When Two Cultures Come Together Beautifully; Harvinder and Chintan

{Harvinder and Chintan’s Touching Story}

Harvinder is Punjabi Sikh and Chintan is Gujarati Jain, however their similarities were greater than their differences. These lovebirds felt an instant connection when they met in 2010. Both are from families that immigrated to the United States, and they both lost their mothers to cancer. They found understanding and comfort in one another and their relationship blossomed over the years, leading to their marriage in 2015.

We caught up with Harvinder to learn more about their beautiful wedding in the SF Bay area.

We all know South Asian weddings involve the whole family. And within South Asians there’s such a diversity of traditions, languages and cultures. Our wedding couldn’t have been more the case. We had an Anand Karaj and a Jain ceremony. Our families knew nothing about each other’s traditions and not having our mothers there to guide us added stress on both families. We’d like to acknowledge what a tremendous job our fathers did in bringing our families and cultures together so seamlessly.

Though it was hectic, we did both ceremonies on the same day, as we wanted to have one wedding anniversary to celebrate for the rest of our lives.

As for the ceremony, when I was younger and my elder sisters got married, instead of my dad performing the rites, my Taaya and Taayi (paternal uncle and aunt), stood in his place. I remember being so upset, not understanding why they were up there and not our own father. When it was my turn to become a bride, I’d grown up and come to understand why – the ceremony requires a married couple to shower the newlyweds with blessings and perform the traditions. My paternal uncle and aunt are the closest to my own parents so they took on that responsibility. They sat in the mandap for the Jain ceremony as well.

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{Meshing 2 Cultures}

  • we had a more Punjabi style sangeet vs. a garba since Chintan and his family were open to that
  • we served vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes at all of our events, except the Jain ceremony which was pure veg
  • both ceremonies were on the same day; the Anand Karaj was first
  • we met with the ooficiant to rehearse the Jain ceremony and I informed my uncle and aunt about their respective roles in the Jain ceremony, well in advance, so they felt prepared
  • prior to our wedding, we attended a few Sikh weddings; and I took Chintan to the Gurdwara to familiarize him with the ceremony and wearing a pagadi
  • on the wedding day, we put one of my cousins in charge with making sure Chintan and his family were up-to-speed with what was going on throughout the Sikh ceremony and knew what to do/where to go
  • we made detailed programs for both ceremonies so everyone could follow along
  • the Fremont Gurdwara doesn’t allow a baraat, but in the end it didn’t matter
  • we did milni and explained that concept to Chintan’s family before the wedding

{Venues}

Sangeet – Golden Peacock Banquet Hall
Sikh Ceremony – Fremont Gurdwara
Jain ceremony – Groom’s home
Reception – Livermore Community Center

{SO Silicon Valley}

We reached out to a DJ company that we really wanted but unfortunately they were non-responsive so we looked into other companies. Chintan ended up using Thumbtack to find our DJ and the photobooth vendors. We live in Silicon Valley, so why not take advantage of its resources!

{Selecting the Venues}

It was a given that the Sikh ceremony would be at the Gurdwara (which needed to be booked months in advance!). However the Jain ceremony could be done anywhere. After looking at a number of venues we decided on Chintan’s house because we wanted the ceremony to be intimate.

We also looked into various venues for the reception. We were surprised how early venues were booked. We really liked the Livermore Community Center because it was like a blank canvas – we could do anything we wanted with the space. Another huge plus was that they allowed us to bring in outside caterers. Most of the other venues we looked at, limited us to their preferred vendors and gave us very little flexibility in food, drinks and decor.

ProTip: While doing Lavan Phere (or any phere’s for that matter), it’s worth it to practice! At our wedding, we ended up either walking too fast or too slow! That’s one of the most exciting parts of the ceremony and you want it to look right that day and it’s going to be captured on video for all eternity – so make sure the two of you are in sync and that the pace is a good one.

ProTip: When you start planning your wedding you have all these ideas and images of what you want. Throughout the process that will constantly change, as you realize the logistics, costs and restrictions associated with everything. Chintan started off really wanting a horse baraat but the Fremont Gurdwara doesn’t allow baraats. Luckily by the time that became an issue, he was cool with not having a baraat. 

{Jain Ceremony}

I’m really glad we did the Jain ceremony at Chintan’s house. We kept it really small – just family and our closest friends. At that point we were officially married and with the ceremony at home – we were so relaxed. There were no restrictions, time limits, nor formalities. That relaxed atmosphere permeated throughout the house and was my favorite part of the whole weekend. We were so carefree – eating, dancing, our families mingling and just enjoying.

{Our Clothes}

For the Sikh ceremony I wore a red lehenga and for the Jain ceremony a white and red sari, which is traditional for Gujarati Jain brides. Logistically, after the vidai at the Gurdwara, I drove to the hotel where we stayed for the night and I changed into the sari. The photographer and videographer did our 2nd getting-ready photoshoot there as well and then I headed to Chintan’s house. The Gurdwara, the hotel, and both of our homes are all within 15 minute drives of one another, so the great thing is we weren’t spending a ton of time commuting between venues.

I went shopping in India with Chintan’s family. It was my first time going to Mumbai. I liked shopping there, though in general I found getting items for a Punjabi wedding there is harder compared to shopping in Delhi. The storekeepers didn’t know the traditions and customs. For example I bought my chura and jewelry from there but when I got back to the US, and showed the items to my family, they didn’t like them, citing that they didn’t look Punjabi. Luckily my cousin made a trip to India before our wedding so she brought new items for me. I will say that my reception outfit was perfect.  

{Mehndi+Hair+Makeup}

I got my hair and makeup done by Myrium from, Laenka By Myrium, at her home. It was convenient having 1 person take care of everything. Sandhya Agarwal from Nikhar Beauty Salon tied my sari for the Jain ceremony and she touched up my makeup for the evening. She also did the guests mehndi at the sangeet. The whole process was very smooth. 

Mehndi – Arabic style, not very dense, up to elbows and 3-4in. above my my ankles. I wanted something more contemporary so I showed her pictures I had found on Pinterest. My mehndi was done by Ravie and I really liked her work!

{Decor}

We DIYd all of the decor for the sangeet, apart from a few things we rented from R&R Rentals and G.N. Event Rentals. We rented some items from G.N. Event Rentals for the Sikh ceremony and Satvir beautifully converted Chintan’s backyard gazebo into our mandap for the Jain ceremony.  The two rental companies and Satvir, the decorator, were great to work with. 

{Reception}

The reception was so fun for us! Having a day-of coordinator was a big help and allowed us to enjoy the party instead of worrying about everything. My brother and some of his friends from Bhangra Empire did a really great performance as well!

 

{Our Wedding Professionals Team}

Service Bell-48Bombay Garden + Kabila

Decor: Sheer Romance and KUMBA EntertainmentSatvir decor + day-of coordination, G.N. Rentals, R&R Rentals

DJ-52
Desi Jams
 DJ + Lighting

Laenka by Myrium Lipstick Filled-50Hair/Makeup/Mehndi

officiant-icon-indian-weddingRavie

 Lots of places to take photosJSK Photography

Cinematography: Robles Video Productions

Motion 8 

Harvinder and Chintan extend their love to others through their company, HCM Diamonds offering everything from engagement rings and bridal jewelry to fashion and custom jewelry. Check out their website for your jewelry needs!

Brought to you by
ShaadiShop logo The best place to find South Asian-friendly wedding venues.

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