So about 2 months ago I asked by the amazing Jake Rohde of www.ValoPhotography.com if I would be interested in assisting him with a wedding, and I gladly said yes. Little did I know what awesomeness ( Sorry Jake) that would was about to experience.
Jamie and Toto were getting married. Sounds normal right? Well the part that gets better is that this would be a two day event. Also sounds semi normal right? Welllllllll, the first day was to be a traditional laotian ceremony! When I was informed that I would be photographing this I may have giggled like a school girl for a few moments.
I love photographing things out of the norm. I mean weddings are awesome and I LOVE shooting them. But most tend be relatively similar. Ceremony at a church, check. Photos out around the city, check. Reception hall and dance photos, check. This day I could check none of those off, and it was awesome.
When I arrived at Jamie and Toto’s house ( A mere few blocks from the home I spent a better part of my life) I was greeted with two city blocks worth of parked cars. I know exactly why they were all there. As I walked up to the door I greeted and met with “You must be the camera guy, good! Get up here soon, you don’t want to miss this”. I was taken to a room upstairs where Toto was being adorned in traditional Laotian ceremony dress. I was able to witness pants being made from one large piece of fabric. Then I was taken to the room with Jamie to see her adorned in similar clothing. It was absolutely awesome!
I had very little time to photograph both of them before the parade began. That’s right, a parade. I had come to find out very quickly what the Laotian ceremony was all about.
The groom was to parade down the street with his family and friends. They are then to arrive at the door of the brides house. This is where the parents would begin to bargin with each other with such items as food, money, alcohol, and other gifts. This was a very intense few moments, with loud yelling and rejections of offers. Once compromise was met, bring on the ceremony.
Myself and approx 100 crammed into the living room of their house. At this point the ceremony began, a blessing by an officiant, and a traditional ceremony where white string was given to all guests and asked to be placed around the bride and grooms wrists in a sign of approval. It was hot, sweaty, and awesome to experience!