Besides the colors, the customs, and the outfits, there is one huge difference that separates and Hindu and Muslim weddings to western weddings: the vidaai.
The vidai in Hindi, or rukhsati in Urdu, is the “bride’s goodbye.” While we’re all familiar with the bride and groom tossing the bouquet, waving goodbye with cheers from the guests, and escaping into their car into a night of newlywed bliss, a vidaai is very different.
Speaking to photographer friend, Shahriar of S. Romel Indian Wedding Photography, he says,
The is the most emotional part of the wedding. The bride is leaving her home to start a new life. Emotions are high; emotions are mixed, happy, and sad all at the same time.
In Hindu weddings, vidais can take place directly after the wedding or, the day after all the wedding festivities. Sikh brides will throw rice over their head as a way to bless their new beginnings. For Muslim brides, the rukhsati is after the shaadi and before the valima.
No matter what, this is one of those moments that will make anyone cry. While I love the whole western idea of getting into you car and driving away in happiness, a wedding is full of so many emotions, especially the goodbyes. So why not let family and friends get a moment to cry their hearts out?
Are you weepy now? I sure am.
I also asked Shahriar what it is like to be person behind the camera, the photographer, photographing this extraordinary event.
For a documentary photographer – this is the place to be. There are so many emotions to capture, that as a photographer, you need to be spot on.
When I photography the vidai/ruksathi I want to ensure that I have the right amount of space and be able to work with the available light as much as possible. I tend to avoid using the flash to avoid drawing attention to myself.
For me, this is different to the rest of the wedding as I get only one chance – I have to be prepared, make sure the memory card is not full and battery is not running out. There are no second chances with the vidai.
As a bride or groom, cry with your family at the vidai. Moments like these are ephemeral. Make sure to let your photographer capture it as it will be one of your most treasured photos for years to come.