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Weddings are joyful and love-filled events. Aneri and Aaditya’s traditional Hindu wedding was no exception – in fact, it proved that rule! Between the couple’s gorgeous clothes, the historic venue, and the love and happiness on their faces and the faces of their guests, these were both truly beautiful wedding celebrations. J & J Studios captured the wedding celebration photographs of this traditional Hindu wedding at the Notary Hotel in Center City Philadelphia. Read on, and please enjoy the photos and story! 

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Meet the Couple: Aneri and Aaditya

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Aneri and Aaditya met in 2015. At that time, Aneri was a sophomore in her undergraduate program, and Aaditya was a senior at the same university. The two began to date during that year. But, after Aaditya moved to the U.S. in 2016, the couple maintained a long distance relationship for two years. That’s a rock-solid foundation on which to build a marriage, and we’re so happy they made it!

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The Proposal

On New Year’s Day 2021, Aaditya and Aneri were hanging out with some friends of theirs at the National Harbor in Maryland near Washington, D.C. They and their friends were enjoying the cold and the beach. During that day, Aaditya got down on his knee and proposed – and, happily, Aneri said yes! 

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“We had the best day!” They told J & J Studios. We’re so glad to hear it!

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Though Aaditya and Aneri had to postpone their wedding twice, they finally celebrated their wedding over two days in early December. Both days were so beautiful and meaningful. J & J Studios Philadelphia captured both wedding celebration days. 

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The Wedding Location: The Notary Hotel, Philadelphia, PA

Aneri and Aaditya told J & J Studios that they chose the Notary Hotel in Philadelphia as their wedding location because they wanted a “destination wedding in a city with a unique location. [Philadelphia has] a perfect mix of history and modernity, which is exactly what we wanted.” The Notary Hotel is a fantastic representation of this combination, as well!

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Aaditya and Aneri also told us that they had spent a lot of time in Philadelphia, and wanted the city to be a part of their life journey together. So, Philadelphia’s Notary Hotel was the perfect place to celebrate their wedding! The Notary Hotel also matched their wish list for their wedding needs, so they “instantly made the decision to use this venue.” 

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Built in 1926 as the Philadelphia City Hall Annex and located in Center City Philadelphia, the Notary Hotel is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. This architectural beauty of a hotel stands at 15 stories and plays host to just under 500 guest rooms. It’s a beautiful and historic location for any event, but especially for events as important as weddings are.

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A Brief Explanation of Some South Asian Hindu Wedding Traditions

Indian weddings are known for being lush, gorgeous events. However, how much does the average person know about Indian wedding traditions? Most people probably don’t know a ton about them. So, we thought we’d give a brief explanation of a few of the Hindu wedding traditions that Aaditya and Aneri participated in on their wedding day.

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The Puja

The first Hindu tradition that Aneri and Aaditya chose to include in their wedding was the puja. A puja is a pre- and/or post-wedding tradition. It is a prayer ritual that is performed in order to praise Hindu deities. Like many other prayer rituals performed during weddings, the puja prayer ritual is performed in order to bless the bride, groom, and their future marriage. 

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Wedding Colors

You may notice that at her puja, Aneri did not wear a white wedding gown. Instead, she wore a blush pink gown with a pink sequined floral design, and later, a sunshine-yellow sari. Aneri wore these colors around and during her wedding because of the fact that, in many Indian cultures, white is a mourning color. So, obviously, white and even shades like ivory are not popular color choices for brides to wear on or around their wedding day. 

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On her wedding day, Aneri wore an utterly breathtaking red sari with gold embroidered details. Red is a much more common color for brides than white is, as this color symbolizes commitment, spirituality, and fertility, among other positive things. Plus, the shade of red that Aneri wore on her wedding day was so rich and gorgeous!

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Henna

Aneri is also wearing henna tattoos on her arms. The effect makes it look almost as though she’s wearing gloves. It’s an absolutely lovely look!

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Henna, also known as mehndi, has been used to beautify Indian brides for over five thousand years! Typically, a bride will have paisley and floral patterns inked onto her skin by an artist using henna during a party with her female attendants. This party, which takes place just days before her wedding, is somewhat like a bachelorette party. Many people believe that the darker a bride’s henna looks, the stronger her marriage will be. 

