Vik and Vilasini
Hindu wedding ceremony, Villa Francesca, Malibu, CA
Bride and Groom: Telegu and Kannadiga
Photography: Natalie Obermaier
Our vision was to have a simple and fun wedding that also honored our heritage. And as Southern Californians we took full advantage of this gorgeous place we call home.
We had a South Indian, Hindu ceremony on July Fourth weekend at a private estate in Malibu, CA. Working with our pandit – Shukavak Dasa we customized the ceremony to meet our wishes i.e. 1 hour ceremony, our mothers performed all of the rituals, and no change of clothes mid-ceremony.
Shukavak was integral to all of this. When we met with him, he led us through each step of the ceremony and listened to our input about what we wanted and didn’t want. We loved how flexible and amenable he was to our wishes.
What were the top 3 most important aspects in planning your wedding?
Aside from honoring our families’ wishes and combining our Eastern and Western traditions, we prioritized the venue, food and beverage, and music as these were integral for guest comfort as well as having a great time – and that’s what we wanted – everyone to have a great time!
We got married at a private residence called Villa Francecsa. Ours was their first South Asian wedding and by far the largest wedding they’d done (225). We loved the space! The ocean breeze kept everyone cool on the hot summer day as our whole wedding day was outdoors.
The day started off in the late afternoon with a baraat in front of the house. Since it was on a steep hill, having a horse was impractical, but Vik and Vilasini’s beloved dog, Penny Lane was there!
The ceremony was from 4-5pm, followed by cocktails. During that time we changed for the reception and our vendors flipped the ceremony space for the reception.
We wanted a very natural look. The grounds at the venue are so beautiful, we didn’t want to overshadow that with a lot of additional decor. We placed flowers in the swimming pool and hung market lights. We made table runners from saris – so they had a very appropriate light and breezy feel.
Food and Beverage
We served Andhra and Kannadiga fare prepared by Brahma Bull based out of Fresno. They specialize in South Indian food. While we didn’t have the opportunity to eat, our guests raved about the food! Since our ceremony started in the late afternoon, they had plenty of time to drive down from Fresno to Malibu and setup. They also setup a small satellite kitchen to cook a couple of items that couldn’t be prepared ahead of time.
Our friends are pretty knowledgeable when it comes to beers and spirits. We wanted to treat them to a cool selection to enjoy that night. With the help of our friend’s company Wine Expo and another friend who works for a winery, we selected about 8 different craft beers, a full selection of spirits, as well as red and white wines that were paired with the Indian cuisine.
For dessert we served Indian and non-Indian treats. A family friend graciously made a couple hundred big beautiful ladoos. Our caterer brought 4-5 Indian sweets as well. And instead of a cake we served an assortment of desserts from Vanilla Bakery in Santa Monica. Our guests loved it!
DJ Fernando from Vox DJ’s was awesome. He’d never done an Indian wedding before but that really wasn’t important to us as we were interested in a DJ who could do minimal emcee’ing and play a variety of music genres. Before the wedding he shared playlists he made for each event, based on our input. We loved his creativity and our guests had a blast dancing the night away.
Do you have any wedding planning advice?
Getting married on a holiday weekend has its ups and downs. It’s harder to find venues and they might charge extra. But you can make a mini-vacation out of it.
- Plan as much in advance as much as possible.
- Talk to people who have gotten married and get their tips on costs, vendors and working with vendors. Matching personalities and vision is important.
- Have a vision and try to stick to it.
- Decided early on who will have a say in your wedding plans and who will be accountable.
- Think about what could go wrong and do your best to come up with contingencies.
- If you’re doing an outdoor ceremony make sure your guests are comfortable – especially if you’re getting married in a place like Southern California, during the summer! We had parasols for our guests to use during the ceremony.
Our Wedding Professionals Team
Bakery: Vanilla Bake Shop. Their desserts are the perfect blend of sweet deliciousness! Our guests gobbled them up pretty quickly!
Batenders: Mr. & Mrs. Bartender: We worked with Tiffany; they came on board, just a week before the wedding and did a fantastic job! firstname.lastname@example.org
Caterer: The caterer was Brahma Bull, a restaurant in Fresno. They were magnificent. A family friend has a restaurant in Fresno and specializes in South Indian food as we wanted a mix of Andhra and Kannadiga food. We had a blend of veg and non-veg appetizers. She made a majority of the food ahead of time and brought it that day. Since our ceremony started in the afternoon she had time to drive down that day. Anything that needed to be freshly made on the spot. She brought a team of 5 people. The only challenge was she provided catering only so we had to arrange china, silverware, glassware etc. on our own. She provided some desserts as well.
Clothes: Frontier Heritage in Artesia; I wanted a light comfortable sari for the ceremony and a lehenga that I could dance in for the reception.
Coordinator: Maneeja Noory — She went above and beyond for us throughout the planning and the day-of. She found the servers, florist, and makeup & hair people. She met with the florist on my behalf because I could not get away from work. She set up the venue for the ceremony, managed ‘flipping’ the space in-between the ceremony and dinner, and helped clean up afterwards. I don’t know what I would have done without her! She was very professional, easy to work with, and punctual.
Decor: Flowers by Appt. They decorated the mandap, centerpieces, pool decorations, & bouquets. We hired him a week before the wedding. He came an hour earlier than he was supposed to set up and even helped out with other things. Contact: Bill Robblee (818) 231-8262
Dhol: Malinder Tooray. She’s so talented and can really get crowd moving!
Mehndi: Art Parlour Studio – They did beautiful work! It was a but pricey, but worth it!
Panditji: Shukavak Dasa – he was awesome! He did a beautiful job and the whole ceremony in about an hour. He knew our cultures very well and led us through the ceremony beforehand, asking us questions that were relevant to a South Indian ceremony. He asked us what we wanted and listened to our needs.
Parking/Valet:KEI Parking Management Services: It was a pricey service but worth it, especially at our venue. It was tricky to park all the cars and drive the guests up the hill to the venue on golf carts. All the guests said that they did a fabulous job and that no one felt a bottleneck or felt that it took too long.
Photographer: Our photographer is a friend of ours, Natalie Obermaier. She was amazing! She actually specializes in art photography vs. weddings but we loved her work and since we wanted an artsy feel to our photos it was a perfect match!
Rentals: 24-7 Events; We worked with Jennifer and we highly recommend this company. They came through with less than a month’s notice and did a fantastic job.
Wine: Wine Expo; They are very knowledgeable and were very accommodating to our needs. The owner, Ali, arranged all of the wine to be delivered directly to our venue which gave us peace of mind that nothing would go wrong and it was very convenient.
Congratulations Vilasini and Vik!