Posts tagged “Southeast Asian Brides

Lena + Avi || Russo’s On The Bay Weddings

Wedding season is in full swing now, and we are particularly excited to be sharing this couple’s wedding day celebration on the blog.

It wasn’t until a few months ago that we learned exactly how Lena and Avi came to know about us. The first message we received from them made a vague reference to a Michigan wedding that Dreamlite photographed back in 2012. Many months went by before we learned that it was Avi’s very own sister who got married way back in 2012, and it was Lena whose slackline photo we posted up on our facebook page.

Lena and Avi’s love story began at the most unlikely of places– on the volleyball court. We don’t know the full details about the first time they met, but we heard their fellow volleyball players were pushing for them to meet their “other volleyball half”. Ten years later, and here we are today, honoring their special day.

Their incredible celebration certainly made up for it the gloomy weather we had in store. Between the endlessly vibrant colors to the uniquely Southeast Asian music, the day was definitely filled to the brim with excitement and memorable moments. Unique to their wedding, though, were two traditions we hadn’t ever witnessed before. During the ceremony, the groom’s family presented a manthrakodi (saree) to the bride, as a significantly beautiful gesture of welcoming her into the family. In addition, a special necklace pendant was made using 7 strands taken from that same manthrakodi, with the numerical 7 symbolizing the Sabbath. Hanging on that necklace is a gold leaf with the christian cross, a direct reference to symbolism between marriage and the relationship of the church with Christ (as noted in the Bible).

Above all else, we’re very thankful for having the chance to spend the day celebrating with Lena and Avi. Neither the clouds nor the rain kept them from remembering what was most important- celebrating their Marriage with loves ones, and not simply just having a wedding.

Special thanks to the staff at Russo’s on the Bay for hosting a flawlessly wonderful wedding reception, and to Ben Tiu + videography team at 162 Productions for being so much fun to work alongside. Also, credit to Jen ( and Crystal ( for their professional make-up artistry!

Congratulations once again to Avi and Lena!



Stan + Alyssa || Battleground Country Club Weddings

We are both incredibly excited to be sharing some of our favorite images from Alyssa + Stan’s wedding celebration. Being our first Indian Christian wedding as a team, we couldn’t get enough of the colors + moments + cultural aspects that we encountered. More importantly, we were humbled by all the time the couple set aside to honor their own friends and throughout the day.

We started our photography at nearby hotels, moved onto the Abundant Life Church of God in Freehold, and proceeded with the celebration at the Battleground Country Club. From sparklers to games and joyously-tearful speeches, we almost didn’t want the wedding day to end. Beyond the creativity + colors + laughter + tears, we clearly recognized how rich this couple was in their relationships. The entire day was evident in how much their valued their relationships with everyone present, and how important their faith was in their marriage.

Special shout out to Stan and his ministry work here at We Ar3 Change.

Congratulations once again to our bride and groom on their wedding! And to see more of our work, follow us here on facebook:



Amy + Peter || The Mansion at Bretton Wood

One wedding day, two ceremonies, three rings, and four outfits… if we told you our 13-hour work day was exhausting, imagine standing in the bride & grooms’ shoes. Thankfully, all four of us made it through the day with gigantic smiles, an overflow of wonderful memories, and a dozen memory cards bursting with photos.

We had the absolute privilege of documenting this lovely couple’s wedding celebration last weekend. Together, they combined their families (and cultural heritages) for a fantastic + colorful multicultural wedding day. First came the Hindu marriage ceremony, followed by a traditional Catholic wedding ceremony. Colors, details, sweets, humor… they included it all. Symbolism was a key feature in their ceremonies– from the first moment they joined hands (the hasta melap and kanyadaan) to the various garlands + cords joining them together– the deep symbolism and richness of colors never cease to amaze us as photographers.

The evening was spent celebrating their new marriage as husband + wife– delicious cocktails, vast buffet options, and a whole lot of dancing.

We hope you all enjoy the little preview we’ve shared below. Please visit us on our facebook page to see more images! Enjoy!



Gayatri + Shiva (Day 1 of 2) || Darien, IL

We’re proud to feature Day 1 of Gayatri + Shiva’s traditional Hindu wedding celebration.

