{destination wedding} Elora & Rajiv ~ Bali

November 27, 2021

I tell stories.

I’ve resisted the label storyteller for the longest time, but the truth is that is what I am. What I’ve always been. People invite me into their stories, be it for a moment, and I try and re-tell them my way. Often the stories tell themselves, they lead me by the hand and all I do is listen to what I’m given.

But this time.


I really don’t even know where to begin. The story I’m about to tell is more complex than any other, yet it’s as simple as breathing. A couple of years ago, Jacqui and I went to Ubud in Bali for the first time. Serendipity lead us on winding roads to the small village of Sayan. We rented a beautiful house for a week, overlooking the Sayan Gorge and as soon as we arrived there, my whole body reacted in a way it never had before. I have never felt more in tune with a place, it felt like the world and I were finally breathing in sync. When we had to leave Sayan, I knew I had to come back one day.

When Elora and Rajiv contacted me about their Bali wedding, they never mentioned where in Bali they were getting married, but from their first contact, I knew I had to shoot it. I was meant to shoot it. It took me months to understand why. As it turns out, Elora grew up in the house next to where we had been staying that time in Sayan. As a girl she had been playing in the rice paddies of the Sayan Gorge dreaming that she’d one day would marry her prince charming there.

Elora’s father, John Hardy, raised his family in the heart of Bali, and once you visit Sayan, you will understand why.

Elora met Rajiv in NYC. There he was, the prince of her dreams. Because that he is, a very, very charming prince. I ramble now, and I realise I will never to explain everything about this wedding to you, all the ins and outs, so I’m just going to present it to you. I need to explain a few things though. The wedding took place over three days. The first day John took the guests of a wondrous hike, explaining how the Balinese irrigation system works, showing us all how the farmers grow and harvest rice. It was hot, wet and extremely humid, but i still felt a strange connection with everything I saw, my senses turned on the max, the hairs on my arms tingling. After the hike we finished up with lunch down by the river before people took a soothing dip in the spring pouring over the cliff from the Hardy residence.

Later that night, all the guests met up at Bambu Indah for the first celebration, an Indian ceremony and the craziest dance party I’ve ever seen.

Day two started early. Elora’s dress was made from fresh Jasmine flowers and she was later sewn into it. A bridge had been made from bambu and on that Elora and her father walked across the river to the ceremony. Later we shot the portraits in the rice paddies where Elora had played as a little girl before me met up with the guests in a village close by for the reception. And here I know my images can’t show you the glory of what I saw. The reception that night took place under a large Banyan tree, I have never seen anything like it before. As you’ll notice, there aren’t too many traditional wedding details in this post and that’s because Bali itself is the detail, the fabric of these days, and that’s why the images can’t show you what it was like.

Day three. Elora and Rajiv were blessed in a local ceremony before they invited the locals to a feast under the stars. About 500 people were fed and several times I had to remind myself to shoot the magic in front of me. It was just so much to take in.

I know these images can’t tell you the whole story, there’s no way they can explain it to you, but hopefully they will give you an idea.

All I can give you is a glimpse, show you a fraction of what I saw, a taste of what we all felt.

The week before the wedding Elora sent me an email with a  photo of herself.

It simply said,

It will be just like this.


Today’s wedding is today featured on Oncewed here and here and was also published in American Vogue last month.

music credit: Balmorhea – We Will Rebuild With Smooth Stones (iTunes)



Incredible photos, what camera did you use for these?

beautiful place. send me email if you have anotehr like this.

What a wonderful story and a lovely couple. I have heard a lot of wedding destinations in Bali. Bali is indeed a wonderful place, a perfect place to have such a magical moment at. Thank you for sharing this fascinating and magical moment with us. Please do visit us at http://www.jellekuiper.nl/, he is a very artistic man. Thank you.

I am fascinated by the way you have presented every moment of this extraordinary event!

I never get sick of looking at these pics! SO much inspiration I can’t deal.

Amazing pictures from stunning country, wow

I think the best thing about viewing your work is that I learn about places I never knew existed.

Just been going through your work again! I love your work so much man.

