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Costa Rica Destination Wedding Photographer

A Twist on the Tropical: A Traditional Hindu Muslim Wedding in Costa Rica

Hindu wedding couple on the beach at Manuel Antonio

What’s better than one magical day to celebrate the beginning of the rest of your lives? How about three magical days of a traditional Hindu Muslim wedding?

And in magical Costa Rica no less!

I was honored to photograph Rohid and Radha’s lively three-day celebration in Costa Rica. As you can imagine, I got hundreds of colorful, fun, and poignant images from the festivities. These folks were certainly down for having a good time and dancing all night!

I’ve picked out my favorites for you to see here so let’s get started.

A Traditional Hindu Muslim Wedding

Just like Western-style weddings, Hindu weddings have plenty of variation. There are the “standard” rituals and there are also plenty of other traditions that the couple can choose from to add their own flavor to their wedding.

For example, one such fun tradition that Rohid and Radha chose was to find a coin in a bowl of rice. The bride and the groom are allowed to each use only one hand to find the coin. The game is played 7 times and it’s said that whoever finds it the most will “wear the pants in the family”.

Traditionally, this game is played with a bowl of milk. The colored rice they chose was a nice touch, adding a bit more challenge to the quest (and making it much less messy).

Since Rohid is Muslim, the couple also opted for Muslim traditions as well. For an extra twist, they even added an element of Western weddings by opting for a black suit and the iconic white wedding dress for the reception after the wedding ceremony.  

The bride and groom pose with the view

The bride and groom pose with the view

The Beginning of Something Beautiful

Rohid and Radha met through a mutual friend when they were applying as undergraduates at UT Austin. They were captivated with each other right from the start and spent months getting to know each other over the phone before finally meeting up on campus.

The couple has been together for 9 years already and has shared many adventures. One of which was a trip to Costa Rica. They absolutely loved their experience here and wanted to share it with their family and friends. Since they were already leaning toward a destination wedding for the intimacy it would provide, Costa Rica was the perfect choice!

They opted for the luxurious Punto de Vista house in Manuel Antonio. This gave them plenty of space and privacy for three days of festivities!

Day One: Mendhi

The first day is all about preparation. It takes time to create all the intricate, beautiful designs that cover the bride’s hands and feet. So why not make a party out of it?

Rohid and Radha also opted for a cocktail party to keep things lighthearted and fun. Family members took turns applying henna to Radha’s extremities as well as to each other.

The bride showing off the wedding henna on her legs

The bride showing off the wedding henna on her arms

 

Family members at the Mehndi ceremony

 

Painting the intricate henna designs

Beautiful henna designs during the Mendhi ceremony

Having fun after the henna has driedHaving fun after the henna has driedHaving fun after the henna has driedHaving fun after the henna has driedHaving fun after the henna has driedHaving fun after the henna has dried

Day Two: Pithi

They’re still getting ready on the second day and this involves a Pithi ceremony. Family members gather to apply a thick, yellow paste to the bride and groom’s face. This paste is traditionally made from chickpea flour, turmeric, rose water and maybe a few other herbs.

As with many traditions in a Hindu wedding, Pithi serves both a practical and a symbolic purpose. The paste is an excellent beauty treatment that helps even out the skin’s tone in preparation for the most important day of the couple’s lives.

Symbolically, smearing the paste on the bride and groom is a way for family members to demonstrate their love and affection for the couple. It’s also said that if the bride or groom smear the paste on an older, unmarried family member, it increases that person’s chances of finding a mate.

For Rohid and Radha’s wedding, this ceremony encompassed plenty of fun, a few shenanigans, and lots of laughter.

Smiling posed shot of the bride and groom before the Pithi ceremony

The bride and groom are ready for Pithi

Pithi ceremony preparations

Escorting the bride in for the Pithi ceremony

Here comes the bride for the Pithi ceremony

Pithi ceremony for the bridePithi ceremony for the bridePithi ceremony for the bride

Pithi ceremony for the bridePithi ceremony for the bride

Pithi ceremony for the groom

Now it’s the groom’s turn!

Here comes the groom for the Pithi ceremonyPithi ceremony for the groomPithi ceremony for the groomPithi ceremony for the groomPithi ceremony for the groomPithi ceremony for the groomPithi ceremony for the groomPithi ceremony for the groomPithi ceremony for the groomMore fun and dancing the second night at this traditional Hindu Muslim wedding!More fun and dancing the second night at this traditional Hindu Muslim wedding!More fun and dancing the second night at this traditional Hindu Muslim wedding!More fun and dancing the second night at this traditional Hindu Muslim wedding!

More fun and dancing the second night at this traditional Hindu Muslim wedding!

Check out those colorful clothes!

More fun and dancing the second night at this traditional Hindu Muslim wedding!More fun and dancing the second night at this traditional Hindu Muslim wedding!

More fun and dancing the second night at this traditional Hindu Muslim wedding!