Of the 100+ weddings that we’ve had the opportunity to photograph over the last few years, we can recall only one other instance where we have started photographing before 5am. This Thursday celebration began bright and early around 4am. What began as a super-early start quickly transformed into an incredibly fun (yet rewarding) day of colors, celebration, laughs, and tradition. From the early morning wedding ceremony at the renowned Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago to the myriad of rich colors + textures, G + S’s wedding ceremony was simply unforgettable. We finished off the afternoon with a delicious vegetarian lunch banquet. Special thanks to Matt of  MSW Photos for assisting me on this day.



Deena + Dieter || Ann Arbor, MI

A few months after meeting Deena & Dieter at another Michigander wedding this past January (the bride was Dieter’s sister), they got in touch with me (Jon) and invited me to document their big wedding day on July 9th.

Fast forward to this past Monday. Nothing says unique like a wedding day filled with friends & family hailing from all over the world just to celebrate this wonderful couple’s marriage covenant.

Their wedding ceremony took place at AACRC, with readings + songs in both English and beautiful Malayalam. During the evening cocktail hour, Deena and Dieter brilliantly planned some very unique activities for their guests– games! From beanbag tosses to slacklining (and a whole lot more), this certainly is the coolest cocktail hour I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. The rest of the evening was spent honoring family & friends with, among other things, table games, speeches, toasts, and a humorous duet by the bride & groom themselves (if only I had a video camera…).

Below are some of my favorite images from their wedding day. Stay tuned for more images to come, and be sure to check us out on Facebook! Enjoy.


Maya + Pierre || Quakertown, PA

We’ve waited six months for this wedding day, and we’re thrilled to share some images from this Saturday’s celebration with Maya and Pierre.

Last November, we were honored to join this amazing couple for their engagement party at the Philadelphia Museum of Art– an evening so fantastic that we (of Dreamlite) couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks on end. Indeed, they were that kind of couple, and their party was that kind of awesome. Fast forward to this past weekend, where we documented Maya and Pierre’s catholic wedding ceremony at the Church of Saint Isidore in Quakertown, PA. Following their ceremony was a lunch reception at the Melt Restaurant, a new-americana food experience housed in an upscale setting. Thinking about their food still makes us salivate. Their evening celebration was one giant party, hosted at the bride’s familys’ estate, filled with hundreds of friends & family, delicious indian food (including a charcoal oven for fresh baked naan), and a whole lot of celebrating. From choreographed dance performances to comical music presentations by Pierre’s relatives (they flew in from France!), this truly unique wedding celebration could not be properly summarized by words alone.

Did we mention that our groom Pierre, a Parisian native, self-studied Hindi throughout the course of their dating life? If that isn’t a mark of real commitment, we don’t know what is. Better yet, when you check out the henna photos below… a word of advice: find someone who reads Hindi and see if you can find something ‘hidden’ within the henna.

For now, we’ll leave you with a whole set of teaser photos. Please enjoy them below, and follow us on facebook for more updates to come!


Maya + Pierre’s Engagement Party || Philadelphia Museum of Art

Both of us are so very grateful to have been a part of Maya + Pierre’s engagement celebration back in November. A few hours before the party began, we joined this lovely couple for a portrait session in & around the Philadelphia Museum of Art (we were even granted access into a recently installed exhibit within the Philadelphia Museum of Art– a Hindu Temple). Wherever we went, whatever we did, one thing was for certain: Maya + Pierre needed no prompting when it came to making each other laugh. In fact, their inter-relational goofiness added just the right touch to our session, making our jobs that much easier.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again… the rest of the night was one big party. The cocktail hour itself was fantastical- by and far, our favorite dish to eat that evening (in the rare moments we weren’t shooting, of course) was the kobe beef sliders. Coupled with a few heart-warming speeches, champagne toasts, and an even more amazing dinner selection, the night was finally topped off with lots and lots of dancing. Congratulations once again to Maya & Pierre, and we look forward to your wedding day in May!


Maya + Pierre’s Engagement Party Teasers || Philadelphia, PA

When Maya & Pierre contacted us to photograph their engagement party, we were ecstatic to learn it would take place at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Little did we know, not only did they reserve the whole museum (grand staircase and all), but they weren’t kidding when they told us it would be a “party”. Below are some of our favorite images from yesterday’s big celebration. Stay tuned for more images to come!


