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Nina and Ryan, Married! | Indian American Wedding at the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Center

Get ready for another epic post of an epic wedding. Nina and Ryan brought me along for a two-day Chicago extravaganza that began with a mehendi, rehearsal dinner, leading early morning the next day to a South Indian hindu ceremony, then a Christian ceremony followed by lots of partying. It’s very difficult to distill 2 days of festivities into a blog montage, so these are truly just a few of the highlights!

It is always a pleasure for me to cover weddings that incorporate traditions from multiple cultures, resulting in a personally meaningful experience that is also a sight to see for the guests. Also, I have to mention, Amie and I got to sample most of the delicious food served during this wedding and needless to say, our stomachs were just as satisfied as our eyes. A couple more highlights I want to point out during this wedding that I think really speak to who Nina and Ryan are: 1) Hospitality. Every time I see Nina and Ryan hug or greet a guest, I hear just how appreciative they are that their guests are here, I could really sense that they valued each and every one of their nearly 200 guests who were there. Ryan, whose parents own a winery, always made sure that people were eating and drinking and having a good time. 2) Globalization – I know, funny word, but it’s one that even Ryan’s father used during their rehearsal dinner. Ryan and Nina’s family and friends came from all over the world, and the fact that this wedding incorporated their two cultures in a very respectable and elegant way speaks to that as well. 3) Complimentary. I love how all my couples really compliment each other. Nina is sharp, detail oriented, and having done all the hard work beforehand leading up to the wedding, she relaxed on the day of and trusted us professionals to take care of everything. Ryan is possibly one of the most patient grooms I’ve ever met, a true gentleman. When you put them together, you get many stolen glances, smiles, and bright and genuine laughs.

I don’t have a lot of room in this blog to cover the mehendi and rehearsal dinner, but this is my favorite shot from Nina and Ryan’s rehearsal dinner at the Blackstone Hotel in downtown hotel. Guests enjoyed wine from Silverpoint Cellars, a Californian winery owned by Ryan’s parents

The next morning, we began with the Hindu wedding ceremony at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago. All these detail shots taken by the awesome Amie Fedora Photography, who flew to Chicago to be with me for this wedding

Nina went through numerous outfits that weekend – I counted at least 4 saris, each of them rich in color and detail

As guests filed in the front, Nina also had a private ceremony in her getting ready room

Nina’s mother – bless her heart – worked so hard to make sure all the Indian aspects of the day ran smoothly. Here she is kissing her daughter before the marriage ceremony started

Hindu wedding ceremonies have many parts and roles with different meanings. There is a lot of focus on the hands and feet. Water and rice often get thrown to bless the couple and sanctify the mandap

I am particularly fond of the top left photo of the group of 4 below – it is one of many glimpses into how much Nina and Ryan enjoy being with each other and laughing together

Nina and Ryan got to shower each other with copious amounts of rice. You may also notice that Nina wore two saris during this ceremony – after a particular ceremony, Nina changes saris to signify her transition into a new role as a married woman

After a quick lunch, we powered our way back to downtown Chicago to prepare for the Christian ceremony

Amie’s image of Ryan getting ready

The reason why I have 2 ring shots – the wedding + engagement rings are on the left. On the right – rings that are heirloom pieces in Ryan’s family that they gifted to Nina

The reason why I tell all my clients to leave me 90 minutes – 2 hours for getting ready photos – I take great care and pride getting the hanging dress shot and other detail shots, but looking for the perfect light or location takes time! I found this amazing spot in the basement of the Blackstone Hotel

We went outside to Grant Park for the First Look. I love how Ryan can easily make Nina laugh

What a cute and adorable couple! Though they had both attended University of Chicago undergrad, it was not until the maid of honor’s birthday party in New York City where they first met

I always find ways to photograph the bride and groom that also compliment their wardrobe. I thought Nina looked purely heavenly as she twirled in her Casablanca dress

A white backdrop – great way to show off the mehndi

Ryan is very proud to have tied his own bowtie, he’s looking all James Bond like =)

Cufflinks on left by Amie

Relaxed photos with the wedding party – we didn’t have a lot of time, but they were very cooperative the entire time as we hustled our way in the park and to the ceremony location

The Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library is a HUGE building. At the center of the lobby is a rotunda that looks downward – a great spot for a couple more portraits with Nina and Ryan

Ryan’s parents are super styling as they walk down the aisle

Nina accompanied by her parents

The top atrium of the Harold Washington Library – glass ceiling, one super-tall atrium, trees, it was magical

I loved the bright colors in all the floral work. A paisley motif that can be found on the wedding program repeated itself on the menus, escort cards, and wedding cake

Nina changed into a jaw-dropping purple lehenga for the reception

Guests also enjoyed a dessert table with macarons, creme brulee, just to name some of the delicacies

Some of Ryan and Nina’s friends presented a fun bhanghra dance. Salil (middle guy) and Agya (woman on the far right) were my clients from last year

Just a couple of fun scenes from the dance floor

Thank you so much Nina and Ryan for having me! With one more year of business school to go before you guys can live together, I commend you two for your commitment to each other and to the important people in your lives

The vendors:

Photography by Saavedra Photography / Shang Chen Photography, second shooter Amie Fedora Photography
Indian wedding venue: Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, Lemont, IL
Christian wedding and reception venue: Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago, IL
Wedding planner and coordination: Kelly Lenard, Sip Events. Coordination provided by Abby
Catering: Food for Thought, Chicago, IL
Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design, Chicago, IL
Saris and Lehenga: India
American Bridal Dress: Casablanca, purchased from The Wedding Store, Andover, NJ
Bridesmaid dresses: Watters, purchased from The Wedding Store, Andover, NJ
Rings: Blue Nile
Ryan’s Custom Tuxedo: Gary Zee, Mode Elegante
Florist: Blumgarten & Co., Chicago, IL
Indian make-up and hair: Bela Shah
Evening make-up and hair: Jessica from Sonia Roselli Makeup Studio, Chicago, IL
DJ: DJ Willy Joy, Chicago, IL
Invitations and paper: Paperage Inc., Chandigarh, India
Officiant: Esther Hugo, family friend

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Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
she takes photographs of celebrations of love and life
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only

December 8, 2011 - 10:28 am

Vrunda Patel Hi Shang!
I absolutely love your pictures from weddings!! I am currently in the process of planning my wedding for Sept 2nd, 2012 at the Quincy Marriott and was wondering if you are available at that time? My fiancee and I are both currently living in Delaware, but my parents are from Weymouth, MA. Do you have a list of your packages and pricing? Also do you provide videography as well? Thank you for your time and looking forward to hearing from you!

Take care,

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