I have been dying to photograph a Burning Man wedding or to even just attend Burning Man. Jasna from Travel Weddings just makes me want that even more! Scroll through this amazing wedding at one of the coolest festivals out there!
From the Couple
What was the most important thing to you while planning?
Definitely our outfits! Since I"m a designer I knew everyone would be curious to see what outfits Gilles and I would be wearing for our Burning Man wedding. I specialized in bridal design at my fashion high school and had always dreamed of making an epic wedding dress. Gilles was a talented graphic designer so I asked him to design the fabric for our wedding outfits using sacred geometry and symbols of our relationship. He created vector designs that were then laser cut onto cream suede for his hood and cream satin for my dress.The final designs included sacred geometry based on Islamic art, a Merkabah, (a crystalline energy field made up of sacred geometries that align the mind, body, and heart), angel wings, tribal motifs, a dove symbolizing freedom, and our initials. Once the laser cut fabric was complete, I cut and sewed the corresponding pieces on fiber optic fabric and worked with multimedia artist Kirill Shevyakov to hook up the fabric to lighting and connect the power source.
How did you find your vendors?
Since we were getting married at Burning Man and having a simple ceremony which was more like a gathering of friends, we didn't have vendors as you would at a traditional wedding. The only normal wedding vendor we had was our wedding photographer, our friend Jasna Boudard of Travel Weddings who took amazing images of our playa wedding.
What creative touches did you use throughout your wedding?
We had a very DIY wedding. Gilles designed our sacred geometry based wedding rings which were then 3D printed by Shapeways. My friend Ipek of Ipek Design designed custom face chains which we gave to our guests at the wedding. Burning Man isn't just a festival, but the world's biggest interactive art museum. The entire playa served as a giant artistic backdrop for our wedding. When we exchanged rings, the engineers who designed the RadiaLumia sculpture we were married before turned on the LEDs in the structure at the same time as our outfits.
Did you forego any of the traditional aspects of weddings?
Unlike most brides, I didn't do much wedding planning other than our outfits, gifts to our guests, and where we would be married. At Burning Man a lot of playa magic happens so I left everything up to chance. With the help of our friends who helped organize things like organizing a fire spouting chameleon to be our wedding chariot, everything came together magically on our special day.
What was your favorite part of the day?
Surprisingly it turned out to be baking my own wedding cake the day of the wedding. When we arrived at Burning Man and received the WhatWhereWhen guide which listed the events happening on playa, I saw that there was a Bake Your Own Cake event. I contacted Amanda who ran the Black Rock City Bakery and she gave me a time slot to bake my own cake the day of the wedding. The randomness of baking a huge cake in the middle of the desert was so awesome, and it was actually quite calming to mix all the ingredients together and decorate the cake.
From the Photographer
How did you prepare your clients for your style of shooting and the harsh light?
To be honest, there was minimal preparations on my end. Once I got to Burning Man, I met up with the couple over ice cream and had a conversation to find out their plan for the day and what was important to them. The rest, everything from the lighting conditions to the timeline, was left to the flow of the day. We were blessed with good environmental conditions, as sand storms are an unpredictable but very real phenomenon on the playa. My style of shooting is photojournalistic, capturing moments as they are happening (while always asking for consent, one of the key Burning Man principles). I only instructed them to give me their full attention when we did portrait sessions.
What techniques did you use that were out of the norm?
Other than shooting the group photos and the ceremony, which happened after dark so I had to use external lighting sources, I wanted to keep the genuine lighting conditions of the day. I felt that the light sculpture of Radio Lumia and the custom made LED outfits by Yoshi were such an important part of their story that I worked with the colored lights they gave off instead of trying to manipulate them. This was super challenging as I did not have much control, but it captured the essence of the real moment.
Do you have any advice for other photographers or vendors when it comes to weddings?
There is so much content out there preparing photographers and vendors for traditional weddings, but a Burning Man wedding is definitely unique. I would do a lot of research and talk to veteran Burners before attempting to shoot a wedding on the playa. You are confronted with extreme and unpredictable conditions, so you have to be quick on your feet and with your decisions to pull it off. There are also numerous rules and principles that you cannot violate, one simply being that you can’t monetize activities at Burning Man. Other principle is the act of gifting, so this was my gift to them. If your heart is in the right place, the playa will reward you <3