This is so magical

Wonderful story in a country with millions of details , good job as always, totally inspiring your work

Your photography makes me feel like I was there—sights, sounds, smells, everything. Artistic, heartfelt photography at its best! Thank you for your dedication to your work.

That’s not destination wedding, it’s a National Geographic estory!!! Perfect!

This is SO amazing. Great great work.


That’s such a lovely work! My name is Terence, we have a travel blog that tells interesting Bali travel stories and your awesome photography gave me an inspiration for a story idea.

I was wondering if I could feature 1 or 2 pictures on your site? We will be giving full credit to you and a link back. We also have loyal readers that could be your potential clients!

Let us know, thanks!


Waa waa wee wah! Shamazing!


We will have our wedding 21st june 2015 in Gothenburg. What price can you offer for a whole day?

Where are you from?

best regards

Bellaz, Hermosa.. I dont know what is the best words to describe these photos and the wedding

This is incredible. Amazing photography. This is storytelling.

Thank you Jonas for sharing this beautiful wedding one more time. It’s truly gorgeous

This is really something! Very inspirational people.. Thank you, Jonas, for this beautiful story! :)

Amazing! When I see this I think destination weddings as if one day I could make a similar would be a dream come true. Congratulations!

thats pure love. wonderful captured – stunning. <3

Beautiful work!!!!! You are a true artist. Congratulations!!!

Stunning photography near the paddy field ! Great wedding !


Great pictures, you are a genius full of talent

Really great work, i love Bali and boy would i love to shoot a wedding there someday. until then.. i just follow your work :-)

stunning story. dream.

Parabens Jonas pelo excelente trabalho!!!

this is. beautiful.

I want that! Amazing!

Great pictures, too, want to learn how to take pictures

thats an incredible :) love the passion and the bravery behind the story :) very successful !

Spine tinglingly stunning and beautiful. I could smell the jasmine and hear all the sounds. So beautifully captured. An epic story.

The most beautiful images I’ve ever seen. Just blew my mind!!!

Wooow!! hermoso reportaje, linda manera de ver el mundo a través de una cámara.
Beautiful story, beautiful way to see the world through a camera.

Very good and inspiring shots :)!!!

Great shots and im sure if was a great experience as well.

I’ve always wanted to go to Bali, but after reading this post last year, i was so moved, I wanted to see Sayan and the place where they got married.

And I saw it today. :) Lovely place, and you capture them SO BEAUTIFULLY! You’re AMAZING! i’m starting to save up so you can capture my wedding someday ;p

WoW, i really love this story! Congrats ;)

Fantastic work Jonas, just lovely!

Youre one of my biggest heros in wedding-photography. I learned so much only while watching your photos. Thnx a lot!!! Greets from Berlin, Germany :)

Simply beautiful photojournalism!

Simply stunning photography :)

Una boda espectacular!! completamente diferente a lo que se ve habitualmente, divertida, espontánea. No hace falta haber estado en esa boda para saber la historia porque ya las fotografías lo cuentan todo.

Nice like the new website you have!

Trully Amazing Work Jonas !

I’m speechless. Those pictures blew me away. You are amazingly talented!!! I’d love marry my husband again just so you can capture our wedding day.

wow,so amazing and beautiful view and shoots. Love the story. Its like Cinderella dreams come true. Like it so much! I like the themes and idea behind it. Well done!


Jag halkade in här av en händelse. Vilka fantastiska bilder du tar! Och vilket fantastiskt bröllop. Är helt hänförd. Vad duktig du är på att fånga bilden och känslan. Jättefina bilder!

Bali seems the same with our lush green places in the Philippines, but you seem to make it look like heaven :) super amazing job! You make me want to marry in Bali!

You know… this is so amazing… i love all the photos.

I love all the feel that you capture in this story…
I can’t stop to amazed.. Great Job..

Wow!! Incredible!!

What an amazing wedding. I’d love to shoot a wedding like this. Perfectly told.

Best wedding Photographer in the history of Mankind.

This is just crazy, how does one’s jaw not drop on the floor after seeing this. It’s ridiculous.

