How did you plan your wedding?
We chose not to hire a coordinator to help us with the entire thing. We hired Atrina from Bridal and Event Lounge to help us a few weeks before and the day-of she was fantastic.
Rishi and I had both just moved to New York and started our first year of residency. Despite how busy we were, we booked some vendors and the venue before we moved to New York and were able to rely on our families to take care of a lot for us.
Where was your sangeet?
We had it Shehnai restaurant in Brea. The Embassy Suites in Brea was our official wedding hotel. It’s right across the street from Shehnai so that was very convenient.
Did you set up a room block at the hotel?
Yes. We ended up occupying about 60-70 rooms. We set up a contract for the room block which meant we were held financially accountable to occupy a certain percentage of rooms in the block. It worked out perfectly.
Plus they include breakfast with the rooms which was nice as we didn’t have to make additional arrangements for that.
How did people get to each venue?
Pretty much everyone rented cars. For the ceremony, they drove their rental cars. In the evening we hired buses for the reception that went back and forth between the hotel and the Nixon Library.
Were there any cultural differences that you had to work through for the wedding?
Not really. Some minor things. He’s Punjabi and I’m from different parts of North India so everything was pretty much the same except milni. That’s not a tradition in my family but it is in Rishi’s. So we did it and it was fun.
How many people were at your wedding and reception?
We had about 200 guests at the wedding and about 300 at the reception.
Did you have a time gap in-between the wedding and reception?
Yes. We had the baraat, milni, the ceremony, and lunch catered by Manohar’s Delhi Palace.
Our cocktail hour was actually 2 hours – from 6-8p. The reception went on until 1am.
How did you select the Nixon Library for the wedding and reception?
I liked the venue and that they’re really flexible. For instance they let us go until 1am for the reception. They allowed outside catering and have a food and beverage service company called White House catering which provides all the service and wait staff, bartenders etc. They were really good as they made a signature drink for us and as our guests walked into the reception, they handed each person a glass of sangria – that was a really nice touch.
Plus, it was so convenient. They provide all the function space, tables, chairs, linens, silverware, glassware etc. For instance the Fullerton Arboretum doesn’t which would have been a lot more work for us to coordinate.
Did you consider other venues?
I didn’t want a hotel and we couldn’t do a beach wedding with our number of people. The only hotel I did consider was the Laguna Cliffs Marriott. We looked at Sherman Gardens but they didn’t allow outside catering, same with the Long Beach Aquarium. We also liked the Fullerton arboretum for the ceremony but it’s like a very DIY venue and with heels and Indian clothes in the garden our families felt that our guests would be uncomfortable.
Tell us about your first dance.
My little sister played the piano and sang our first dance song. It was a very special moment for us.
- If you’re extremely busy and have others you can rely on for planning – let go of some of it.
- Every time we’d get annoyed about something while planning, we’d stop planning, find a fun song, and start dancing together.
- Realize that in the end it’s going to be a perfect day because everyone who you want to be there is and you never know when you’re going to get that chance again.
- If you can, go around to each table at the reception and take photos with the guests.
How did you do this remotely?
We booked the venue before we started residency and picked some of our vendors. Rishi and I did lot of FaceTime calls with vendors. It was hard because of the time difference.
For Rishi the music was important. For me decor was really important. 2 Create Designs did a great job. There were things that I forgot I told her, but she remembered and the stuff showed up the day of. She arranged a canopy for the ceremony which was perfect. We got married in July so it was really hot but because she thought about the canopy our guests were still comfortable. our programs were fans too.
Did you have a theme for your reception?
We wanted a travel theme. We’ve moved a lot since we’ve known each other so each table had a place we’d lived and a little about that place. My little sister Ritu, does graphic design so she designed everything for us. And we made a donation to Doctors Without Borders.
Did you consider other photographers besides Lin and Jirsa?
I’m not comfortable in front of the camera so it was important to work with someone who wasn’t going to make me feel self conscious. The great thing about Lin and Jirsa is whomever shoots your engagement shoots your wedding. Pye was so great! We did our engagement in Laguna Beach and he made it so fun!
How did you arrange the bridal party clothes?
They emailed me their measurements for the blouses and petticoat lengths. The guys kurtas we got in India as well. The kurtas were so easy to take care of. I just walked into store and said I want 9 of these and they just mailed them to me.
Cake and mini desserts:
Caterer: Manohar’s Delhi Palace. We got a lot of compliments on the food.
Clothes: Rishi’s wedding Sherwani, Dreams Collection.
Decor: 2 Create Designs; I love her flower arrangements and her style.
Gelato Cart: Our guests loved this! In the day he did more fruit flavors and in the evening richer flavors. It was so hot so it was a big hit!
Graphic Design: Ritu Ghiya
Makeup: Couture Beauty. She did my sister’s wedding and a few of my friend’s weddings. She does more of a natural look and she can do hair, makeup and draping.
Photography: Pye Jirsa from Lin and Jirsa Photography
Planner: Atrina Mirza from Bridal and Event Lounge. She was wonderful. She ensured everything was on schedule and ran smoothly.
We wanted a couple long tables for our families. The tables that the Library had were nice but our the decor design that we had was too full for their tables and we didn’t know that until like right before the wedding and the decorator worked with the coordinator to bring in other tables. I didn’t even know about this until after the wedding weekend was over.
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