the next day, they were met with music and dancing by the bride’s mother, family, and friends. They all joined in together in a parade, also known as a Baraat. This is by the far the coolest entrance into a wedding that I’ve ever seen! Brad was ceremoniously welcomed by the bride’s family by being given akshat (a kind of rice), tilak (a dot on the forehead), arati (a plate carrying a lighted lamp), and a garland before making his way to the mandap for the ceremony.

Indian Fusion Wedding Ceremony

Krutika & Brad merged traditional Indian and Western elements for their wedding ceremony.  For instance, the ceremony was held outside under a Mandap. Additionally, they incorporated a bridal party and exchanged vows. Krutika was given away in a ritual called Kanya Daan. Then the couple exchanged floral garlands known as Jay Mala that symbolized their desire to be married to one another in addition to their family connection.

There was a sacred fire in the center of the mandap which symbolized giving life to the marriage. The couple walked around this fire four times (Mangalphera). Each turn represented a major goal in life: Dharma, morality; Artha, prosperity; Kama, personal gratification; and Moksha, spirituality. Afterwards, the Krutika and Brad took seven steps as they vowed to support each other and live happily together. This is known as the Saptapadi. Each step represented a marital vow and a promise to be take care and be committed to each other.

Next, the couple fed each other sweets signifying their first meal together as husband and wife. This demonstrated that they would share all things in life.  Lastly, Brad tied a necklace made of gold and black beads around the Krutika’s neck as a gift. This was special as the necklace belonged to her mom and was given to her by her dad.

This final step, along with the American tradition of exchanging vows and rings completed the act of marriage. Instead of a single officiant conducting the Western ceremony, Brad and Krutika split it into two parts with one bridesmaid and one groomsman officiating. This was a unique and personal touch that allowed them to include more of their wedding party in the ceremony.

Blended Reception

After both ceremonies, the wedding reception was held onsite with indoor and outdoor seating. Harborside East was decorated elegantly with blush pink and white roses and floating candle centerpieces. The DJ played a blend of traditional and non-traditional Indian and American music. Furthermore, the cuisine was a combination of Indian and American food. This provided a range of different flavors for the guests to enjoy. For dessert, local ice cream shop, Off Track Ice Cream, hand scooped ice cream for guests. This was especially meaningful as Krutika and Brad’s favorite date activity is getting ice cream together.

In conclusion, this Charleston Indian Fusion Wedding was the perfect merger of two cultures and families! I’m so happy Krutika & Brad chose me because of my international experience to document their fun filled multicultural wedding!!

The Best Charleston Indian Fusion Wedding Vendors:

Bride & Groom: @tika-brad @krutu8 @brad_h

Photography: @leighhaywardphotography

Ring Designer: @brilliantearth

Invitations: @Vistaprint

Bride and Groom Attire:@Ladlee_Atlanta @Mirage_sarees

Bridesmaids: @sanskruticreations @mirage_sarees

Makeup/ Hair Artist:@JennyLemua @SilhouetteonSite @beauty.b0ss

Wedding Planner: @AnmolKismetweddings

Event Rentals: @Snyderevents

Getting Ready Venue: @embassysuites_charlestonharbor

Reception Venue: @HarborsideEast

Videography: @gladfilms

Lighting/ DJ: @BunnDJchs; @bunndjjuan

Florals & Draping: @dvinesavannah

Catering: @Saltworkscc @BombayIndianRestaurant @offtrackicecream

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