Your work is so stunning, and you are able to capture the mood of each individual wedding.
This is my absolute favourite, the bride’s dress is incredible!
I look forward to discovering more of your work!

I love this wedding. The scenery is just breath taking and so very well captured.

Love your style.

The tik-tak-toe with the animals is my favorite. It will just never exist again. It’s what I love about photography…..this will never happen again, and you’ve been the one to capture that moment. I like to go to your site for inspiration. Thank you.

You are Amazing!
I am in love with your work.

I’m speechless beautiful pictures. I would also want to get married

This is so inspiring. Obviously a truly incredible experience to take in, be a part of and to document. Beautiful work.

Amazing storytelling. :)

Vilket häftigt bröllop och oh så vackra bilder!

Enjoying these pictures is just like being your eyes!! Relaxed and Very Super Photography!

Amazing selection of photo’s capturing the stunning backdrops, the preparations and small details and the beautiful couple. Your style definitely “tells a story”. Lucky couple to have such wonderful images to enjoy.

Appreciate you don’t need my 189th Comment to say how stunning this wedding is on the eye, visual attractive and I bet you had so much fun. :)

this is like my dream..

Love the style of your photography, some truly great photos. keep up the good work!

I’ve long admired your work Jonas and this is so breathtaking! keep writing. love your stories through words and images.

That looks like one of the most amazing experiences and weddings ever how lucky are you getting to be a part of that! Amazing shots to well done.

Absolutely amazing, phenomenal work Jonas.

Amazing photojournalism… brilliant photography

Just Awesome … must have been great time.

Wow – where do you start! Awesome!

Beautiful images Jonas! But wedding itself too New Age for my taste…ehh

Absolutely stunning. Going to read the rest of your blog now. :)

I shook my head in amazement after every single image and the sheer beauty captured in every picture. The details alone made me tear up a little. Absolutely beautiful.

Absolutely stunning!

Beautiful images. We can feel the things from this living photos.

Hi there, Your photographs can tell a story. It’s emotional. Great work dude!

Beautiful wedding.

This is AMAZING ! I’m completely stunned by such beauties.
Thanks for sharing this fantastic experience with us !

AMAZING! brilliant light, wonderful couple !

woah. That dress..just..all of it. woah

Wow. Every image. And her dress!!

These shots take my breath away. What an amazing experience!

I just discovered your work and I am totally inspired! What an amazing wedding, lucky you! I am quite jealous ;-)

Wow…outstanding :) Och God Jul på dig, här i Sverige så här dagen innan Julafton så är det snöstorm så det var väldigt värmande att titta på dina underbara bilder.

The whole set is just unreal! The portraits in the field are especially lovely!

WOW, unbelievably beautiful!

what an amazing dress. Just have to go there some day. Thanks for sharing the story.

the mos epic amazing wedding i’ve ever seen…i’m so blown away!

I don’t look at wedding blogs much anymore for the most part. Not yours, not anyone’s. For many reasons. But I wanted to check out your recent work and I started scrolling through this wedding and I cried. and I scrolled again and again. It has touched me like nothing I’ve seen before. Not only is the location heart stopping gorgeous (I have a crush on Bali and long to visit so badly…) but the people involved and the celebrations are just so, seriously I can’t find the right adjective… some words that come to mind, boil these in a soup and add honey and the correct adjective may exist: spiritual, deep, loving, authentic, joyous, connected, virtuous, graceful, natural radiance. What an incredibly unique and precious experience for all involved.

So proud to have been some small part of this amazing event. Thank you for this amazing story that I will share with family and friends.it was a pleasure to spen time with you and your beautiful family

I know you’ve heard it before and most likely a few times by me but you are undoubtedly on of the best story tellers in this industry.

I have been feeling SO homesick for Indonesia yesterday and today and then I saw this and the feeling is so much stronger now. The photo with the people holding leaves as umbrellas hit me the hardest. Your photos are INCREDIBLE. (Also, that person complaining about the heavier bridesmaid is really silly.)

I can’t even comprehend what my eyes have just seen.

I don’t comment here much anymore because everything just pretty much leaves me speechless. this time I had to at least say it. bonkers, dude – you, and the wedding. it’s perfect in so many ways; no one better than you for this. drawn in completely.

