Wedding

9th Anniversary!

Photo credit: 4 Sale by Photo (this photo was not taken by me)

Photo credit: 4 Sale by Photo (this photo was not taken by me)

Today marks 9 years we've been married! I can't believe that we've been married that long! I feel so blessed to marry a man as wonderful as Joshua. :) We met 16 years ago and have been inseparable ever since. We're best friends who do everything together and I can't imagine my life without him! 

Photo credit: 4 Sale by Photo (this photo was not taken by me)

Photo credit: 4 Sale by Photo (this photo was not taken by me)

It was fun looking at all these pictures from our wedding. It's amazing how much we've changed since then. The picture below was taken in January.

I'm excited for another 50 years with him! :)

-Ashley

Bridal Wear

The bridal clothing here is elaborate, colorful, detailed and bold. 

I am honestly in love with all the bright colors and sequencing. 

However, knowing that just came out of my mouth makes me realize how much I've changed. Ask my Mom - I used to only wear solid, neutral colors with no patterns at all. My wedding colors were red, black and white. How simple can that get?! I was such a tomboy when I was younger.

Anyways, I digress. Bride's here have many outfits for their weddings, as weddings here are much longer than American weddings. All the weddings I've gone to have been at least three days long, with the bride and groom wearing something different each day. Amazing (and expensive!). Not sure how they pull it off without going into major debt.

Maybe, if someone is really nice to me, I will post a picture or two of Joshua and me in bridal wear. :) When we first visited about 5 years ago now(!!), our friend dressed me up in a lehenga (the name of the bridal dress), did my makeup, hair, nails--the works!--and then dressed up Joshua in the groom's outfit and had a photo shoot of us. :) It was fun and embarrassing. It was fun because I liked experiencing what it was like dressing up and at that time had no idea what it was like. It was embarrassing because the rest of the family (uncles, cousins, etc.) came over and for about an hour we had at least 10 sets of eyes on us while we took pictures. :) Oh living abroad! It's filled with so many embarrassing, yet wonderful moments!

-Ashley

The Beautiful Bride and Groom

I used to shoot weddings when I lived in the State's. I enjoyed it, although I do have to say, it isn't my favorite thing to do. The primary wedding photographer at a wedding is under A LOT of pressure. However, a second shooter is lots of fun! Even more fun, being a guest at a wedding. :) Like this one:

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I haven't posted faithfully the past week--sorry to my regular readers! Life has been a bit crazy. We decided to go to another city on the fly and internet hasn't always been available. However, I hope to keep this going after the new year. 

Thanks for being awesome and stopping by! Leave a comment below to say "hi"! Would love to hear from you.

-Ashley

What's going on?!

Sometimes when I experience cultural things, I can't help but think--what's going on?! Sometimes I really have no clue. Like, for example, what you see in the photo above. I now know, but I didn't fully understand in the beginning. I'll explain. 

The people holding the scarf or dupatta are waiting for the groom to come. The people waiting are the bride's family and friends. In this culture, the groom actually walks a fair distance to the tent or location where the bride's family and friends are waiting. When he and his entourage finally gets there, they throw flowers on him and hold the dupatta or a ribbon up. The groom then asks for permission to enter. When permission is given, he gives money in order to enter. If it's a dupatta, they will just lower it for him to enter, but when it's a ribbon, the groom will cut it. I'm not sure what's behind this tradition, but, that's how they roll.

The groom on the far right, has flowers covering his face and I don't know if you can tell, but he has money taped to him. It's kind of like the 'money dance' in America. On the way to this tent, his family and friends were celebrating, dancing, playing music, and taping money onto his shirt for him and his new bride to have (or for him to use to pay to get in!). Before passing into the tent, for Christian families they will pray for him and sing a hymn together. Then he will pass on through the tent.

Weddings are a big deal here and are celebrated with gusto. Sometimes I am amazed at all the traditions that they do--and I'm sure there are many more I just don't see or understand!

This reminds me that we really are all the same--we all celebrate weddings. We all find joy when our families grow. People all over the world aren't so different. :)

How are weddings celebrated where you live? 

-Ashley

Be Curious | Shared Humanity

One thing I love about children is their curiosity. I recently went to a wedding where we were waiting for the barat (the groom side of the wedding party) to come to the tent. This little girl in front of me kept peering over her shoulder at me, curiously eyeing me, my camera, my dress, etc. Eventually I just motioned towards my camera and was able to take a picture of her.

One thing that really stands out to me about this photo and incident, is that children are the same everywhere--curious! They are eager to learn and grow. Things that are different from them (skin color, religion, etc.) don't phase them--they see past it and want to know about you. I feel like as an adult, I need to be more like this--we all need to be more like children. Looking past our stereotypes and seeing people as people. 

I hope that you are able to see all races, ethnicities, cultures, religions, etc. etc. as people that God created. Inevitably in every culture, you are raised with a certain world view, but that can change over time. I hope that perhaps I can play a small role in changing your view of the world. 

Be curious. Get to know people from different backgrounds (even if it's from another city in your country). Every step counts. Would love to hear your story on how your perspective has changed over the years of different people. Leave a comment below!

