Weddings

kristina + harminder | SIKH GURDWARA SAN JOSE + CASA REAL WEDDING

Kristina and Harminder’s wedding hit all of my favorite notes: big, loving families, devoted attention to each side’s respective cultural traditions, all combined into one absolutely nuts dance floor!

We started the day off at the Sikh Gurdwara in San Jose, which happens to be the largest gurdwara in North America! The drive in is truly grand, as the temple is perched at the very top of a scenic, winding hill. We caught the sunrise just in time for the groom’s horseback entrance onto the temple grounds. A brass and drum band accompanied our procession in, followed by all of Kristina and Harminder’s extended family and friends!

Inside the gurdwara, we were treated to a wonderful breakfast reception. These temples are known for their incredible hospitality, and their community kitchens serve free meals to all visitors, without distinction of religion, caste, gender, economic status, or ethnicity. In this spirit, we made our way into the temple space together and the Sikh marriage ceremony, or Anand Karaj, soon began. As the lavan hymns were sung by priests playing traditional harmoniums, we watched Kristina and Harminder circle the Guru and receive the blessing of the congregation. With that, the first of two wedding ceremonies that day was complete!

Following a quick change for the second half of the day, we met up again at Casa Real for Kristina and Harminder’s first look. Even though the couple had already seen each other beforehand in their traditional Sikh attire, it really did feel as though we had hit fast forward into an entirely different day, and their re-meeting was such an incredibly powerful and emotional moment. I love how having a first look doesn’t take away in the slightest from the bride’s entrance down the aisle. We were all crying our eyes out as Kristina walked in on her father’s arm! The second ceremony went off without a hitch, and with that, they were married – again!

Towards sunset, we ventured out to the other side of the venue and explored the vineyards together. I’m so thankful whenever my couples make time for these beautiful golden hour portraits on their wedding day! On our return, we were welcomed into the reception space by an INCREDIBLE performance. Think: pounding music from lively drummers, the beautiful trilling sounds of all of Kristina’s female relatives performing a traditional tahrir, and the cheers of the entire reception room echoing around us.

I’m so excited to share this beautiful wedding with all of you! Hope you enjoy the photos!

Photography: Cassie Valente Photography | Film Lab: Photovision | Ceremony + Reception Venue: Sikh Gurdwara San Jose + Casa Real | Floral Design: The Flower House | Videography: Swannworks Films | Paper Goods: Elli | Catering: Kabila + DishDash | Cake Design: Sugar Mill Cakes | DJ: DJ Ahmed | Dress Boutique: Janene’s Bridal | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Groom’s Suit: Suit Supply

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"And when you appear all the rivers sound in my body, bells shake the sky, and a hymn fills the world."

PABLO NERUDA

@cassievalentephoto