Your work is so beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing.

What an awesome wedding! Truly beautiful.

Wow – Stunning in every way, the atmopshere, the location, the colours – your photography is awesome.

Gorgeous. Looking at the brides face in these images you can see the high level of emotion and joy that would have been felt on these three days.

whaooo most beutifull wedding I,ve ever seen. Just simply beautifull .
Johas you are an amazing photographer for capturing this true love and wonderfull story.

Awesome photos Jonas – an amazing story :)

Wow, if anyone earnt the position to be able to shoot this wedding it’s you. Amazing.

beautiful beyond words. and the dresses are simply stunning!

Awesome story telling. I feel like a guest here

This is why you’re the best mate. Seriously.

Fantastic work!
Definitely my favourite shoot of the year!

this is love, this is magic, this is life…!!!!

Wow Jonas, this is so amazing, I love the way you have captured this brides journey, makes me want to go to Ubud in an instance. You truly are a storyteller and you get to share the stories of so many, to others that would never even realise these stories existed if it wasn’t for your beautiful images. Love the pics of the boys too, the way you captured J was just so exact, love that little smile of his.

Yeah it’s ok I guess ;). Holy mother f’ing awesome.

Stunning. These pictures brought tears to my eyes. Don´t worry, they tell a lot more of the story than you think.

There are no words that can describe the overwhelming spiritual experience I felt while going through these images. In a just a few minutes something inside me has changed & for that I’m incredibly thankful. You’re one hell of a storyteller my friend, embrace it :)

Seriously. There are no words. You worked some serious magic on top of a magical couple, magical family and magical place. This one will stay with me for a long time.

Magical stuff, man! So wonderfully done.

Ah Bali! What a dream destination and what a fabulous wedding! Thanks for sharing this story.

Most beautiful and unique wedding I’ve ever seen captured on camera. Wow. Breathtaking. Amazing !!

Most intensely beautiful wedding. You are so talented at capturing the most exquisite photographs. x

@C – I’m not telling the whole story, but I most certainly haven’t left anyone out because they’re heavier. The accusation is ludicrous to me. There were six bridesmaids, I just picked three images to show off their different dresses. I could have showed that girl too, they were all equally beautiful. This is still one of the longest blog posts I’ve ever done, I just can’t show everything.

Fantastiska bilder som vanligt :) Men jag satt hela bildserien igenom med ett öga stängt, det andra halvöppet, och tänkte…nu slaktar de snart grisarna…yyyll..men de kanske var vegitarinaner…


Well hello! Just stunning Jonas :-) Loved your boys too, they look like such sweet kids.

Just a question/observation:

At what point do you decide what photo’s to Blog? What is Beautiful enough to make the cut?
I noticed that there are several Bridesmaids, yet only three or four reoccur in the photo’s that are posted. Looking at the photo of the Bridesmaids walking along the bridge to the creek ceremony – the left out Bridesmaid is in the very back, this Bridesmaid is not as Thin as the other Bridesmaids that recoccur in many photo’s and even feature in their own shot. In my opinion she is just as important and lovely as the other Bridesmaids. This Bride chose her to stand next to her and be her Bridesmaid, this lets you assume that she is infact of significance in the Wedding – and yet. She can’t really be seen in any other photo’s. If your telling a Story, would you not tell the whole story? If you have the chance to tell the story of a few chosen Bridesmaids, why did that one Bridesmaid get overlooked from the Blog?

That has brought tears to my eyes and helped me to believe in my dreams. Never in a million years could I have thought of a celebration created such as this one… it has filled me with visions I didn’t know existed.
Your photography captures more than just the picture…you can feel it.
Thank you for sharing x

I am astounded by the beauty of this place, the people and your images. WOW!!!

I know I just join the ranks of all the others who don’t even know where to begin, but seeing these images just makes me feel more alive. Like I’ve witnessed something that is truly once in a lifetime. What a magical way for Elora & Rajiv to start their married lives together.

Breathtaking! I am in awe. Thank you for such beautiful and overwhelmingly powerful images!

