First Dance Video
What were your wedding events?
Thursday Mehndi – in Pleasanton
Friday: during the day was a rehearsal with our family and bridal party.
Friday night was the traditional rehearsal dinner at the venue. We rented out the whole venue for our wedding weekend. We had our siblings and bridal party stay on the property with us, so there were about 50 people that night.
We kept it a relatively short night since the next day started early and was a long day.
Friday night was more of a casual evening. Guests wore Western clothes and we brought in a wood-fired oven caterer to make artisinal fusion Indian and American style pizzas, catered by Tutte al Forno. Kevin and I gave a more intimate speech where we individually recognized our families and the bridal party. We asked each person to stand up. It was emotional and special to be able to share that with our family and friends.
How did you select your venue?
The day after we got engaged we went to Livermore. We visited the Purple Orchid. We spent 2-3 months looking at venues. We needed a venue that:
- allowed outside catering
- wanted something with a more intimate feel
- could handle back-to-back ceremonies
- had to be convenient to get to; as we had guests arriving from all over the world
- I wanted an outdoor wedding and outdoor dinner
We were really happy with Purple Orchid. We dealt directly with the owners and they were flexible in allowing us to bring some outside alcohol, outside catering, extended our reception 30 minutes and have experience with South Asian weddings – particularly fusion weddings.
The Wedding Day
Saturday morning I started getting ready at 8am. The Hindu ceremony was first – in the late afternoon, followed by vidai, cocktail hour, the Christian ceremony and the reception.
Kevin and I exchanged notes that morning. We were so excited to be getting married!
Since it was a mid-afternoon ceremony we placed a little snack on each chair for the guests to enjoy during the ceremony.
The Hindu ceremony ran about an hour over schedule so we didn’t do the vidai. Instead I got ready for the Christian ceremony, while our guests enjoyed cocktail hour. I had about an hour to change, redo my hair and makeup and take photos.
Rain and a Tent
With rain in the forecast, a few days before our wedding we decided to put up a clear tent with the help of our planner.
Dealing with putting a tent up, last minute, was a little stressful. Kevin and I are planners so doing things last minute isn’t our style.
However it’s one of those things that is a last minute decision because you don’t know if you’ll need it. And if you don’t need it you don’t want to incur the cost, as it can be pricey.
A few days before the wedding we decided to move forward with it. At that point there was limited time and limited availability of tents, so we had to choose one and go with it. We selected a transparent tent and worked with our vendors to make sure everything went smoothly.
We got lucky. It didn’t rain on our wedding day but it did rain the day before. Luckily they put the tent up the night before so the grass was protected. Tenting was worth it. The temperature really drops at night; and if we hadn’t put the tent up, I think guests would’ve left right after dinner.
I really wanted my father to walk me down the aisle. Kevin and I wanted all parents to be part of the ceremony entrances so my mom, father-in-law and mother-in-law entered the ceremony altogether.
I entered on a dholi carried by my brothers and cousins.
Bridal party clothes
We went back and forth on this. Should everyone wear Indian clothes for the Hindu ceremony? Should everyone change for the Christian ceremony? Is there enough time for all of this? In the end the groomsmen wore suits and the bridesmaids wore lehengas. And no one changed – they wore those same clothes the entire day. With such a tight schedule getting that many people to change would’ve been complicated. Plus we wanted to make the whole day a fusion of Western and Indian cultures so it all worked out great.
Was this Kevin’s family’s first Indian wedding experience?
Yes, they hadn’t had much exposure to Indian culture before I started dating Kevin. So there was a lot of education. They loved all the colors and how lively everything was. My mother-in-law wore a sari at the Hindu ceremony. We got her sari from India and she loved it!
Not only were we incorporating Western and Eastern cultures into our wedding day, but also Gujarati and Bengali cultures as well. I held the betel leaf, per Bengali tradition during the Hindu ceremony. Our priest was Bengali as well.
Kevin and I talked about doing a non-traditional first dance. I didn’t want to just dance to a slow song. But we were both so busy that we didn’t have time to think about it and before we knew it, our wedding was only a week away. That’s when Kevin got really into it. He chose a medley of 5 songs (Indian and American), some of which are meaningful for us and he choreographed an entire dance himself. Every night that week we practiced after work. I’m so glad we did, as it was one if the most memorable parts of our wedding day.
Incorporated our friends and family into the wedding
- I really wanted our friends and family to be part of our celebration. I gathered a collection of photos (several hours of going through archives) of our family and friends to display on the wedding day.
- Some of our vendors were friends of friends.
- I really wanted a cookie bar at the reception. Some of my friends each made 50-75 cookies. One friend wants to be a pastry chef and this was a great way to get her involved and helpful to her too.
Rehearsal Dinner: Tutte al Forno, is a mobile wood-fire oven caterer, specializing in artisinal pizzas.
Cocktails and Reception: Madhuban;We served primarily Indian food on the wedding day but we made sure to have one non-Indian item for anyone who didn’t like or couldn’t eat Indian food.
Clothes: VAMA Designs – I went to several places to look for clothes in the Bay area as well as New Jersey. I didn’t like the stuff I saw. I didn’t know what to do. Through the grapevine I heard about VAMA Designs. I went to her house and I liked her work a lot. All of the bridesmaids dresses and my lehenga came from her.
Dresses for flower girls: Etsy; I had been looking for flower girl dresses that matched our color scheme and looked fusion-y – they were actually made in india but I ordered them through Etsy.
Coordinator: Bash Creative
Decor (Mehndi Function): Vivah Decoration
Decor (Wedding Day): EventWorks; Mandap, tables, chairs, silverware, china. It was their first time making a mandap and they did a fantastic job.
DJ: Music Mantra DJs
Photography + Cinematography: Wedding Documentary Photo + Cinema
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