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Haldi

In these photos, you’ll see that Aneri and Aaditya are smearing a yellow-colored paste onto themselves and each other. 

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Their guests even participated in this Hindu tradition, too! The yellow paste is called haldi, and it is made from the yellow turmeric root. Applying haldi is believed to ward off evil spirits, bring good luck, and powerfully promote health and healing in the wearer. With meanings like that associated with haldi, it’s obvious as to why people who practice the Hindu religion participate in applying haldi before their weddings.

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Aaditya rode to his wedding on a decorated white horse. It was a new but wonderful spin on the knight on his white horse coming for the fair maiden! Wearing his sunglasses and sitting atop a white horse, Aaditya looked like the coolest groom ever.

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All the Hindu rituals were performed by Aneri and Aaditya’s pandit. A pandit is a Hindu scholar and practicing Hindu priest. Nowadays, the title of pandit is a title of respect that can be used for a learned man, no matter what his chosen field. However, traditionally this title is used to learned men in Hinduism and Hindu priests.

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Mandap

The structure you see over and surrounding Aaditya and Aneri during their wedding ceremony is called a mandap. This temporary ceremonial covered structure is made using four pillars. A mandap is erected for use in Hindu weddings, though nowadays mandap rentals are common as well. 

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In fact, mandap translates from Hindi into English as “a covered structure with pillars.” The four pillars that support the covering of the mandap represent the four essential elements: earth, air, water, and fire. The pillars were traditionally made from wood, but nowadays all kinds of materials are used. 

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The majority of the traditional Hindu wedding ceremony takes place under the mandap. So, the mandap is both an altar and the stage for the guests to view the wedding ceremony. The use of mandaps in Hindu weddings can be found in various ancient Hindu texts.

Advice from Aaditya and Aneri for Engaged Couples

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We asked Aneri and Aaditya if they had any advice for engaged couples getting married soon. Luckily, they had some truly sage advice to share! Here’s some of their their advice for other couples getting married and planning their weddings:

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“Make sure that you coordinate your wishlist and what exactly you want with your vendors. This is to make sure that you and the vendors are on the same page, to ensure you get the wedding of your dreams.” This is an awesome piece of advice, because if your vendors don’t understand your vision, needs, and desires, they can’t give you exactly what it is you want! Make things easy on everyone involved by explaining your exact vision to your vendors. That way, they will know what you want and you will get what you paid for and have your dream wedding!

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Aaditya and Aneri also told J & J Studios, “Relax and do not stress over little things, because in the end all that matters is you and your partner.” We can’t think of anything more true than that! Thanks for your wise advice, Aneri and Aaditya!

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Congratulations to the Newlyweds, Aneri and Aaditya!

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Most of all, we want to wish the newlyweds, Aaditya and Aneri, the best of luck and the best of life as they embark on the journey of their marriage together. May you find peace, love, and joy in your marriage and in your life together. Congratulations on  your beautiful wedding and your  beautiful marriage to come, Aneri and Aaditya!

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Contact J & J Studios Today!

We hope you loved the photos you saw here from Aaditya and Aneri’s traditional Hindu wedding at the Notary Hotel! If you’re getting married soon and are looking for a photographer in the greater Philadelphia area, consider hiring J & J Studios to photograph your wedding. At J & J Studios, we love all types of weddings and all types of love, whether traditional, Hindu, or any other kind of wedding. You can contact us using this link. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Vendors

Photography: J&J Studios @jjstudiosphiladelphia

Florist and Decorator: Partyland Sajawat @partylandsajawat

DJ/Uplighting: Arsh Sandhu

Groom’s Ring: James Allen @jamesallenrings

Groom’s Welcome Dinner Outfit: Jos. A. Bank

Groom’s Wedding Outfit: Riyaassat @riyaassat

Bride’s Welcome Dinner Outfit: Claire’s Fashions @clairesfashions

Bride’s Welcome Dinner Jewelry: Tanishq @tanishqjewellery

Bride’s Wedding Outfit: Asopalav @asopalav

Catering: Moghul Catering @moghulcaterers

Makeup Artist: Reeta Suthar @reetasmystique

Groom’s Hair Stylist: Blue 52 Barber Shop @blue52barbershop

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