Absolutely stunning!! Such beautiful photographs.

How funny, as I was looking through the photos I was thinking hmm I know I’ve seen these photos before.. And then as I got to the bottom I remembered, oh yeah they were in Vouge :) AMAZING!

Never seen anything like it .. wow!

Dude, this would have to be my favourite wedding of yours to date. Ridiculously good photography!

I’m not sure the words exist to describe how utterly incredible this is.


This wedding, and these images, gave my chest a tight lump. I have no words for this. wow. Thank you as always for being such an inspiring photographer, and shooting way, way outside of the box.

this story has completely redefined the word “wedding” for me. i have never seen something so beautiful. and i feel privileged to have seen it. thank you.

amazing ‘storytelling’ Jonas, made me (and 1000s of others no doubt) want to go there. I could smell the smells and almost feel the place – let alone the love x

Thanks for sharing :)
I `ve just been to Bali and stayed at Bambu Indah for 3 weeks in Kuning House for three delicious weeks of Yoga.
I love the “ship” we did our yogapractice there.
John are truly a faboulus person inside out. His burning soul penetrates the hole place.

Sayan is breathtaking. And ypu captured everything so well.

Thanks again.

An amazing story told via beautiful photography!

A standing ovation for this magical story-telling, Jonas. Well done again, friend.

This IS the most beautiful wedding you have ever shot. And I really really feel like you have not been able to caputre it in all its glory. But your photos are wonderful, and I love the scenery around this wedding. It is absolutely gorgous. I am very jealous, I would love to attend an amazing wedding like this! You are very lucky!

magnificent storytelling. completely absorbing.

increible trabajo Jonas, las fotos te salieron genial!

Um dos casamentos mais impressionantes que vi até hoje.
Parabéns Jonas!

Breathtaking, amazing, wonderful.

Stunning! I can feel this wedding. Sometimes you look at photos and it just shows you what happened. Maybe because you were so emotionally seduced by the location and people that it actually came through in the photos.

Amazing work and what a blessing to have experienced such a beautiful union.

im just shaking my head jp. unreal.

Simply stunning photography:couple; location …

That’s absolutely mind-blowing. In so many ways.

What a magical wedding day with such striking images to match- a perfect fit of photographer and wedding- great work Jonas!

This shouldn’t be legal!! Off the hook

Powerful! Awesome storytelling photography.

Theses are so beautiful, and what a fabulous setting for a wedding. The whole thing actually looks like a dream.

Well done JP.

that is the most kick-ass wedding I’ve ever seen! I stayed at Bambuh INdah last year, and it brought back so many great memories for me. Its a special place. So how on earth do you top this?

There probably isnt a singular word in any dialect that can describe this. I can’t put it into words except it’s just…..

wow!! such an awesome wedding.

This is the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever seen! WOW!

Incredible images Jonas, what an experience. Thanks for sharing.

Mindblowing and breathtaking. Still so poor words to describe what you’ve done. Love it!!

An Absolutely magical story told by an Absolute master storyteller.

words cannot describe how awesome this post is!

Awesome movie. (This photos have smell, sound, motion, soul. They are alive.)

Most enchanting wedding ever seen. The detail and the setting and the photography is breathtaking.

Simply beautiful. I can’t imagine how many photographs you would have taken in those 3-4 days. Truly beautiful. What a place to get married :D. Those 2 vertical shots are my favorites one where she is getting ready and the other is where both of them are standing at the edge above the pool. Too good.

I have been following your work for a few months now and I am completely bowled over by your style. Very inspiring as always. How you “I try and re-tell them my way. Often the stories tell themselves, they lead me by the hand and all I do is listen to what I’m given.” is what amazed me completely. Very very inspiring work. I am learning to Adapt to your style with my ideas. I don’t know how you do it, but the film-like and feel that you get works so perfectly.

beautiful, magical, perfectly captured.

This is pure magic. This is certainly a piece of wedding photography history. Jonas, you are blessed with greatness. I hope you understand that.

Everyone of these photos could stand on their own. These are simply fantastic congrats on the publication Jonas you are amazing!

