There is one thing I learned very quickly about Sehaj and Chris, and it also happens to be my favourite thing about them: they are unapologetically and comfortably themselves. Their authenticity shone from the second we met them, a year prior in New York city. Sehaj had my heart the moment she told me she didn't want to look perfect in her wedding photos - she wanted to look like herself. I anxiously awaited their big day since our meeting, knowing that it was going to be particularly special... and it was! Fast-forward to the Sangeet on first night of their wedding weekend in Oahu, Sehaj confirmed my impression by publicly revealing to Chris the number one reason she loves him: he makes her love herself for who she is. Chris, in his own quiet way showed his love and devotion for Sehaj over an entire year to grow an epic beard in time for their wedding to honour her Sikh roots. His dedication to honouring her culture went even further, as we learned at the wedding reception, but we'll get to that later!
With a day off between the Sangeet and the actual wedding day, Sehaj and Chris requested a "day-prior" portrait session in casual outfits instead of our usual day-after session in formal wedding getup, allowing them to have photographs of themselves in clothing that holds personal significance. Their casual attire complimented our laid-back approach to their portrait session, taking them on a tour of the most scenic spots surrounding Turtle Bay Resort as they simply explored the ocean-front lava fields, laid on the beach, and took in the breathtaking sunset. The best compliment came from Chris who said he was kind of dreading the idea of posing for photos but actually really enjoyed himself (success!).
By the time the wedding day rolled around the anticipation had built up and we were all excited to jump in and witness these two officially tie the knot. Sehaj and Chris planned a Sikh wedding but with their own personal twists. For instance, Sehaj participated in the Barat, which is traditionally reserved for the groom only, because she didn't want to miss out on the horseback ride or the dancing. Their Seik ceremony was officiated by Sehaj's father, a guru, and was followed immediately by a Christian ceremony officiated by Chris' sister, a minister. It was a beautiful way to pay homage to both of their backgrounds.
Chris, embraced the Sikh traditions every step of the way, donning not one but two traditional outfits (and pulling off a turban like a pro!). But perhaps the greatest show of dedication was an actual show... unbeknownst to anyone, he had been taking secret Bhangra dance classes for months just so he could pull off an epic surprise! If Chris looks like he's enjoying himself during the shoe negotiations (the tradition where the groom's shoes are held ransom by the bride's side), it's because he cleverly used this secret as bargaining leverage! And the dance most certainly did not disappoint - Chris gave it his all and his bride (and the entire crowd) loved it!
A huge thank-you to Sunny Mathur who travelled all the way from DC to lend us
a hand an eye (some of these images are his). And of course, a huge thank-you to Sehaj and Chris for choosing us and trusting our vision to capture this really special celebration.