Thinking Outside the box, fresh ideas and innovations inspire me. And I guess it inspires others too. As a photographer, I seek inspiration from the world around me, and also from the subjects I work on. And when the people whom I photograph come out with innovations themselves, then the inspiration has a greater effect. Recently, I found such an inspiration from a Wedding Mandap design used by Nishanth & Mythri – the couple whose wedding I photographed in Bangalore this year.
Our love for a stage
In Bangalore and in larger parts of this country, the wedding events are generally held in indoor environments like a dedicated wedding hall or Kalyana Mantapa, auditoriums, concert halls, etc. In most of these venues, the set design follows a very traditional approach. Almost all the weddings events from the Wedding reception to wedding ceremonies are held on an elevated podium, dais or stage located at one extreme end of the hall. The guests would all be seated in rows facing the podium from the same direction. The wedding mandap for the wedding ceremony is erected or built on this dais.
This June, I photographed a wedding in Bangalore at Sindhoor Convention Hall, located in JP Nagar (Bangalore South). My clients Nishanth & Mythri – the couple whose wedding it was – decided to bring in some fresh ideas to how their Wedding Mandap would be set up. They decided to completely ignore the podium/dais of the convention hall for the wedding ceremony. The podium was however used for their wedding reception.
Stepping out of the Dias
Instead of the podium, their wedding ceremony was held in the center of the hall at a location what would otherwise be the seating area. Their Wedding Mandap was setup up in the middle of the seating area, but on a slightly raised platform taking the action to a level little higher than the eye-level of the audience seated on chairs. The seating area was rearranged to have a circular pattern around the Wedding Mandap. This meant one could get a 360-degree field-of-view to the wedding ceremony if he/she moved around.
In my opinion, this arrangement is aesthetic and is quite inspirational. It adds more symmetry to the huge seating area. The conventional rows & columns have become a little too predictable design. Great work Nishanth & Mythri! Cheers!
I think that this arrangement also has one subtle plus point. It brings the guests to a social space that is closer or more intimate to the wedding ceremony space. In a traditional wedding seating arrangement described earlier, the guests seated in last rows would have found it hard to view the ceremony. I think it would make the last row guests a little disconnected with the events.
The White Ceiling is photographer’s best friend
Also, as a photographer, an interesting/helpful part of their Wedding Mandap design was that the ceiling of the Wedding Mandap was covered with a plain white fabric. This allowed me to bounce the light from my camera flash against the ceiling to create a nice blanket of soft light falling evenly around the couple. Since, it was white, it also meant that the reflected light added no color cast on their skin. I would highly recommend this “white-ceiling-design” to all the couples getting married.
A variation to this design
If I have to incrementally add a new element to their beautiful set design, then maybe I would think of utilizing the podium space to seat the wedding musicians, instead of creating a corner space for the wedding musicians. This arrangement would draw inspiration from classical music concerts, where the musicians perform from a dais. Wedding musicians are musicians too :). (I also wonder if sound design is better this way? Can any sound engineers confirm if acoustics of a hall are better this way? )
I hope to receive more such inspirations from my future clients.
Highlights from this wedding
Since I was talking of inspiration from Nishanth & Mythri’s wedding, here is a gallery showcasing highlights from their wedding ceremony.
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