The rhythmic sound of the African drums filled the evening air with a melodious beat, only interrupted by loud roars and cheers as Shivani and Parin danced into their Mehndi Party. It was a battle of the senses. The smell of the kerosene lighting up the fire lamps was competing with the scent of the freshly roasted corn on the cob. As the sun went down on Nairobi that evening and cast a golden light on everything, no one knew just how big that night was going to be. I clearly remember Parin saying to me – ‘this will be a quiet night as it’s a big day tomorrow’. At 1am, he along with about 100 other guests showed no signs of slowing down whatsoever. There were bottles being passed around on the dancefloor. Yep, people were drinking not from glasses but straight from liquor bottles. Neat. Little did Parin know that in less than 12 hours, he was going to be chucked into an ice-cold swimming pool after his pithi ceremony. I am 99.9% sure that sorted out a few ‘day-after’ problems for him.
We first started talking with Shivani and Parin over a year ago as they were planning this amazing week-long celebration. Through a year of very funny conversations over the phone and whatsapp, we had been looking forward to this wedding for a long time. And through that time, as we got to understand them better, we knew they were a fun-loving couple and most of all, they wanted everyone around them to have a great time in Kenya too. Judging by everyone’s emotions and faces during that week, they definitely met that goal. They had chosen to have their pre-wedding shoot at The Lake House in Tigoni. It was our first time shooting there and what a pleasant surprise. You don’t feel like you are less than an hour away from the hustle bustle of Nairobi. The loving relationship between Shivani and Parin was just incredible to shoot. With near perfect natural lighting, they were in harmony with nature. We hardly had to prompt them, and ended up with a set of the most natural photos and smiles!
A couple of days later, the travel-themed pre-wedding Reception had high expectations and it surely didn’t disappoint. An incredible set-up, drinks, speeches, funny table games, brilliant upbeat music by DJ Deshal, some amazing performances by friends and family members, a kick-ass first dance, more drinks, crowd surfing, shooting down Jagersbombs, dancing on the tables, shawarmas at midnight, more drinks. The icing on the cake – Sno Cream ice cream! If you know, you know.
The wedding day started off with a very loud baraat in a truck. It is hard to describe but there were about 30 loud friends and family members from Parin’s side, in a loud truck with loud music (with some people even hanging off the sides of the truck as it was moving!). All very colourful, the guests danced their way into the wedding. Lo and behold, Shivani’s side of the family was an even greater match for them as they had planned a surprise qawwali performance just before Parin walked down the aisle. It was a traditional Indian ceremony which was beautifully conducted by the priest, followed by a very emotional goodbye from Shivani’s side of the family – always a difficult part of the wedding to photograph.
Shivani & Parin, thank you for having all the trust in us. Hopefully we have created memories for you guys that you can always look back at and reminisce. Thank you to your friends and family for all the hospitality and gratitude shown towards us. Trust me when I say that it felt like I was shooting a family wedding! Oh yeah, I think I have to address the elephant in the room. Bite marks. Bite marks on my cheek (face-cheek) from the groom. I went back from the African-themed party night with bite marks on my left cheek. Not an easy one to explain to the missus. And then the same thing happened AGAIN a few nights later! Let’s just say that Parin displays his love very affectionately and we’ll leave it at that. One love!