-Ashley

5 Months Later...I'm Back!

You're probably wondering where I've been the past 5 months!! Well, I can't say a whole lot, other than moving and adapting to a new culture totally takes a toll on all parts of life. My life has never been this busy. Ever. (and that's saying a lot for those who know me)

I am currently trying to get back in the swing of things--and this first starts with a photography project! Sadly, I wasn't able to completely finish my project last year (52 {Interesting} Photos a Year). :( With all the transition I couldn't keep up towards the end. However, for this year I really have this desire to do a photo project on "The Kingdom of God". Sounds complicated, eh? I'm a little nervous about it--but I think it's worth a try!

One thing I have been pondering on lately is my vision. The previous post states that I want to have a vision change, that's why I joined The International Guild of Peacemakers. Peace between cultures/nations is important to me. Showing the beauty of people and cultures has always been a priority of mine (hence the name, "Transparent Life Photography"--authenticity is key). I am currently working through what that vision is for me. It will preview here soon,  I hope. :)

Since I haven't posted anything the last 5 months, here are a couple pictures from a wedding I went to recently. I hope to be posting more regularly from now on, so be looking out for new posts, ideas and some photos for my "Kingdom of God" photography project!

This is a picture of the baarat coming (the groom side of the family). Basically the men come first into the wedding tent, everyone eats together and they do different traditions.

This is a picture of the baarat coming (the groom side of the family). Basically the men come first into the wedding tent, everyone eats together and they do different traditions.

The mother of the bride is now praying a blessing over her new son-in-law.

The mother of the bride is now praying a blessing over her new son-in-law.

The mother also gives some money, which was hidden inside of some fruit. I didn't catch the significance of the fruit. :) It was interesting watching though!

The mother also gives some money, which was hidden inside of some fruit. I didn't catch the significance of the fruit. :) It was interesting watching though!

After the mother's blessing, the bride's sister comes with milk in a decorated cup, to give to the groom and his family.

After the mother's blessing, the bride's sister comes with milk in a decorated cup, to give to the groom and his family.

The groom and his family will then take turns drinking the milk.

The groom and his family will then take turns drinking the milk.

After the festivities with the baarat, we walked over to the salon where the bride was getting ready. For a Christian wedding, the bride first wears a wedding gown similar to what they wear in western countries. 

After the festivities with the baarat, we walked over to the salon where the bride was getting ready. For a Christian wedding, the bride first wears a wedding gown similar to what they wear in western countries. 

Then the bride and groom are united in a room together, where the pastor gives a message, goes through the wedding vows, rings and then pronounces them man and wife. Instead of the traditional "kiss" at the end, the groom will lift up the veil of the bride to look at her for the first time. Most of these couples never see their future spouse until the day of their wedding.

Then the bride and groom are united in a room together, where the pastor gives a message, goes through the wedding vows, rings and then pronounces them man and wife. Instead of the traditional "kiss" at the end, the groom will lift up the veil of the bride to look at her for the first time. Most of these couples never see their future spouse until the day of their wedding.

After the contract is signed and they cut the cake--it's party time! :) Everyone is very happy!

After the contract is signed and they cut the cake--it's party time! :) Everyone is very happy!

After the ceremony, the bride is dressed up in a traditional wedding dress--the lehenga. It's covered with beading, handiwork and stitching. Also, if you notice, the bride is not smiling--she's supposed to look like that. If she smiles it actually makes her family look bad, like she's happy to leave them. She is supposed to be a shy bride. She did well.

After the ceremony, the bride is dressed up in a traditional wedding dress--the lehenga. It's covered with beading, handiwork and stitching. Also, if you notice, the bride is not smiling--she's supposed to look like that. If she smiles it actually makes her family look bad, like she's happy to leave them. She is supposed to be a shy bride. She did well.

After the pictures and sweets to seal the deal further, the bride and her new husband get into their decorated car, and they go to the groom's home, normally where the groom's parent's live. 

After the pictures and sweets to seal the deal further, the bride and her new husband get into their decorated car, and they go to the groom's home, normally where the groom's parent's live. 

Hope you enjoyed! 

-Ashley

Jason + Gloria | Tying the Knot! :)

Jason and Gloria are such a fun couple. When I first met them in a little coffee shop in Tempe, Arizona after Gloria first emailed me, I was so inspired by the love they had for each other. I think I said that about five times in our meeting, as well! I just could see it exuding out of both of them, as we talked about how they met and what they dreamed about for their wedding day.

I'm SO thankful that I was able to be there for their beautiful day. I don't think I could stop smiling that entire day! As well, I have to mention the hospitality of this couple!! I didn't feel like the wedding photographer at this wedding--I felt like I had known them for years. I left feeling like I had celebrated the wedding of close friends. Thank you Gloria and Jason for making me feel so welcome! I had so much fun. Hope you cherish these pictures forever.

Enough of my gabbing...

The ceremony was at the beautiful Danforth Chapel on ASU Campus. The reception was held at the Hackett House off Mill Avenue in Tempe.

Here's some shots! :) 

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The Bride is here! :) 

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Such a cute entrance to the reception! :) It was a happy day.

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Love the simplicity and elegance of the decorations. Gloria made all of them. Such a talented woman! :)

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LOVE the cake. She even made this cake topper. Beautiful!

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What a fun day! :) Thanks for looking!!

Stay tuned for many more pictures of a few families! 

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Jason + Gloria | Wedding SNEAK PEEK!

So I just had a TON of fun shooting Jason & Gloria's wedding and as I was looking through the photos, this one definitley caught my eye and I HAD to edit and post it!

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Such a beautiful bride!! :)

I will be posting more soon so be on the lookout!

-Ashley