Day Three: Wedding Ceremony

Now it’s time for the sacred rituals of the Hindu wedding ceremony itself.

There is a lot of symbolism in a Hindu wedding ceremony. The bride and groom’s families (as well as the bride and groom) put colorful garlands around each other’s necks to symbolize acceptance. The groom also puts a sacred necklace around the bride’s neck that represents commitment, safety, and security.

The ceremony takes place under a beautifully decorated covering called a mandap. This covering is meant to represent the home the new couple will make together. The four corners represent the parents of the bride and groom and its red color signifies prosperity.

The groom kindles a sacred fire, into which they make offerings of clarified butter (ghee), grains, and more while reciting prayers. The bride and groom then walk around the fire either four or seven times, reciting prayers. Then they take seven steps reciting their marriage vows with each step.

They exchange rings while a few more blessings and prayers are spoken. The audience wishes lifelong happiness and prosperity upon them by showering them with flower petals and the deed is finally done!

The scene is set for a traditional Hindu Muslim wedding

Time for the wedding ceremony

The groom ready for his traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.

The groom is ready…

The bride is ready for her traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.

…so is the bride.

The bride is ready for her traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.The bride is ready for her traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.

The bride is ready for her traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.The groom ready for his traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.The groom ready for his traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.

Cute kid among the guests.

There’s always a cute kid!

Ready to begin the ceremonyThe groom enters amid much rejoicing

The mothers of the bride and groom share a hug

The parents have shared their garlands, symbolizing acceptance of each other

The groom ready for his traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.

The bride’s family welcoming the groom.

The groom ready for his traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.

The bride enters

Here comes the bride!

The bride and groom ready for their traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony.

The traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony begins!

The bride and groom exchange garlands

Stoking the fire in the Mandap

Check out the beautiful Mandap

Making offerings to the sacred fireMaking offerings to the sacred fireMaking offerings to the sacred fire

The bride and groom going around the fire as part of a traditional Hindu Muslim ceremony

Going around the sacred fire

The bride and groom going around the fire as part of a traditional Hindu Muslim ceremonyThe groom adjusts the bride's headpieceGuests at the traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony

Exchanging rings at the traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony

Exchanging rings…

Exchanging rings at the traditional Hindu Muslim wedding ceremony

…and smiles!

Reading as part of the groom's Muslim tradition

Reading as part of the groom’s Muslim tradition

Reading as part of the groom's Muslim tradition

Sharing a hug with the new family members

More hugs!

The joyous new family has been bound togetherPhoto with the guys

Throwing flower petals on the couple to bless them with prosperity and happiness

Throwing flower petals on the couple to bless them with prosperity and happiness

Throwing flower petals on the couple to bless them with prosperity and happiness

Finding the coin in the bowl of rice

Finding the coin in the bowl of rice

Finding the coin in the bowl of rice, Hindu traditionFinding the coin in the bowl of rice

Finding the coin in the bowl of rice

Radha is victorious!

The bride and groom on the beach in traditional Hindu garbThe bride and groom on the beach in traditional Hindu garbThe bride and groom on the beach in traditional Hindu garbThe bride and groom on the beach in traditional Hindu garb

The bride and groom on the beach in traditional Hindu garbThe Final Reception

As if they hadn’t already partied enough the first two nights, they certainly enjoyed themselves at the reception. Lots of smiles, lots of laughter, and some pretty sweet dance moves.

This couple and their families and guests thoroughly enjoyed this three-day wedding celebration.

The reception hall awaits

The reception hall awaits the festivities

The bride and groom in typical Western wedding wear

Dancing at the Hindu Muslim wedding reception

Games and fun at the Hindu wedding receptionDancing at the Hindu Muslim wedding reception

Bride and groom in typical Western wedding wear for the receptionThe bride and groom thoroughly enjoying themselvesThe bride and groom thoroughly enjoying themselvesThe bride and groom thoroughly enjoying themselvesThe bride and groom thoroughly enjoying themselvesRipping up the dance floor at this not so traditional Hindu Muslim wedding receptionRipping up the dance floor at this not so traditional Hindu Muslim wedding receptionRipping up the dance floor at this not so traditional Hindu Muslim wedding receptionRipping up the dance floor at this not so traditional Hindu Muslim wedding receptionRipping up the dance floor at this not so traditional Hindu Muslim wedding receptionRipping up the dance floor at this not so traditional Hindu Muslim wedding receptionRipping up the dance floor at this not so traditional Hindu Muslim wedding receptionRipping up the dance floor at this not so traditional Hindu Muslim wedding receptionYour Wedding in Costa Rica

Whether you want to do a three-day traditional Hindu Muslim wedding, a Western-style wedding, or simply get married barefoot on the beach, Costa Rica is the place to do it. Make your wedding into the epic event that it should be. After all, you’re starting out on an incredible new journey.

Want to see more photos from Costa Rican weddings? Check out this other gorgeous wedding I shot at Punto de Vista.

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