A Non-Denominational Ceremony, Setoo + Viktor, Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA

Setoo + Viktor}

Setoo and Viktor had a non-denominational wedding ceremony, incorporating their respective Gujarati Indian and Filipino cultures. Below, Viktor and Setoo shared details on how they met, how he proposed, to the wedding.

Setoo: Viktor is Filipino and I’m Gujarati. We had a beautiful non-denominational ceremony at the Rancho Bernardo Inn. Our friend Raquel who introduced us, also officiated the ceremony.

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{How We Met}


I met Setoo through my roommate, Raquel. She asked me to hang out with a friend that just moved to the area to attend SDSU. When I saw her I thought, “Wow, I could get used to this girl coming over to hang out!” We met for dinner and I love spicy food but my body turns into a human faucet. During dinner I started sweating and my face turned as red as a cherry lollipop. It was so embarrassing! I desperately patted my face with a napkin and had to ask the waitress for a glass of milk!

I thought that incident would have put me in the friend zone but maybe the hilarity of the moment helped my case. One night a group of friends went downtown for drinks at a bar. As we left, with a tad bit of liquid courage, I slowly touched her fingers until I held her hand and told her, “I think you’re gorgeous.”

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{The Proposal}


Looking for an engagement ring is a process! I was on a mission to find Setoo’s dream ring which was almost impossible! I visited multiple jewelers until I finally found the perfect people for the job. Ok ring: check. Now I needed a plan to propose.

We planned a trip to Sedona, AZ to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. We’re both adventurous and love to explore new landscapes and climb rocks so it was the perfect place for us to celebrate. After a strenuous hike up to Cathedral Rock, Setoo hinted she wouldn’t want to be proposed to after a hike because she didn’t want to look “gross and sweaty” in pictures. So I changed my plans and we went back to the hotel.

I had arranged for our friend, Adarsh an avid photographer, to join us to capture some photos after I proposed. He wanted to photos of Sedona’s beautiful rocks so we went to the foot of where we hiked. I asked him to take some photos of Setoo and I and as she got ready for the photos, I got down on one knee.

Below, Setoo shared more details about the wedding events.


It took us a stressful 6 months of looking at around 10 venues to finally find the perfect one that fit our criteria.

The Rancho Bernardo Inn met these requirements and more: 

It’s a charming venue! We instantly fell in love with it! The garden has an amazing ceremony space with vines and flowers. It is private and no one else staying at the hotel would be around to watch our ceremony. The reception space was large but still inviting, with beautiful details that really added to the atmosphere. Overall,  The Rancho Bernardo Inn was just exquisite!  The venue is very experienced with South Asian weddings so we didn’t run into any problems. They were so accommodating of our needs and our coordinator was always proactive. Many of our guests complimented us on the venue because they thought it was a great place to relax and enjoy the weather. It also looked beautiful as the backdrop in all of our photos!

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The ceremony was about 30 minutes long. We stood the entire time as did our bridal party. Since we wrote the whole ceremony, with the help of Raquel, we customized everything. We read the vows we wrote to each other and also incorporated our cultures. Viktor and I exchanged haars (jai mala in a Hindu ceremony).  Per Filipino tradition, Viktor’s aunt and uncle wrapped a rope around our shoulders to signify unity. My aunt and uncle pinned a veil across our shoulders representative of the dupatta that bonds the couple as they take pheras around the fire.  Viktor put a mangalsutra on me as well. We wanted a short but meaningful ceremony that did not nod to religion as neither one of us are religious.

I got the idea for a denominational ceremony after attending my cousin’s non-religious wedding ceremony. It was wonderful and so unique to them. Luckily, my parents were on board too! My dad and Viktor did ask me a few times if I was absolutely certain that’s what I wanted. They worried that I might have been sacrificing my dream wedding. But I wasn’t. I truly wanted a non-denominational, fully custom ceremony.

Viktor’s mother is a devout Catholic and out of due respect, we looked into having a Catholic ceremony in a church. In the end we decided on the non-denominational ceremony. Luckily, my MIL was very supportive…I think ensuring her that she’d still be able to wear a sari helped! 🙂

We were lucky that our families were open to our ideas. In whatever capacity you can, I suggest personalizing your ceremony. It will have so much more meaning for you and those memories will last a lifetime.