Raheel + Zoya Wedding (Day 2)

On the second day of their wedding celebration, Raheel and Zoya joined their loved ones at the Worlds Fair Marina Restaurant & Banquet Hall. Saturday’s schedule was a whole lot more relaxed; food, games, dancing, speeches and a full night of celebrating. As a photographer, observer and cultural outsider, it was fascinating to be immersed in a completely different kind of wedding than one I was use to. Many of the wedding practices had great significance behind them too; something that really made their two day celebration very special. When the Groom and his family entered the banquet hall, Zoya’s family showered rose petals on them as a traditional form of welcoming. When the time came, Zoya came out of the bridal room and proceeded to the ceremony area with her family members. Raheel and his family met them midway, whereupon the father of the bride symbolically joined their hands together– perhaps one of the most emotional moments of the evening. As husband and wife, they took their seats together on stage. After rounds of group photos and plenty of food, rings were exchanged and the cake was cut.

One of the most entertaining activities of the night came next: the “Juta Chupai” (the hiding of the shoe). In this lighthearted activity, the brides’ friends and family steal the groom’s wedding shoes. In order to get the shoes back, he must pay their requested ransom… in cash. After a little bargaining between both parties, the groomsmen pay the ransom and the game is complete. This payment (many hundreds of $$, believe it or not) also doubled as a thank-you gift for the tremendous amount of hours the bridesmaids devoted in making the wedding celebration happen… so obviously both sides bargained pretty tough.

The last few hours were celebrated with a whole lot of really fun dancing. In the final phase of the wedding ceremony, an event known as the “Rukhsati” took place. Zoya’s family gave their final blessings to the bride & groom, and wished them both a happy marriage. This was definitely the most emotional, tearful event for everybody. Although in many other cultures it may sound like a simple “goodbye”, for the bride’s family it was anything but. Her family was essentially saying farewell as Zoya literally ‘departed’ from her family’s household to join the new household that was her marriage. And my favorite images? The last three. In the few moments that the bride was alone, she is given her final, tear-filled goodbye by her own father.

Vendors for Day 2:
Videographer: Tee McKnight of KnightCap Productions
DJ & Entertainment: Rezi & Ash of Desi Club Djs
Reception: Worlds Fair Marina Restaurant & Banquet


Raheel + Zoya’s Wedding (Day 1)

Some time last summer, things got real crazy for us at Dreamlite. Our schedules were so over the top, we held off on uploading a half a dozen, full sets of wedding photos. It wasn’t that we were lazy; we simply didn’t want to upload a random assortment of photos, slap on some tag words and call it a day. You could say that we like to put in time, effort and a little bit of thought when composing posts for our blog. Well, here’s one of those exciting weddings you all missed out on. We’ve finally found time to share some of our favorite images with everyone, and here they are.

All in all, I (Jon) spent two and a half fantastic days with Raheel and Zoya. On one particular thursday evening, I met up for Raheel and Zoya to do their engagement photos in Central Park. Check out the full set here. The photos shown below are from that following Friday; a celebratory, prewedding tradition known as the Mehndi Ceremony. This ceremony centers around the celebration and honoring of the woman before she is “given away” by her family and friends in marriage. The women have henna intricately applied to their hands and feet, and everyone is dressed in vibrantly colorful attire. The bride-to-be, Zoya, was adorned with gorgeous jewelry, colorful garments and carefully applied henna on her hands and feet. In the end, this ceremony took place to both bless and celebrate the would-be-bride in the days before she becomes a wife.

After everyone had gathered for the marriage certificate signing with the Maulvi (religious officiant in white), traditional religious prayers were read and the certificate was signed. Raheel awaited on stage while his bride made her entrance alongside all the women from her family. The ceremony took place over a couple of hours- including Dholki (event where family members sit on the floor and sing traditional songs for the bride & groom), Mehndi Rasams (ceremonial activity involving the honorary feeding of sweets from relatives to the bride & groom), choreographed dancing and a slideshow presented by the bridesmaids. As with any indian/pakistani wedding celebration, you can’t expect to end the night without a whole lot of dancing.

Vendors for Day 1:
Videographer: Tee McKnight of KnightCap Productions
DJ & Entertainment: Rezi & Ash of Desi Club Djs