It was like we were living in a beautiful fantasy, or more specifically, Anika’s beautiful fantasy. Even now, as I look back on these photographs, it feels like a dream, too incredible for reality. I had photographed Anika and Vijay’s unique and very sweet proposal last year, but for their wedding, they gave me the wonderful and rare opportunity to attend as a regular guest. Anika and Vijay hosted us in Suryagarh Palace out in the western deserts of India for all three days of their wedding. They were the perfect hosts, thinking of everything, taking care of everything, and giving us such amazing surprises around every corner. There was simply too much to fit into one blog post, so I will be sharing the wedding in two parts, out of five total posts from the India trip.
After sitting in a bus for six hours for the trek from Jodhpur out to Jaisalmer, we arrived to this beautiful palace scene.
The staff took care of all our luggage as we checked into our rooms. The first event, the Sufi Mehfil, had originally been scheduled for 6pm, but since all the guests arrived three or more hours late, they simply pushed back the events to later that night.
The lighting for each event created such interesting spaces for all of the different wedding celebrations. Each day in an Indian wedding there are about three to four different events, and for Anika and Vijay’s, no two sets were ever repeated, from the food to the flowers to the lighting to the actual areas of the palace where they took place– workers worked tirelessly around the clock creating these scenes and experiences for all of us.
Spotting the groom on the dance floor! Live music was played by the musicians on stage.
Waking up to a palace at dawn…
On Friday morning, we got up from our palace suites and I saw these beautiful silks being prepared for the Mehndi party later that afternoon.
All around the palace, beautiful little vignettes.
Thanks to jetlag, Jesse and I were both up right at 7:30 for breakfast, and we were literally the first to arrive, so we got a full tour of all of the options.
I don’t know where this golden retriever came from, but I befriended him. He matched the color of this desert palace perfectly.
More details all around Suryagarh.
And then, it was time for the Mehndi party– henna tattoos and more food!
I decided to get my henna done on my palms, and even now, there’s the faintest trace of it on my left palm still.
Once you get henna done, you can’t really do anything for a while until it dries.
The food was just endless. At every event, there were choices upon choices, with eighty-some of the staff members being chefs serving us different entrees at every meal. The caterer proudly promised that no two courses would ever be repeated across all three days.
They had some fun kite flying too, which is competitive with nature, where you try to cut your opponent’s string. I just loved spools of thread, just as colorful as everything in an Indian wedding.
Anika and her mother– This was Anika’s second outfit of the wedding, and of course she was gorgeous in every single costume change.
Between the Mehndi party and the Sangeet at night, we went on a bit of an excursion, but I will have to share that in the next post! And so we skip to night two in the palace– on Friday night, the Sangeet party.
The central courtyard was lit in purples and greens
There were a series of speeches and dance performances– this one from Anishka, the bride’s younger sister.
More food! And a giant peacock made of flowers!
Vijay and Anika sat in their swing-chair throne, surrounded by chains of orchids.
Incredible, right? And that’s only half of the story.
Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco but often jetsetting around the world. Follow her on facebook for more photography and travel adventures.
Part 1: Delhi | India Travel Photography, Part 1 of 5
Part 2: Anika & Vijay’s Wedding | Suryagarh Palace | India Travel Photography, Part 2 of 5
Part 3: Camel Rides at Sunset | Sam Sand Dunes | India Travel Photography, Part 3 of 5
Part 4: The Golden City | Jaisalmer | India Travel Photography, Part 4
Part 5: Anika & Vijay’s Wedding | Suryagarh Palace | India Travel Photography, Part 5 of 5