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Wedding: White, blue and deep rose
Reception: Red, white and gold

Unique Decor

  • Glowstick ears and glasses at each table setting
  • Temporary tattoos saying “Setor” (what our friends call us)
  • Table numbers were pictures of us from different phases in our relationship
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{Clothes + Mehndi}

Mehndi Inspiration: Pinterest and Instagram
Mehndi Style: Rajasthani
Colors: Baby blue and pink flowers
Style: Glam

Ceremony Colors: White
Style: Classic

Reception Colors: Light grey and red flowers
Style: Glam

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Wedding Party}

Bridesmaid Saris: AsoPalav
Groomsmen Suits: Combatant Gentleman

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Mehndi- During the medley performance, there were songs I’ve danced to ever since I started dancing when I was 7. All those songs have a special place in my heart, what made it even better was that my bridesmaids and family friends all participated too!

Reception- Tinikling is a traditional Philippine dance and my sisters incorporated it into the reception dance they put together. Vikor’s cousin choreographed the dance and my sisters were able to blend both traditions into one performance. Viktor was so surprised.

Money dance: The dance is a Filipino tradition where guests line up to dance with the bride or groom. In order to dance with either of us, they have to pin money to our outfits. It was so much fun!

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Advice + Cute Moments}

While I was getting ready for the wedding, my bridesmaids read me love poems Viktor had written. It was super sweet and made me even more excited to see him!

Advice-Remember your wedding is only 1 day of your life. Of course it’s important but there will be other memorable days in your life as well. Enjoy every moment and don’t worry too much about the details.

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Our Vendor Team: see testimonials below list}

Wedding Cake Filled-50 iconBlush Desserts

icon cateringPassage to India, Carin de Ria

icon clothesAsoPalav

icon wedding plannerUnique Flowers & Event Planning

DJ icon3D Sounds – Amit Kotecha

makeup icon

King Cardoza Studio

officiant-icon-indian-weddingHinal Mehta

camera iconStudio Merima Photography

clip-board-icon-Indian-wedding-venueSweet Blossom Weddings
– Melissa Reinke


Wedding Cake Filled-50 iconBlush Desserts was very easy to work with. They provided an assortment of macarons for our reception. They were super delicious and everyone loved them!

icon cateringWe had 2 caterers, Passage to India, Carin de Ria so we could have Indian and Filipino food. Our guests raved about both of them

icon clothesI went to AsoPalav in India to buy my outfits. They were very helpful and their selection is outstanding. I would recommend it to anyone who is shopping in Ahmedabad.

icon wedding plannerIndera Aunty at Unique Flowers & Event Planning captured our day exactly how we had imagined it. We provided her with pictures, and she met me at the venue to do a walk-through (even though she was in OC and the venue was in SD). My bouquet and all of the bridesmaids bouquets were exactly how I had imagined. My guests loved the reception decor and told me how wonderful everything looked. I would recommend  her to anyone.

DJ iconI’m pretty sure everyone already knows how awesome Amit from 3D Sounds is. He created the ultimate party. The dance floor was packed from the moment the music started. For anyone who is looking for a DJ, I would go with Amit.

makeup iconKing Cardoza Studio was so wonderful. Madison did my trial and my hair and makeup for my engagement shoot. She didn’t  even get stressed when I told her that I needed hair and makeup for 14 people! She provided me with a timeline for when everyone would need to be to get their hair done or makeup done. I didn’t have to stress about it at all. On the day of, everyone looked amazing. All my girls and my mom looked wonderful. I was also very happy with the way my hair and makeup turned out. I got so many compliments.

officiant-icon-indian-weddingHinal Mehta is very easy to work with and so good at what she does. She did my mehndi for arms and feet in 4 hours. She brought 1 other lady with her to help with the actual mehndi party. Her work is wonderful, quick, and affordable.

camera iconStudio Merima Photography is great! Merima did our engagement and wedding photos. We loved the pictures from all of our events! She manages to capture emotion so well. I had also described what type of photos we really liked and she was able to capture exactly what I wanted

clip-board-icon-Indian-wedding-venueMelissa and her 2 assistants were excellent! They made sure that we didn’t have to worry about anything at all during the day. They took excellent notes of our when everything needed to happen and made sure it all went according to plan. Sweet Blossom Weddings was very affordable and I would work with them again in a heart beat!

Congratulations Setoo and Viktor!

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