My apologies about the length of this post, we tried to show all 4 days with as few images as possible and still telling the story. Enjoy, this is a good one!
We have been sitting on this gorgeous Indian wedding for a while now and we are so excited to finally share these images with you! I know there were a lot of pictures to look at, but it was a huge wedding and I really wanted you to get a feel for the day and show the depth of this event, so thank you for your time! In all my years of photographing weddings and Indian weddings, I can confidently say I have never been witness to an event like this.
It is a true testament to the team we had working on this behind the scenes making everything come together in one seamless effort.
I first want to send out a HUGE thank you to Lauren with LOLA Events for helping write up this description, she knew more about this event than anyone and this event would not have been what it was with out her. Lauren worked so hard on this wedding along with Jesse Deckard with Event Creative, the staff at the Palmer House Hilton and last but not least, Vinay and Lisa. Second, I want to thank my team, Dustin Francis and Ryan Timm, for helping me document this event. It was one of the biggest weddings I have taken on and I could not have done this all without their help!
WEDDING COORDINATOR: Lauren Carter, LOLA Event Productions
VENUE: Jane Himmel, Palmer House
PHOTOGRAPHY and PHOTOBOOTH: Jen Badelamenti, Jen Lynne Photography (2nd and 3rd photographers: Dustin Francis and Ryan Timm)
VIDEOGRAPHY: Epic Motion (Highlight videos and elevator blooper can be seen here: Part 1 and Part 2)
Beauty: Facade Makeup Artistry
HOSPITALITY ATTENDANT: VIP Services
DÉCOR – SANGEET/ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS: Shaadi Creations
DÉCOR – HINDU CEREMONY: Ravi’s Mandaps
DÉCOR – WESTERN EVENTS: Jesse Deckard, Event Creative
SANGEET: Tabla Dhol
BARAAT/HINDU CEREMONY MUSIC: Tabla Dhol
WESTERN CEREMONY MUSIC: Rendezvous
RECEPTION MUSIC: Rendezvous
HORSE: Mahraja Farms
RICKSHAWS: Rickshaw Rick
BRIDAL PARTY TRANSPORTATION: Windy City Limo
Lisa and Vinay met through work at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. With the groom’s Indian heritage, the focus of the weekend was undoubtedly on the Indian cultural events and Hindu ceremonies. Though not a graphic designer, but a plastic surgeon, the groom designed the invitations and every paper etcetera throughout the weekend of events, including a custom monogram that he commissioned based on his illustration.Their four day wedding weekend was full of multiple events and ceremonies. The guest size at each event ranged from intimate settings with immediate family only, up to the full guest list of 350 guests.
The historic Palmer House Hilton hotel was originally built in 1871 and burned down only 13 days after opening in the Great Chicago Fire. Today, it is one of the city’s most opulent and historic properties, featuring multiple ballroom spaces, each with their own personality and architectural details, making it perfect for our event. With so many moving pieces and guests to accommodate, we utilized each of the major ballrooms within the hotel throughout the weekend, including the 4000 square foot penthouse suite. We essentially took over the property!
Friday: Bridal Mehndi and Haldi, Penthouse Suite – Palmer House
For the Mehndi and Haldi celebration, Lisa invited all the women up to her presidential suite to have dinner and get mehndi applied. It was a relaxed atmosphere and all the ladies seemed to really enjoy the night!
Saturday: Sangeet, Red Lacquer Room – Palmer House
The traditional pre-wedding party Sangeet featured a custom designed Indian menu. The décor featured mehndi inspired lighting designs projected onto the ceiling and dance floor and fuchsia lighting around the perimeter of the room. Two canopies on either side of the Red Lacquer Room housed an elevated cushion with silk pillows for the guests to relax while artists treated them to mehndi designs on their hands. After days of practice, cousins, siblings of the bride and groom and the bride and groom themselves surprised guests with a Bollywood inspired flash mob, followed by a men vs. women dance competition. The dances represented the Indian tradition of dance presentations for the bride and groom prior to the wedding.
With a high profile section of Millennium Park blocked off specifically for the groom’s ceremony, guests gathered to begin the day’s events. Just before leaving for the Sehra Bandi, we learned that Vinay and 14 of his groomsmen including Dustin, my 2nd photographer and one of the videographers, were stuck in the elevator on the way down from the hotel. After about 20 frantic minutes the Chicago Fire Department came to save the day. After the panic subsided, I think we all admitted that it was a much needed comedy relief!
Baraat – Parade Route from Millennium Park to the Hotel
The traditional white horse picked up the groom to begin the Baraat from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street at Wrigley Square. With a parade permit in hand, the Baraat continued 6 blocks, primarily down Wabash Avenue, concluding in front of the main Monroe entrance of the Palmer House – blocking traffic. The Baraat could be heard blocks away, with the drumming of a traditional Indian dhol group, rolling DJ and hundreds of guests adding with singing, dancing and percussion. I have never in my life seen anything like this. The excitement was evident on each person face as they danced down Michigan Avenue and South Wabash! Rickshaws were on hand for guests who were not up for the walk and added yet another layer for the baraat.
The Milni Dance and Garland Exchange took place in the entrance to the hotel following the Baraat. The group and celebration was so large it blocked traffic for vehicles and guests, the formal end of the Baraat created quite the spectacle!