Mamta and Steve, Ceremony: at home, Reception: Hyatt Regency Orange County

Ceremony: Jain Ceremony at Bride’s Parents’ Home
Reception: Hyatt Regency Orange County
Bride and Groom: North Indian Jain – Mexican/Filipino Christian
Photography: D. Park Photography

Mamta’s advice on:

  • getting married at home
  • planning a wedding with a non-desi fiance
  • bridal party clothes and arrangements (22 people)
  • ideas for welcoming out-of-town guests
  • and more!

If there’s anything in the article you want more details on, email me: samta@shaadishop.co
Happy to share!

On hiring a coordinator
Hire a day-of or even a weekend coordinator to have someone there from the mehndi night to the last celebration. I recommend this, in particular, for people like me, who did not get married at a hotel or a venue that has a staff member manning the events.

Getting married at home
In traditional North Indian weddings, the groom arrives with the baraat to the bride’s home. I wanted that feel for my wedding. It was more work to coordinate all of the moving parts at home but it was worth it.  My advice is to think through all of the details by enacting the whole day/event step-by-step. You’ll end up with a comprehensive ‘to do’ list.  

On earrings and clothes
If you’re going to wear really having earrings, buy lighter backups that you can switch into after the photo shoots/mid-event, if your ears start to hurt. My ears took a week to recover and I couldn’t wear earrings that whole time, which was kind of a bummer. Similarly, my reception lehenga was so heavy that I wish I had bought another lighter outfit to change into once the dancing started. 

On the engagement shoot
We were so happy with our photos! D. Park Photography was fantastic to work with! Having an engagement shoot really contributed to that because we had an established relationship with our photographers. On the wedding day Steve and I were very at ease with them.

On welcoming out-of-town guests
We put together elegant bags with a variety of snacks, sweets, and water bottles bags that the hotel staff handed to the guests when they checked into the hotel. We personalized each bag with our wedding logo and attached a welcome message too. Everyone really appreciated this gesture.

Food for the bride and groom
Make sure someone gets food for the bride and groom and maybe just goes and puts it in their room. For that maybe remember to bring paper plates and utensils since you don’t want to take the restaurant’s items.

Food for the weekend
To honor Steve’s culture we served Mexican food on the mehndi night. People loved it and it was nice to have some variety, as opposed to heavy Indian food the whole weekend.  

How did you educate your in-laws about an Indian wedding?
This was their first time attending an Indian wedding. And they had never really had Indian food before until I introduced them to it. I took the ladies in Steve’s family to a store to see Indian clothes. They loved the colors and fabrics and were very excited. Steve showed his male relatives photos of kurta pajamas and they were really chill about it. Steve’s family is very open-minded. And, in many ways Mexican culture similar to Indian – big families, food is very important and lively celebrations. So everyone was so excited about everything. Plus they LOVED the idea of a baraat and that Steve was going to arrive by horse.

Arranging clothes for Steve’s family
We got saris, petticoats and blouses for all of Steve’s female relatives with matching jewelry. We gift wrapped everything and attached a personalized card and gifted the saris to each person.

How did you arrange bridal party clothes?
I wanted something my bridesmaids would want to wear again. We got everything in India – even though I couldn’t go. We were lucky to have a relative there who took care of it. There were 22 people in our bridal party. Steve and I got all of our friends’ measurements. My cousin in India sent us photos of saris over WhatsApp and Skype and when we selected one, she shipped us a sample and we loved it! Stores don’t carry so many identical saris so we got them made. Once we selected the saris, we selected the kurtas with a dupatta that matched the saris.

How did you ask your friends to be bridesmaids?
I handmade custom designed coasters for each of them. For example one of my bridesmaids is a painter, so her set had an image of one of her pieces.

How did all of the bridesmaids get ready?
We arranged hair appointments at a salon near my parents’ house. After hair, they came straight to the house. It was early in the morning so we set up breakfast, a room to get ready,  3 aunties to put on their saris, down to having safety pins, bobby pins, tissues etc. all ready so the girls had everything they needed.

As a surprise, when they arrived at the house, I gave each bridesmaid a lovely box full of matching chudiyan and bindis to wear at the wedding. They loved that! 

How did you arrange a horse baraat in a residential area – at your parent’s house?
My mom inquired with the city about permits etc. We also arranged a lunch for our neighbors and shared our plans to have a horse, mobile DJ and a dhol player. We invited them to the ceremony too. Similar to educating Steve’s family, we showed them photos and videos. Our neighbors were wonderful! They were excited and happy for us. And on the day-of, some neighbors even set up water stations on their driveways. It was a hot summer day so everyone appreciated the kind gesture.

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