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7 top spots for “pre-wedding photography” soon-to-be-weds are going to

Pre-wedding photography is the hot new trend, where the soon-to-be bride and groom take off to exotic locales with a photographer and stylist to capture moments of unfiltered romance

brunch Updated: Sep 30, 2017 22:45 IST
Vrinda Motasha
Vrinda Motasha
Hindustan Times
As lovebirds, Anvita and Ankit used to travel long distances to meet mid-way in NYC
As lovebirds, Anvita and Ankit used to travel long distances to meet mid-way in NYC (The Wedding Story)

If you’ve ever visited a picturesque location in Europe during summer, we bet you’ve seen her: the beautiful bride-to-be, dolled-up in a spectacular entourage of photographers and make-up artists.

It could be a scene from a movie, or a shoot with models, but it’s not. It’s a new aspect of bridal photography – the pre-wedding shoot, starring the happy couple-to-be exploring a city as well as themselves, as they take their first steps towards marital bliss.

A pre-wedding shoot allows the couple some private time together before the magnitude of the main event sets in. The bride gets to play her favourite game of dress-up and the groom is happy to oblige. And there’s travel thrown in as well.

Now, from the corridors and corners of the most opulent Indian palaces, to British hunting lodges nestled deep in the heart of the Kenyan bush, seven love-locked duos explain just what a pre-wedding shoot means to them.

New York City, USA

Anvita Karara & Ankit Lodha

There is no easy way to describe the essence of this magnetic metropolis, the epicenter of the global arts, fashion and food scene, a place where a mere turn in the road offers experiences in entirely different countries and cultures. The Big Apple is an urban wanderer’s delight.

On a cool spring day, Anvita and Ankit’s lives crossed in the city by chance, and they instantly hit it off. Living in opposite parts of the world, they travelled long distances to meet mid-way in New York. Their pre-wedding shoot beautifully recreates the magic of their courtship.

“We always knew our pre-wedding shoot would be here; this place is filled with happy memories from our time together,” says Ankit. “When we walk the same streets and visit the same cafés where we first met, it’s truly a nostalgic experience.”

Top three locations to shoot in: Central Park, New York City Library and Brooklyn Bridge

Insider tip: Take a 40-minute car ride to Coney Island on the southern tip of the Brooklyn Borough for a carnival-themed shoot

Udaipur, India

Pooja & Anand Ashar

Pooja had always dreamed of a big royal wedding where she could play princess, that’s why they chose Udaipur (Wedding Nama)

In the south of India’s most arid state, Rajasthan, is the city of lakes – Udaipur. Enjoying years of uninterrupted history this ‘white city’ is the royal gharana of Rajput kings and queens.

The architectural spoils of the long running Mewar dynasty have been preserved to perfection by a dozen hospitality groups, who offer a palatial experience.

Pooja had always dreamed of a big royal Indian wedding where she could play princess for a few days. So as a prelude to their wedding story, they flew from Mumbai to Udaipur for one day.

“Udaipur has over 100 palaces and hotels, so we were definitely spoilt for choice,” says Pooja. “After considerable research, we closed in on the Chunda Palace for our shoot – it was a fairly unexplored property and that’s why we selected it. The palace overlooks Lake Pichola with the Aravalli Mountains as the backdrop, so it’s a truly amazing setting. As the sun set behind the mountains we got some of our best pictures on the hotel terraces.”

Top three locations to shoot in: Jag Mandir, City Palace and Lake Pichola

Insider tip: In the northern part of the city is the beautiful Saheliyon Ki Bari, a garden festooned with well-maintained fountains, kiosks, marble elephants and a delightful lotus pool

Nairobi National Park, Kenya

Reema Singh Manji & Imran Manji

Being clicked with striped zebras and African elephants gave Reema and Imran an unforgettable photo album (Wedding Nama)

A few days at a British style hunting lodge nestled deep in the heart of the African savannah is a dream come true for animal lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. With the calls of the birds and chuffing of big cats for company, this couple from Mumbai flew into Nairobi for a few days for a holiday. Little did bride-to-be Reema know that an exciting game drive would convert into a proposal followed by the pre-wedding photo shoot of their dreams.

“Our shoot was a very exciting experience,” says Imran. “I didn’t know what to expect leading up to the photo shoot, but after being clicked with striped zebras and majestic African elephants, we knew this was going to be one hell of a photo album.”

Top three locations to shoot in: Lewa Safari Camp, Hell’s Gate Gorge and Lake Naivasha

Insider tip: Indulge, dance and get clicked with the fiercely private yet friendly Masai tribe

Paris, France

Ravina Bohra & Aaditya Sanghvi

For Ravina and Aaditya, running along with the photographer to catch the Eiffel Tower lights will always remain a special memory (Wedding Nama)

No place in the history of the world has had a stronger influence on the ideals and imaginings of love than this one. Even now, millions of hopeful and hopeless romantics walk the boulevards, cycle the parks and sit at cafés in the hope of finding, fixing or celebrating love. Ravina and Aaditya agree that Paris is always a good idea, and were lucky enough to have a midnight photo shoot in Paris with the Eiffel Tower as a prop.

