When two grooms tied the knot in a traditional Hindu ceremony earlier this month, they didn’t anticipate that their wedding photos would go viral.
The couple, Aditya Madiraju and Amit Shah, first got married in a small ceremony at New York City Hall in 2018, but later decided they wanted to throw a proper Indian celebration that could include more of their family and friends. They chose this summer because it coincided with a visit to the U.S. that Madiraju’s parents, who live in India, had already planned.
On July 18, the couple hosted a mehndi party in their backyard, followed by a traditional ceremony at a Hindu temple in New Jersey the next day. On July 20, they capped off the weekend with a sangeet-style reception at Pondicheri cafe in New York City.
“In the midst of planning, we didn’t realize that having a same-sex wedding at a temple would be groundbreaking,” Madiraju told HuffPost. “We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do it. And now looking back, especially after the attention our wedding has received, it’s evident that what we were able to do will change the scope for LGBTQ couples in the future.”
While homosexuality isn’t explicitly condemned in the Hindu religion, some Hindu temples or communities may be “unwelcoming of LGBTQ people, often reflecting attitudes imported from conquering nations, such as the British Empire in India,” according to the Human Rights Campaign.
The couple’s wedding photographer, Charmi Patel Peña, said the Hindu community “still has a lot of growing to do when it comes to gay marriage.”
“So it’s been really, really amazing for us to see how the [couples has] been embraced by the temple and the community which allowed them to marry there,” she added.
The fashion-forward grooms, who met through a mutual friend in 2016, donned several coordinating ensembles throughout the weekend.
For their low-key mehndi event, they wore linen kurtas by Bohame.
For the religious ceremony, they sported floral Anita Dongre kurtas.
Madiraju called the response to their wedding photos “overwhelming.” People from all around the world have reached out to share their own stories and offer their congratulations to the couple.
“We have been getting messages on social media from people around the globe who have come out to their families, people who have regained a sense of hope, and even those who have changed their mind about LGBTQ couples and will now support them,” he said. “The response has given a whole new meaning to our marriage, and we are excited about the social changes this will help make.”
Below, see more images from the couple’s love-filled wedding weekend.