An Indian bride and groom posing for a photo at their sweetheart table at their wedding reception.

Shilpa and Utkarsh’s Indian Wedding

Indian bride and groom standing in front of a swing on their mehndi night
Photo: Yatin Birla

Tell us about your wedding planning environment.
I was living in SoCal. We decided to give ourselves plenty of time to plan the wedding – a little over a year. I really recommend giving yourself enough time. I got everything I wanted and loved all of my vendors. And even though everyone kept telling me to prepare for something to go wrong – nothing did! Everything turned out exactly as my fairytale wedding!

A mandap setup for an Indian, Hindu wedding ceremony

We decided on an indoor ceremony and the flame was fine.

How did you search for venues?
I wanted something that wasn’t too far from my parent’s house since all of our pre-wedding events were taking place there.

We were open to different types of venues. I looked at the Mandir in Chino Hills, different country clubs and hotels. In the end we liked hotels the best as they are beautiful and so convenient!

We debated about doing the ceremony indoors or outdoors. At first we were thinking about getting married in the Fall, so we could have gone either way. Then we decided to give ourselves more time to plan and pushed it to Memorial Day. We decided to do it indoors as we knew it would be pretty hot and we didn’t want our guests, nor us, to be uncomfortable.

Hyatt Regency Orange County's fountain

What other venues did you consider?
We looked at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, Long Beach and several other hotels surrounding Disneyland.

What made you select the Hyatt Regency Orange County?
Their staff was really easy to work with. It has a really nice grand entry way. The location was perfect too. The majority of our guests (especially the groom’s side) came from out-of-town so we wanted traveling to/from the airport to be very easy for them. Many people rented cars and getting around to the wedding events was easy, given how close Fullerton (where our sangeet was held) and Anaheim are to one another.

The grand ballroom setup for an Indian wedding reception at the Hyatt Regency Orange County
Beautiful initials and design on the dance floor
a table and table settings at an Indian wedding reception.

What were your colors for the reception?
Our colors were royal blue, gold, and silver.

How did you come up with the design or what you wanted?
Yogi and I met to go over looks that would fit my vision. I told him I like more of a regal look and I showed him some photos I’d collected. 
He and my DJ worked very very well together. With Nick’s lighting concepts and Yogi’s decor our wedding came together seamlessly.

Table at a wedding reception decorated and setup for the evening.

 How did you incorporate each of your respective cultures?
Utkarsh is Punjabi and I’m Maharashtran. We were able to incorporate both of our traditions pretty easily.

The day before the wedding we had the Simanth pooja which is a Maharashtrian tradition.
You can think of it like Maharashtran milni. The bride’s family does this pooja when the groom’s family come into town. We also had a Grihashanti pooja.

On our wedding day, we did the milni after the baraat arrived. And I wore chura, commonly worn by Punjabi brides. It was pretty easy to include all of our traditions as our families were very amenable.

An Indian bride and groom doing their first look photos dressed in their traditional ceremony clothes
The Indian bride wearing her beautiful red lehenga and gold nath.

Where did you go shopping?
In Delhi – mostly in Rajouri Gardens and South Ex. I got all of my clothes, jewelry and invitations there.

wedding favors brought from India for an Indian wedding

What were your reception favors?
We got decorative jewel boxes from India shipped to us and dropped them off at the Godiva store at the Brea Mall. They put chocolates inside each box, wrapped them and delivered them directly to the Hyatt.

Was there anything fun or unique that you included at the reception?
Yeah, we had a service called FlipBook. Each person got a little miniature book. Utkarsh and I made our own little book. They record you for 3-5 seconds; during that time we did a silly dance move and a few minutes later got a little book that was an animation of us! It’s kind of the new thing instead of a photo booth. It was really fun and a nice moment for our guests to have!

Tell us about your first dance.
Our song is Tum Hi Ho, so we did a regular slow dance to that for about a minute, then we danced to another one of our favorite songs: John Legend Tiesto remix to “All of Me”.

Indian bride and groom dancing together at their wedding reception

For our second song, we did a traditional ballroom dance, Cha Cha. We took lessons in the bay area to prepare. It was a fun challenge!

Where was each event held?
The haldi, mehndi and poojas were a my parent’s house.

An Indian bride's mehndi on her two hands

The sangeet was at the Fullerton Community Center and completely outdoors.

We wanted our sangeet to make people feel like they were attending a wedding in India. We looked at a lot of venues – community centers and restaurants that could create the perfect atmosphere.