What an experience!…..and amazing photography, yes you sure do tell a good story.

Jonas! This is amazing and gives me new inspiration for the ways to reflect the feeling and atmosphere of the wedding event. The image of the wedding ceremony by the river is the most beautiful ceremony image I have seen. Gorgeous. Thank you:)

these images are like stills from a hollywood film – correction – not even hollywood could imagine or create something this breathtaking………..

without words, amazing!

this is so magical!

Amazed as always! Thank you for sharing and inspiring!!!

Totally amazeballs and we had a wee list from Jacqui of places to visit when I went to Ubud in August. Did not disappoint.


Epic doesn’t even begin to describe it. Bravo Jonas!

3 days of awesomeness !!! great beautiful works jonas… :) if you are on my budget, i’d hired you to re-tell my wedding stories for sure….

What an incredible story Jonas, you’ve captured it with heartfelt emotion. Amazing stuff.

I am sat here listening to that beautiful guitar playing and looking through what can only be described as such a stunning set of photos. Incredible. Incredible. Incredible.

Wow. This is the reason to be a destination wedding photographer. Incredible, Pulitzer worthy work.

incredible. yes, incredible.

this is AMAZING! you captured the essence of Ubud very well, definitely a magical place to be, it looks spiritual and I love that it was held outdoor everyone blended with nature. They look very happy, looks like a very well planned wedding.

This is the most inspiring wedding photography I’ve ever seen

I agree with Dan O. I could almost smell Bali.
Now THAT is how you do a Destination Wedding.

Wow, the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen – captured beautifully.
No wonder you fell in love with Bali, what a way to experience it.

*blank* – nothing I type can match what I’ve just read and viewed. fact.

Oh this is GLO-RI-OUS!! Awesome stuff, Jonas! Breathtakingly awesome!

Stunning work as usual Jonas … I can totally understand why Bali makes you feel that way. To shoot a wedding there must have been amazing!

Helt galet vackert! Vilken storytelling.. Känns som man hör musik Och trummor! Mäktigt.

If I could, I would choose you as my wedding photographer. You’ve come to Brazil?
Your work is very very very beautiful!!

Genial un enorme trabajo en un mundo espectacular …….

so, so good man. The images made me feel like I was there.

Extraordinary. Speechless and teary :-)

Holy Moly! This is the definition of an EPIC Wedding.

toward the end i started to smell bali.. that means its working. great job brother

Wow! Oh wow! You must have been in heaven!

A master of storytelling, simply stunning photography

Wow Johns this is incredible !!!

Gasp!!!!! this is amazingly beautiful Bali Bali Bali in love with everthing there. You have captured this stunning wedding with so much love through your lense. I am of course in awe of the incrediable flower dress they really know how to construct and weave flowers over there. You are a true story teller <3

Absolute life changing work…May God bless you to continue on this journey..we will follow you through it. thank-you so much for sharing. Story-teller you are :)

That’s nuts. You rock Jonas! Tack!

You are truly gifted. How you always manage to give me chills and make my eyes moist..thank you.

Thanks, everything feels so integrated, the story, the nature, the people, your vision.

This. is. Unreal. Embrace the term “storyteller,” because you truly are one. The emotion really comes through.

Incredible. Absolutely incredible. Completely mind blowing.

This just may be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. You’re brilliant.

The way you described how in tune you feel with Bali is precisely how I feel about Iceland. But more to the point of the matter, this is a masterpiece. Sheesh….

ugh!!! simply stunning. Your work is breath taking, it always leaves me in awe.

Amazing is an understatement. Well done.

just jaw dropping gorgeous !

Oh my word! this is just sublime. You are a lucky man Jonas!

“Dear Jonas, Thanks for continually raising my bar.
Yours faithfully,
Wedding Photography”

Just wow, man. This looks uh-mazing.

You always blow me away. But Bali is my special place ….. Sigh ……. These pics are heaven in a vision!

first wedding blog I’ve started crying as I went through. thank you for sharing

One of the best wedding stories ever told. Incredible work my friend.

so effing good, Jonas. Amazing imagery, beautiful storytelling. Art.