Archives for October 2015

Fairfield Sikh Gurudwara Wedding in Fairfield | Mandip & Eric (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a 2-part blog covering Mandip & Eric’s wedding.  You can find the first blog covering Mandip’s Mendhi (Henna) Party here.

The Ceremony

Early Saturday morning, 6am to be exact, I arrived at Mandip’s to capture the preparation for the wedding.  Mandip was already getting dolled up by the makeup artist while everyone else started waking up.  As is tradition, quite a number of family and friends stayed with her overnight, sort of like camping, so they can start getting ready early for the big day ahead.

The dress Mandip would be wearing weighs about 20 lbs.


As far as I can remember, Mandip is the only bride I know that did final touches for hair and makeup of her bridesmaids on her wedding day!  Here’s she’s helping her maid of honor, her sister.  And she goes on helping about four more bridesmaids.

With ten bridesmaids and two sign bearers, it was quite a busy morning as everyone rushed to get ready…

Mandip’s Dad walks in right before she puts on the long veil which itself is quite heavy, jewels and shoes.


The ceremony would start soon, so after some quick family portraits Mandip and her entourage head out to the Gurudwara (Sikh temple).


As Mandip arrives at the temple, she is immediately secluded in a backroom.  Thankfully my TMZ-style 2nd shooter caught the sneaky bridesmaids trying to hide Mandip as she was whisked away out of the view of the guests.

Meanwhile, with a little lot of guidance, Eric and family prepare for the Milni, which is where the bride and groom’s families meet in front of the Gurudwara for ceremonial meet and greet, and to exchange gifts.

Definitely, Eric’s family was outnumbered, but you can certainly tell everyone enjoyed taking part in the time-honored tradition.  This was Mandip’s family’s first wedding, so this was something new for them as well.

The Dads first greet and exchange garlands, followed by the respective members of the close family.

Everyone then had some breakfast before the Anand Karaj ceremony inside the temple begins.

After breakfast, the guests head to the temple and sit on the floor.  As a custom and to show respect, everyone must take off their shoes and cover their heads before entering.

Eric then enters with his close family and is seated in front of the Guru Granth Sahib.  Ladies on the left, gentlemen on the right.

Soon after, Mandip and the bridal party make their way inside the temple and the ceremony is started.  You can tell Mandip and Eric were genuinely ecstatic to finally see each other.

The colorful and beautiful ceremony concludes with Mandip’s father placing Eric’s scarf in Mandip’s hand to signify the transition of Mandip into Eric’s family, and with Mandip and Eric circling the Guru Granth Sahib four times, each lap representing a stage in a life of love.

It’s customary for family and friends to congratulate the couple by placing cash gifts on their laps at the end of the ceremony.

After lunch, we headed off to JV Cellars in Fairfield to shoot some portraits with the bridal party.  The owner of the cellar was kind enough to let us in to the back barrel room for a few shots, and we had a great time creating some fun and romantic shots in the vineyard.

The Reception

The final day of Mandip and Eric’s wedding celebration concludes with a large reception on Sunday in Livermore at the Robert Livermore Community Center.

The drummer-led grand entrance led right into cake-cutting and the toasts.

After the first dance, Eric did a surprise Punjabi dance for Mandip.  And everyone jumped on the dance floor and the Punjabi drumbeat and fun continued well into the night!

It’s great to see two families come together and be wedded with the couple, but it’s also beautiful to see two families of very diverse backgrounds come together and have so much fun with each other.  Congratulations to Mandip and Eric, and to your family — you guys put out an awesome party that I don’t think your guests will ever forget.  It’s been a pleasure capturing these images for you — as you can see, there was so much color during the day that if my camera took ink, I would’ve had to refill it a dozen times!  And thank you to my compadre Albert, who’s always there to help me out.


Photographer: Alex Win Studios
DJ and Lighting: Nirvana
Ceremony: Fairfield Sikh Gurudwara
Reception: Robert Livermore Community Center
Portrait Location: GV Cellars

It’s Official — We’re now Alex Win Studios!

We’re excited to announce that Alex Win Photography is now Alex Win Studios!  The change isn’t just in a new name, logo, and website, but a lot more.  It’s been a year-long process to transition to adding cinematic videography service hence the need for change.  The addition of videography was certainly not taken lightly.  We’ve invested quite a lot in state-of-the-art gear to handle the demands of shooting and editing the highest resolution 4K videos, as well as training ourselves in seamlessly orchestrating multiple teams shooting stills and motion at the same event.  Yet, it goes without saying that no amount of money spent can convey the true emotions of the day, and our goal as with photography is to do that, and now even more with motion.

We hope you enjoy our new website, and please help us spread the word!



Mandip’s Mehndi (Henna) Party | Mandip & Eric’s Wedding (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a two-part blog chronicling my experience capturing Mandip and Eric’s Sikh wedding.  You can read Part 2 covering the Ceremony and Reception here.

The Mehndi Party is one of the main events for a bride in an Indian wedding, and Mandip asked me to photograph her party which took place a couple days before her wedding ceremony.  It’s the first of the four days of celebration, and this is where Mandip and her bridal party get their hands (and also feet in Mandip’s case) stained with the paste from the henna plant.  This is a ritual for the bride, so Eric was secluded away from the party for the day.

As I entered the home, Mandip was sitting quietly in one corner of the dining room with the henna artist, right next to the window.  The living room and dining room had been combined into a makeshift stage with colorful saris.

The henna paste was squeezed through a tube, similar to what you’d use for cake frosting but much smaller, and was applied to the skin with intricate designs.  The skin needs to not move too much while the paste dries so Mandip was constantly fed as she was pretty stationary on the chair.

Mandip’s aunts would entertain her by singing songs.  I really thought they were politely reciting beautiful Indian poems and laughing at how wonderful they were singing, until Mandip explained that they were actually mocking each other!

As more and more people started streaming in — Mandip has 8 bridesmaids, 2 maids of honor, and 2 toddlers in the wedding party — the two Henna artists really got busy.  Mandip was finally freed from the chair and was able to roam around, albeit a little like a stiff robot to prevent ruining the designs on her hands and feet.

Here, the girls search for Eric’s name hidden throughout the henna art.


And as the home got more crowded, the singing aunties started to dance as well, bringing in the singing uncles as well…

Meanwhile, outside, Mandip’s long-time neighbor who has become like an auntie to Mandip, explains to the bridal party and Eric’s family what to expect on the day of the ceremony.

And there you have Team Mandip…


Photographer: Alex Win Studios
Henna Artist: Harmony Henna

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