Indian weddings really are quite magical don’t you think? Consider then, combining the mystic of India with the charms of a Jewish ritual and you’ll discover something like this amazing Northern California fusion wedding. The couple are so adorable together and Bellalu Photography‘s images are so full of emotion, fun, and color, you almost can hear the music and feel the love bouncing off the screen. It’s a multicultural love-fest which is totally bewitching, so let’s just say you’ve been warned!
What was the vision &/or theme for your wedding?
The driving force in planning our wedding was finding a beautiful place in Northern California where our guests could spend a weekend. Because the ceremony & reception would be held outdoors on a long summer day, we did not identify a theme but instead decided to maximize the outdoor natural beauty as much as possible and use it as our backdrop.
Traditional Hindu wedding ceremonies take place around a fire; so when Seth & I wrote the ceremony, we decided to have our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family members each carry a candle to the chupdap (combination of chuppah and mandap) and set it on a table. Our ceremony would then take place around a collection of flames built by our community.
Tell us about your Wedding Style
Indian brides traditionally wear red for good luck and prosperity. My incredible aunt, who lives in Hong Kong, had the red sari designed and made in India. I paired the outfit with flat sandals (to comfortably walk in the grass and easily take off my shoes for the ceremony) and family jewelry (It was so special to wear my mother’s diamond bangles, and my late grandmother’s gold, diamond-studded safety pin.) Seth wore a beautiful custom charcoal suit made by Duchess (based in Portland) with Vans shoes and black and red argyle socks (to complement my sari). Bouquets were put together by Blue House Farms using whatever flowers were fresh and beautiful at the time. Instead of carrying flowers, our wedding party carried candles.
For the reception, Seth and I both changed our clothes. I changed into a WTOO by Watters gown (Zora) and incredibly comfortable and fun peep-toe pumps (made by Rockport & Adidas – I’m serious about my dancing!) I wore family jewelry, and at the reception, my beloved grandfather slipped on one of my late grandmother’s diamond bangles onto my wrist – another moment I’ll never forget. Seth changed into a traditional Indian kurta and kept his vans on. Just after my grandfather slipped the bangle onto my wrist, he adorned Seth with a gold necklace from the family.
Because I was wearing red, I asked the bridesmaids to wear cream colored dresses. I had each bridesmaid choose their own dress so they could control the style, fit, and budget. It worked out well! I loved how everyone’s personality and style came through. They each also incorporated a red dahlia into their hair. Our flower girl wore a red Indian dress to match me and carried a bouquet down the aisle.
The groomsmen all wore gray suits (of their own choosing) with suspenders, Vans sneakers, and a combination of green/blue/turquoise argyle socks. Their boutonnieres were made by Blue House Farms (I loved how they turned out – one of my favorite details. Thistles are the best weed out there!)
Decorations & Flowers
Our color palette for printed materials was simple and natural – brown kraft paper with the occasionally green or turquoise accent (trees, ocean..).
We wanted to keep the focus on the beautiful rolling hills, tree groves, and ocean that surrounded us; decorations were minimal with strings of outdoor lights and white linens on the tables accented by bright bouquets of colorful flowers from a local organic farm (Blue House Farm: http://bluehouseorganicfarm.com).
Wedding Cake & Favors
There’s a delicious strawberry farm just a few miles south of Costanoa (Swanton Berry Farm: http://www.swantonberryfarm.com) . When visiting the area, we often stopped for a few chocolate covered strawberries or piece of strawberry shortcake. We were so excited to order an oversized strawberry shortcake, collection of berry pies, and dozens of chocolate covered strawberries for our wedding day dessert.
For wedding favors, we assembled welcome bags that our guests received upon arriving/checking in with snacks, drinks, information about the area, and flip flops. At the reception, we put out brown to-go boxes that we decorated for guests to pack up extra dessert for later.
Did you include any DIY or personalized details?
We did a lot of DIY – it was fun and useful to keep our budget on track. One detail that comes to mind is the ‘chupdap.’ In Judaism the couple marries under a Chupah, which symbolizes the home the couple will build together. It has open sides to welcome all friends and family in. In Hinduism, the couple marry in a Mandap, the four pillars of which represent the four parents of the couple, without whose support, love, and blessings, the marriage would not have come to take place. We were so excited about this parallel and Seth built the structure with the help of his groomsmen.
Was there anything that made your wedding unique?
Honestly, our community made our wedding unique & unforgettable. In particular, our sisters, cousins, and bridesmaids got together to perform a medley of Bollywood dances, and the groomsmen performed a special rendition of “Just Dropped In” from The Big Lebowski – with custom lyrics, dance moves… everything. They looked amazing in their suspenders, shaking their groove thing. They each then presented me with special gifts to help me out as Seth’s wife (a combination of funny, sweet, sarcastic jokes about sweet Seth, and a really special moment between me and those amazing guys). These details – the ones we had no idea about and could not plan for – made our wedding unique and memorable. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such incredible people.
What did you find challenging?
In the beginning, it was challenging to “turn off” the planning. We quickly learned to set a cut off time, and come 9 or 10 pm on weeknights after work, we simply wouldn’t talk wedding planning anymore. It was one of our best ideas.
What were your favorite moments?
Too many to count! The first time we saw each other before the ceremony in a sweet little reveal orchestrated by Lindsey & Nathan; pausing during the ceremony to turn around and look at our guests (a moment we had written into the ceremony that turned out to be so powerful for us and fun for our guests); watching Seth dance with his grandmother; dancing with my father to ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ (unrehearsed but just a perfect reenactment of Saturday mornings at home growing up); and all of the down time around Costanoa. We invited our guests to come spend the weekend with us, and those little moments by the fire, walking around the grounds, or bumping into someone on a trail were so special; it really gave our friends and family an opportunity to get to know each other. Last but not least, Costanoa has a hot tub, and Seth and I were able to sneak away on both Friday and Saturday night for a quick dip – it was one more amazing way to unwind, relax, and take it all in, under the stars.
Your advice to Bride’s & Groom’s planning now?
Be true to yourself, forget about the “supposed to’s,” and keep it simple. At the end of it all, you won’t really remember what exactly went into your welcome bags, or what color your blah-blah-blah was – you’ll remember how you felt.