“Saying yes to Paris was definitely easier than saying yes to marriage,” laughs Ravina. “The most special memory was when we ran along with our photographers and team to catch the Eiffel Tower lights which shine hourly just for five minutes! It took us three minutes to reach the spot and we got our best shots in the last two minutes.”

Top three locations to shoot in: Louvre Museum, The Avenue des Champs-Élysées and Eiffel Tower

Insider tip: On the outskirts of Paris is the Palace of Versailles. Its French baroque architecture offers beautiful backdrops for the shoot

Prague, Czech Republic

Vrinda Motasha* & Varun Sheth

* (Note: Vrinda is also the author of this article.)

For Vrinda and Varun, Prague proved to be perfect setting, nothing short of a Bollywood movie (George Hlobil Photography)

With cobble-stoned streets, horse-driven carriages and pathways lined with artistic lamp posts, Prague is picture perfect. The capital of the Czech Republic is a photographer’s delight, with added charm in the distant sounds of church bells and the hourly chimes of the astronomical clock.

“The beautiful thing about Prague is that there is live music in every corner, so your story in the city comes with a constant background score, making everything really romantic,” says Varun. “Our call time for the shoot was 6am and there I was with Vrinda making my way to the old town square as first signs of sunlight hit the city.”

“Most couples have a song, but Prague will be our sweetest song”

Their photographer, a Prague local, had planned every stop on the route. “Most couples have a song, but Prague will be our sweetest song,” he says.

Top three locations to shoot in: Prague Castle, The Astronomical Clock and The Charles Bridge

Insider tip: The terraces adjacent to the Prague Castle overlooking the city offer a riveting landscape

Bengaluru, India

Sabrina Khan & Sahil Mirchandani

Bengaluru seemed perfect for Sabrina and Sahil as it a perfect mix of Indian traditions and Western influences (The Wedding Story)

Bengaluru is a perfect amalgamation of Indian traditions and Western influxes. Best known for spices, filter coffee and the world famous South Indian tiffins, Bengaluru is the soul of peninsular India. This garden city is flowered with lovely parks and striking Victorian-era architecture.

Sabrina and Sahil spent a lovely day at The Leela Palace Hotel for the pre-wedding shoot. “We wanted our families to be part of our pre-wedding extravaganza, and since Bengaluru is our ancestral home, that’s where we went,” says Sabrina. “During the shoot we used two long pieces of red and pink cloth which were very difficult to manage. This added a lot of value to the pictures and also gave us few moments of laughter when my fiancé got tangled in them.”

Top three locations to shoot in: Cubbon Park, The Courtyard House and Guhantara Resort

Insider tip: Regarded as the ‘hills of happiness’ during the Chola period, Nandi Hills in Bengaluru would serve perfectly if you want your pre-wedding photo shoot 4,851 feet above sea level

Venice, Italy

Shivani Parpani & Dhaval Parikh

Shivani and Dhaval made the most of their two-day shoot in Venice by booking a gondola for the whole day (Reels and Frames by Anand Rathi)

Every palace and every person is reflected in the teal-coloured waters of the Grand Canal, creating a mirage-like double image that lends the city a unique quality. A perfect day in this striking city is marked by the songs of the gondoliers, a morning spritz, seafood tapas and an all-fuchsia sunset that has inspired artists for centuries. On a holiday in Croatia, Shivani and Dhaval flew into Venice for a hectic two-day shoot.

“International shoots require a lot of travelling and planning, but Venice was definitely worth it,” says Dhaval. “It was our first time there, and we couldn’t have asked for a better location.”

Top three locations to shoot in: Grand Canal, Saint Mark’s Basilica and The Rialto Bridge

Insider tip: Book a gondola for an entire day to avoid the long line, especially during summer

Insider’s tips for shoots
  • How to dress: Fashion plays a pivotal role in setting the mood of the shoot. The clothes depend on the location. For example, a palace-themed shoot demands traditional Indian wear for both the bride and groom; a charming castle in Europe needs an avante garde cocktail dress or plumed gown for the bride, and a tuxedo for the groom. Get a fashion stylist who specialises in pre-wedding wardrobes.
  • How to convince the groom: The easiest way is to show him examples of similar shoots by other couples. He’ll want it right away.

(Vrinda Motasha, is a stylist and the wife of businessman Varun Sheth, who has received the Forbes 30 under 30 award. The couple loves travelling and exploring new destinations.)

From HT Brunch, October 1, 2017

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