Anita and Rohan
Hindu-Tamilian and Maharashtran
Sangeet: Metro Galleries
Wedding: Rio Bravo Country Club
Reception: The Bakersfield Marriott Convention Center
Photography: Callaway Gable
Reception: Bakersfield Marriott
Rohan: The ceremony primarily followed South Indian Hindu tradition with some Maharashtrian mixed in. We both wore the mundavalya and Anita wore a sari instead of a lehenga but didn’t change during the ceremony as there wasn’t time. As per most South Indian weddings, it was long – about 2.5 hours, not including time for the baraat.
We had an early morning start after a fun sangeet night, but still, everyone came. I think everyone appreciated that we served a light breakfast and chai. For anyone doing an early morning ceremony – we definitely recommend that.
Rohan: We didn’t expect the ceremony to be that long so our families decided to have the caterer place snacks and chai, during the ceremony as well, as guests started to get a bit antsy.
Rohan: The weather varied throughout the whole ceremony. At some points it was overcast with a light drizzle to windy to hot and sunny. We were so preoccupied we didn’t notice that much but it was funny as throughout the ceremony, from where we were sitting in the mandap, at points we saw umbrellas go up then down, people putting sunglasses on – it was all over the place. But thankfully, it never got to a point where we had to move indoors.
Guests enjoyed a traditional South Indian lunch after the ceremony, followed by a break until cocktail hour.
Working with a coordinator
Anita: By the time we hired the coordinator we had pretty much chosen our venues. We designed all of the decor and invitations on our own. The coordinator suggested vendors and arranged meetings with them. It was helpful to have her as a sounding board. She was great to work with and met us in Bakersfield a few times.
How did you select your venues?
Anita: I had been to a few weddings in the area and my parents had been to several venues as well. So we already knew who we wanted to call but there were several that weren’t South Asian-friendly. We liked Rio Bravo for the ceremony but it wasn’t big enough for the reception.
The Marriott was convenient for the reception as it’s only about a 30 minute drive from Rio Bravo. A majority of our guests came from out-of-town – like the Bay area and around the country so they all rented cars anyway so driving from venue-to-venue was not an issue. Plus having the reception at a hotel was convenient as everyone stayed there that night and didn’t have to drive anywhere.
Where did guests fly into?
Rohan: The closest major airport is LAX. Most guests rented cars and many stayed at the Marriott. A handful of people flew into SFO or Bakersfield airports but the Bakersfield airport is very small and doesn’t have a lot of flights.
What were each of your roles/responsibilities for planning?
Rohan: I handled all logistics and invitations, seating arrangement items. I was also sort of responsible for moving the whole thing along – making decisions and moving on to the next thing.
What were the most challenging aspects of planning for each of you?
Rohan: planning all of the logistics and little details – like putting invitations together and organizing songs.
Anita: planning design and aesthetics. When I was in it, it was pretty consuming. Now in hindsight I think it’s a bit ridiculous to worry so much and spend so much time and effort on decor.
Tell us about where you went shopping.
Rohan: My mom and I had bought a sherwani for my wedding a whole ago actually – before I had even proposed to Anita. We knew I’d need it someday and I liked it so we just bought it. =)
Anita: I went to Mumbai with my parents for two weeks to get my clothes and Rohan’s sangeet outfit too. We went to all the major stores there.
Since your family is from there did you already know where to go?
Anita: I had some stores in mind but I did research beforehand too. I don’t like bling so I thought I’d have to go more the designer route.Shopping there was difficult, as I didn’t like anything when I got there. After a few days of visiting stores and designers’ studios, I ended up finding a few designers whose clothes I liked – Payal Singhal, Ritu Kumar, and a Sabyasachi replica.
Did you bring everything back with you?
Anita: Yeah I was there for two weeks so everything got tailored in time.
You did a unique clothing change on your wedding day. Tell us about it.
We had three clothing changes that day: wedding, cocktail hour, reception.
We went to our cocktail hour for about 40 minutes and then went back to the room to change for the reception. The cocktail hour is one of the bride and groom best opportunities to hang out with their guests and have a chance to say hi to as many people as possible. But we didn’t want to appear in our reception outfits, as the grand entrance was important to us. At that time, Rohan and I exchanged gifts, right before the reception started. For the cocktail hour I wore a gown type anarkali and for the reception I wore a lehenga.
As I mentioned I don’t like bling, so the dupatta for my lehenga didn’t take forever to pin so my outfit change for the reception didn’t take long.
Did you have bridesmaids and groomsmen?
Anita: It wasn’t my thing for several reasons. I didn’t want to complicate wedding planning even more. I love all of my family and friends and didn’t know who to include and whom not to.
What was going through your mind when you walked down the aisle?
Anita: Both of my parents walked me down the aisle. I was holding a bouquet in one hand and a coconut in the other. I saw Rohan and thought, “this is actually happening, it’s kinda crazy this is actually happening.” I also remember thinking, “don’t drop the coconut.”
Anita and Rohan: I think we were super excited for our first dance at the reception, because that was the point at which everything was just a party from there on out.
What advice would you give to future couples?
- Don’t focus too much or go too overboard on flowers. Decor was a little more than just flowers so I’d say don’t go too overboard thinking about the flower arrangements at each event.
- Prioritize and think about degrees of quality. With all of the items at your wedding, from linens, to china, to flowers and chairs there are spectrums of quality. think about your priorities are and what point of the spectrum you want to be on for each item. Some people will really value premium linens and fine china. You can spend a lot of money getting premium-everything but think carefully about the real impact on your budget, your families and the whole outcome of the guests’ experience. Then determine what really matters and what doesn’t as much.
- Enjoy the wedding; at some point look around at all those people that came there just for you. The planning is stressful but the weekend itself is super fun so just enjoy the weekend itself.
- While planning, keep in mind that everything will work out.
Our wedding professionals team:
Cake and dessert: Cake Crafters in Bakersfield
We also had cupcakes from Sweet Surrender in Bakersfield.
Caterer: Brahma Bull. All of our meals were provided by them. Apparently they were really good, we didn’t get to eat. Everyday was so different – we loved that!
Chiavari Chairs: Best Party Rentals
Decor: Beth Wyrick from Celadon & Celery.
DJ: DJ Manny from Ambitious Vibes in Bakersfield, he was really great!
Linens: La Tavola Linens
Panditji: Venkata Chalapathi
Photography: Callaway Gable; they were amazing.
Planner: Nahid Farhoud from Wedding Elegance; she met with us more times than our contract, she came to Bakersfield a few times. She spent a lot of time with e on the phone. She advocated for us and stood by our side.
Videography: Imagique; we’d seen their work and prioritized photo and video