Henna is applied to the grooms hands by relatives, ready for the wedding the next day.
The main bedroom is filled with women, helping one another dress and prepare with make-up and accessories.
The groom waits downstairs in the living room and welcomes guests into the family home.
The groom and his family feed one another with spoonfuls of rice and chicken before leaving the house.
Feeding takes place throughout much of the Nikah or wedding, and a traditional to the day.
Guests arrive at the wedding venue dressed in stunning outfits and brightly coloured clothing and sari's.
Photographing a Bengali Asian wedding will often feel very much like being apart of the paparazzi. As a photographer it is typical that you will be affronted by a film crew and a couple of other photographers, all competing to get the best shot, much like with paparazzi. It's important to get along and reach a compromise, as you'll be working with these people all day if not for a full three or more. I have to say in this case, this lot were great!
The guests await the arrival of the groom with anticipation, before the fun begins...
The groom will enter the wedding venue surrounded by family, ready to be met by the family of his future bride, who are, guarding the gates shall we say.
This is where the fun begins. The brides family demand money from the groom, he must pay up in cash in order to be let into the wedding venue and marry the bride.
The bartering for the brides hand in marriage can continue for 10 - 20 minutes.
In this case it was rumoured that the groom handed over £500 to one of the bold young children!
The Silly String
Much to my surprise, and with no warning, the brides family broke out the silly string and the doorway erupted in screaming and laughter, and well, string all over the place!
The Groom Prepares to Enter
Covered in silly string, the grooms family prepare him to enter the wedding hall, where the Nikah will take place.
Tables and chairs will be filled with family, waiting to eat.
Prayer takes place, while family are seated with the groom on a stage.
The groom is seated with family at a long table with his family and gets ready to eat.
Guests Enjoy Food
The groom enjoys a banquet of traditional Bengali food, including rice and curries. Contrary to, for example Christian weddings, this take place before the bride has arrived and married the groom.
The bride arrives surrounded by family, walking slowly and modestly through the banqueting hall, to meet her groom on stage, after the guests have eaten.
Journey to the Stage
Throughout the brides journey to the stage where her groom awaits, she does not look up, and keeps her eyes modestly to the floor.
Exchanging of rings.
Once the bride and groom have met on stage, an exchanging of rings takes place.
Gifts and Food
The bride and groom are greeted by family in the dozens one after the other, bringing gifts and food.
It is traditional that the bride and groom take part in feeding their guests, and in reverse are also fed by guests. A large cake is often placed at the table along with / or milk and traditional sweets.
The Bride and Groom Leave
Leaving the venue, family accompanies the nervous bride from the venue.
This is often a tearful time for the bride, as she prepares to say goodbye to her family, to spend the night with her new husband, for the first time.
The bride hugs her family goodbye.
Her New Home
The bride arrives at the groom's house where a marquee is placed in the back garden. Close family of the groom await the couple. The bride and groom receive mouthfuls of food from each family member over the course of two to three hours.
Entering The Marital Bedroom
The bride receives a pair of scissors, given by the sisters of the groom. They ask her a series of mock questions about her cleaning skills and domestic abilities. Once they feel she has passed the test, they hand her a pair of scissors to cut the ribbon so the newly married couple can enter into the marital bedroom.
Two Days Later
A day later (a days gap in-between is left in this case), the bride and groom prepare quietly to leave the house together in order to celebrate their Walima, which is performed after the Nikah, or marriage ceremony. The house is quiet and calm, very different to the hustle and bustle before.
A Spot of Ironing
Family prepare their clothing for dressing.
Children play Monopoly in the living room downstairs whilst they wait.
The Bride and Groom
The bride and groom help one another dress and get ready for the day ahead.
Family arrive and pose for photos.
The bride and groom arrive looking relaxed and happy together, a far cry from the tearful nervous bride of two days ago. They appear to be very comfortable with one another, as if they have known one another for years.
Family, film crew and photographers, congregate, as the bride and groom step out of the wedding car.
Entering the Walima
The bride and groom enter the Walima together and make their way to the stage at the back of the room, overlooking all of the guests, who are seated at tables ready to eat.
Colour and Laughter Fill the Room
This part of the wedding is laid back and relaxed. Guests are laughing and joking together, eating and taking selfless of one another. Lots of brightly coloured sari's fill the room, and bring life to the event.
Grown ups and children enjoy the day.
At the end of the afternoon cake is thrown out into the crowd, and a guest or relative will try and catch this in their mouth...often missing the first few times!