How did you find your venue?
I always dreamt of having a fairytale wedding – outdoors, blue sky, surrounded by green and red hues.
My mom found Palmdale Estates. When we visited, I fell in love with it! I could envision my fairytale wedding there and their manager, Veena Roessler was a delight to work with. She focused on my vision vs. on the business transaction and she was there for me throughout the planning process. Given my hectic schedule, her help was so valuable.
Palmdale Estates is unlike most venues as the reception takes place outdoors. We did go inside the mansion later in the evening for dancing as the venue has a sound ordinance.
Photo opportunities are abundant around the gorgeous grounds.
How did you find your vendors?
Veena recommended our caterer, decorator and the DJ.
Our caterer: Devinder Kumar does great work. He listened to our wishes and was attentive to our needs, as our families had varying culinary wishes. He guided us on how he envisioned the cuisine to be served and was flexible with our requests as well. Another great thing about him is he really understands flavored spice vs. hot spice; and the food was delicious.
I contracted with Davinder through Palmdale Estates. Once the menus were finalized and tastings were done, Palmdale Estates took the helm in managing everything with him which was very convenient.
How did you incorporate Oriya and Tamil traditions into the ceremony?
We did a hybrid of our respective traditions and customs. We served a plethora of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. The day before the wedding we did a pooja at the Silicon Valley Temple in San Jose with the Kashiyatra, per Brahmin tradition. Instead of my father, my sister pleaded with Aravind to stay and get married instead of becoming a hermit. The whole thing was pretty cute and I’m really glad we included that into our celebrations.
Our priest, Anand Sharma, knew we were from two different backgrounds and was cognizant about incorporating both cultures into the ceremony.
Additionally, Aravind and I both had haldi ceremonies. I did my mehndi a few days before the wedding, which I highly recommend. Bridal mehndi takes several hours, especially if you want a lot of coverage, as I did (up to my elbows and shins). It’s nice to be done with it before guests start arriving from out-of-town and the events are underway. Plus it looks great in the photos!
Where did you get your clothes?
I was an intern at the time. The life of a medical intern is intense, so going to India was not an option for me. That’s when I discovered Indian clothing websites. I mostly used CBazaar for Aravind and I. Sareez.com was great for other outfits I needed as well as gifts. They’re both good sites with good selections. The turn-around time was about a month, which I thought was reasonable. Since it was my first time shopping online for Indian clothes, I didn’t know what to expect in terms – quality, turn around, fitting. So I started on that several months prior to the wedding, to give myself some buffer in case I needed to explore alternatives.
CBazaar is slightly more expensive than sarees.com, but their customer service is top notch. As soon as I placed an order they called me to clarify measurements and any other questions about my order. I appreciated their attentiveness, thoroughness and that they clarified the order beforehand as opposed to after the fact. They did make a mistake on one sari blouse, but took full responsibility to correct the error in a timely manner. It’s nice that they have a local contact, in San Jose. I simply gave the her the blouse fabric and they fixed and shipped the blouse back to me.
Similarly, I ordered my invitations online from Indianweddingcards.com. It was a pretty seamless process. I selected the design, sent them the copy and they provided digital proofs.
Did Aravind have a baraat?
Yes. He’s a car enthusiast so he was in a BMW convertible. The dhol player, Manu Uberoi, is a friend of ours who has been involved in a DJ/Dhol company in LA.
Do you have any wedding planning advice?
- Work with a photographer that you really love. They should make you feel at ease and comfortable in front of the camera.
- Try to do things as early as possible.
- Communicate wedding day details (even minute details) with your venue.
Our Wedding Professionals Team
Cake: Grocery store cake is underrated. I happen to love the taste and texture. I wasn’t sure if Safeway made wedding cakes and was pleasantly surprised when I learned that they do. We got a beautiful 4-tier cake that was delicious and didn’t cost a fortune. Additionally, they were flexible in terms of flavors, colors and designs. Since then I’ve used them for all of my baked goods needs.
Catering: Taj Palace in San Jose
Decor: Nelam of S&S Decorations
Dhol: Manu Uberoi
Hair and Makeup: I did it all on my own as I have a lot of experience from being a dancer. I didn’t want the really bold looks. I wanted to look myself and I knew the only way to do that was to do it myself.
Mehndi: I looked at Yelp reviews and wanted it up to my elbows and shins. Kamala Chandrasekhar did a great job. She also did mehndi for my family.
Priest: Anand Sharma; Silicon Valley Temple, San Jose
Photography: Dil Singh from HDE Video Concepts; I found him on Yelp. Out of everyone I spoke to he came across as genuinely interested in capturing lifelong memories of our wedding day that we could cherish forever. And, he was very easy to work. He came to meet with me as opposed to a lot of photographers that want you to go to their office. Again I was an intern at the time and I really appreciated his sensitivity to my schedule.
Congratulations Smita and Aravind!
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