We decided on the Fullerton Community Center for their large outdoor event space that can be molded to fit different event elements. We had cocktail tables, sit down tables, a lounge, a stage, food stations and a couple of bars.

We had 8 performances that night and afterwards opened it up to dancing. One of our favorite parts of the venue was we had it until midnight as there were no noise ordinances! That’s really hard to find in OC, so we loved that aspect of this venue!

We served several items throughout the evening from tray passed hors d’oeuvres, to a salad bar, Indian-Chinese food and traditional Indian cuisine.

The sweetheart table at an Indian wedding sangeet night

The wedding and reception were at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, in their ballrooms.

An Indian bride and groom posing for a photo at their sweetheart table at their wedding reception.

Our Wedding Professionals:

Cake: Rockwell’s Bakery we had four different flavors – it was an ivory cake with blue mehndi all over it. The blue matched our total decor. They put a burgundy lining on each tier because our toppers were an Indian bride and groom that matched our outfits. She tried to customize the cake to match my actual mehndi which was a raja-rani theme.

We clicked with Amy (the owner) right away. She was excited to work on a ‘mehndi cake’ for us. She tried to customize the design to match my actual mehndi which was a raja-rani theme. They did an amazing job. We went for our cake tasting in February and went with them with no hesitation.. The cakes we sampled were delicious and months later we still get compliments from our guests on how the great the cake was.

multi-tiered mehndi cake at an Indian wedding reception
Indian bride and groom cake topper with the clothing designed like the bride and groom's actual lehenga and sherwani

Cake Toppers
I got the toppers from a woman named Geeta on Etsy.
Her company is called Shaadi Presentations. It was very easy to work with her and she was very responsive. The attire on our cake toppers was designed to match our actual wedding clothes!

Caterer: Curry India Bistro, a newer restaurant in Diamond Bar , catered our sangeet night. We had an array of dishes including a salad station and indian-Chinese food in addition to North Indian dishes. 

The wedding day was catered by Manohar’s Delhi Palace. We decided to switch it up and go with them for the wedding day. 

Day-of Coordinator: Your Day by Jay and K. They were referred by one of Utkarsh’s friends. They don’t specialize in Indian weddings but they had done a few before. They did a great job!

We worked mostly with Ryan and Kim from their staff. They were both a pleasure to be around on our wedding day. Ryan really went above and beyond for us and really took the lead to make sure our event went smoothly, including making trips to my parents’ house in Diamond Bar to pick up ceremony materials during our wedding week. Even though, at the time, they were relatively new to Indian weddings, they researched and learned all of our customs. They appreciated and caught on to our customs easily!

They went above and beyond for us.Even though, at the time, they were relatively new to Indian weddings, they researched and learned all of our customs. They were so detail-oriented and made sure all of our events ran seamlessly. 

Decorator: Yogi Patel from Sheer Romance. He’s so talented. I love his style. He exceeded my expectations. I shared my vision with him. He took it, ran with it and made it happen.

DJ: Nick Datwani from Legacy DJ: We couldn’t have asked for a better DJ! He did an AMAZING job. He knows what he’s doing with lighting. He had the crowd going. I remember during the recession everyone was dancing! He really responds to what people like and don’t like. We had Malindar Tooray playing the dhol. Nick also did all of our lighting and really made the room light up in the perfect way.

Indian bride's posing for a photo to show off her hair and makeup for her Indian wedding ceremony.

Hair and Makeup:
sangeet: Dolled up by Lulu
wedding day: Oscar Naranjo from Ziba

eha Assar from Neha Assar Artistry did my bridal mehndi. She is a true artist. I asked her for an intricate design and she drew a bride and groom motif for me. My mehndi took about 10 hours to complete (arms and legs), and Neha was a pleasure to be around.

an Indian bride wearing a red lehenga and an Indian groom wearing his sherwani and sehra, looking at each other before their Hindu wedding ceremony.

Photography: Greycard Photography did the wedding and reception.  John and his staff really captured all of the moments during our wedding day and we got some great pictures. My bhabhi, Vadehi Pande, of Sanvi Photogaphy, who is a professional wedding photographer based in Minnesota, did all the pre-wedding events and I wanted her to enjoy the wedding day. I’ve been hearing great comments about her from all my family members.

Videography: Avec Lumiere. I considered others but Avec had the style that we wanted.

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